Is there a reason not to go Masso

Hello All,

I have a Journeyman with Buildbotics controller and am about to upgrade the spindle with the PwnCNC kit.

Is there a reason not to consider the Elite Upgrade (Masso controller and beefy z)? I don’t have any issue with the BB box and hear that I can get the spindle kit to work with the Masso controller down the line with minimal additional investment (new cable and some VFD parameter tweaks).

I use Fusion and dig using the game controller for jogging around the workspace. And the probe is nice too. I’m assuming all of this will still work with the Elite.

Apologies if this has all been asked before. If this thread stays quiet, I’ll head over to the search bar. Thanks in advance!


Masso looks great. On the other hand, Masso/beefy z aren’t necessary for a spindle kit. So maybe the biggest reason to potentially not go with Masso upgrade is if for your use it’s not necessary and you can find other ways to spend $2K :slightly_smiling_face:
Plenty of people use a spindle with OF Buildbotics controller plus original z, and plenty use a spindle with Masso plus upgraded z.
I use OF BB controller w Hitachi VFD and Jianken spindle and I’m happy with it for hobby use. The BB controller also works just fine with a laser. For the price point, the BB controller is really a pretty capable unit. The Masso guys can tell you what advantages they see with the better controller.
I don’t believe the game controller works with Masso (could be wrong on that). You can purchase an MPG pendant instead, either the official Masso one, or third party. Your touch probe should be fine.
So unless you have the funds ready to go and just want to try the better experience of the Masso, it’s worth digging around and seeing how necessary it is for what you want to do before pulling the trigger.


@MVall Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I am going to stick with the BB but keep eyeing the Masso. I may consider the beefy Z for the extra 2 mounting holes and potential configurations to maximize X travel.

Thanks again for your honest reply. Means a heap.

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I do like the z20. Its not just about the travel but also z speed for 3d carves.

Im considering the masso because I would like rotary support and maybe an ATC. In reality I would rarely if ever use the rotary, the ATC would be a really cool but tremendous waste of money, and the features probably aren’t worth 2k to the weekend warrior. On the other hand if starting from scratch or I could readily sell my journeyman I’d definitely go elite out the gate.

I guess you lose joypad support in favor of having to get a pendant or using the screen. So there is that.

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Yes, Masso looks very cool, and I’m sure there are good reasons to make the move. I just don’t have them at this point, and am a little too cheap to upgrade just for the sake of it :slightly_smiling_face:. Not looking to go ATC, don’t really see a big need for the feedrate override with mostly wood projects or the closed loop steppers either if feedrate is reasonable, etc.

I also like the spindle/VFD over Modbus connection with the BB controller which allows some back and forth communication, as well as the built-in remote viewing/program stopping/file loading over the internet. For quick moves the joystick is actually nice too, although the pendant would be a bit more precise. You can add proximity sensors for greater accuracy, play with the tool change program, have auto dust collection or laser air assist on the outputs, etc.That said, there are likely some other Masso features I’m not aware of.

Like @Echd mentioned, I’ve considered the z20 for the speed. Also, the 3rd rail/stiffy since @TMToronto showed a 25-45% reduction in deflection. Rotary is tempting. Has been done by some on the BB controller, but sounds much easier with the Masso.

I mostly just believe in everyone picking what’s best for their situation (and spending accordingly) rather than going off of 1-2 people’s (possibly biased or not fully informed) experiences.

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And, of course, as you said, you can just try the spindle/VFD for a while on the BB controller/current z, and if you want to move up to Masso upgrade in the future, you haven’t really lost anything in the meantime.


Hey Mike,

here are a few considerations:


Thanks for the nice summaries


Hey Martin, hey Mike @MustCreateThings,

what is unbeatable with the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller on Original/X-50/PRO Series, is the excellent performance/price ratio.

But it must be said what Onefinity offers as Elite Series is also a very good deal compared to buying a Masso G3 at the Masso Shop and having to provide all the accessories separately that Onefinity offers already included.


I will add I really love the web interface. I do everything from my computer just short of hitting that start button. Not sure what I will do when I upgrade. Time will tell.



@Aiph5u wrote a good post to me a while back: Is setting up Rotary Axis simpler on Masso than on Buildbotics?

I have just upgraded. Im sure I will find reasons to justify the spending in order to make myself feel better about the spending.

I think the BB controller is just fine, if a little quirky at times.

I miss from BB:

  • ETA. Masso must add that soon, it can’t be difficult. A real omission.
  • game controller. MPG feels clunky, but I will get used to it.
  • i like the modbus connection (once i got it working). 0-10v analogue signal feels clunky in this digital age
  • web interface (mainly for checking timings so i can tune my toolpaths)

I bought the Masso for:

  • ease of rotary. To be proven
  • toolsetter. To be proven. Arrives soon
  • stall homing always felt clunky; not sure why, but I never liked it
  • ease of switching on vacuum (my lazy as possible with BB)
  • touch screen. I went through two BB touch screens, then resorted to a mouse with a regular screen. The mouse got in the way.
  • i like that it is solid state
    EDIT: BB also had a habit of “crashing” mid-program, which was irritating as I would lose position. For example, between tool changes, if I touched the game controller too early, I would get an unresponsive screen.
  • Also wanted to be able to change feeds and speeds whilst milling. Masso can do this but only reduce feed which is less than useful
  • next shiny new thing.

Others wanted ATC. Im not sure im up for that.

So nothing really compelling.


Thank you all! I really appreciate your feedback!!!

I’m going to stick with the BB controller and look into the web interface. I am still considering the z-20 heavy duty slider because I will need an 80mm spindle mount regardless and I am interested in the increase in Z travel.

Should I worry about the spindle dropping when powered off? Are there any other reasons I should forgo this upgrade?

Thanks again!


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Hey Mike,

if you stick with your original Z-16 Z assembly, you can add the 80 mm spindle mount. The Z-16 assembly with its flat pitch 1004 ball screw (4 mm/revolution) will not let the spindle go down with gravity when the controller is powered off.

The new Z-20 “heavy” Z assembly gives you more stiffness but has a much steeper 1610 (10 mm/revolution) ball screw. Because of the steeper pitch, a Z stepper motor with brake may become necessary to hold a spindle when the stepper motor is unpowered. Onefinity offers one for the Elite Series since the spindle drop issue came up with the new Z-20 assembly.

Also with the flatter pitch 1004 ball screw on Z-16, you don’t need such a strong Z stepper motor. The steeper the pitch of the ball screw, the stronger the stepper motor has to be.

For the Z-16, the stepper motor is 23HS22-2804S 2.8A 1.2 Nm (Onefinity Replacement part). The replacement with a dual shaft to be able to add a brake is 23HS22-2804D 2.8A 1.2 Nm. The brake is available here. But it is unlikely you will need a brake with the flat ball screw pitch of the Z-16 assembly.

On the PRO Series with Z-20 slider, the motor is a 23HS30-2804S 2.8 A 1.9 Nm (Onefinity replacement part). The variant with dual shaft for attachment of a brake is 23HS30-2804D 2.8 A 1.9 Nm.

If you stick with the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller, a nice option is to retrofit proximity sensors as limit switches for highest accuracy regarding homing repeatablity. You however need to be able to 3D-print parts or to know someone who can do that for you.


@Aiph5u , you are the best!

I have to dig through your links more, but it seems like I should stick with the existing slider unless I get a dual-shaft motor and brake. How would I connect the brake? Does it go in line with the motor so when there is power, it releases, or is there a pin somewhere I need to connect it to and control with code? Sorry, I’m not good at wires and code.

I have also reached out to OF to get their take on this.

Thank you! Thank you!


Hey Mike,

it’s a bit more complicated. I wanted to try out a solution on how to wire a brake for the Original/X-50/PRO Series, but yet I did not find the time.


I have an air cooled spindle 2kw and it doesnt drop.

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My water cooled spindle sort of dips an inch or so on power off (sometimes). Hasnt hurt anything so far. Its not like it just drops to the spoilboard the second the power is cut.
Edited to add: with the z20 it that isnt clear. My opinion is that the z20 is probably the most meaningful single upgrade I have made.


Are you using the z20 slider?

Thank you! I think I want to give the z20 a go. That way if I ever do go Masso it will be ready. I feel, based on the amazing replies to this thread, that my BB controller is the way to go at the moment. It works well for me. Although I may look into an alternative to stall homing.

Thanks all! Keep the comments/opinions coming. I really appreciate it!


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I would like a good way to add a rotary that the BB doesn’t have. That would be my only reason to go with a Masso. However if I do it’ll just be the controller. I’ll still use the ‘pro’ steppers. I did replace my Z-20 stepper with this one (stepper with brake) simply because I found that it dropped after I was done using the 1F and powered it down. A simple way to wire it up is to one of the outputs on the BB controller. When the controller powers up it turns on a 24v power supply and turns off the brake.

The link that Aiph5u posted isn’t for the larger ‘pro’ size stepper. Best I could tell Stepper on line doesn’t sell a dual shaft stepper motor in the larger pro size and the stepper with the brake (which I got) had to come from China.

The nice thing about the 1F is that you can limit the hurt. You can install limit switches now and use them with the BB controller. Down the road you can buy the Masso controller and a couple of drivers and use the ‘pro’ steppers. Then you can buy the servo motors if you want.

Personally I’m hoping that Masso upgrades their controller to provide feedback from the servos. One of the great things about a servo over a stepper is to know if you are losing step counts, not just correct. Every tool I deal with at work has this feature and it’s a great was to assess the health. It’s also nice to know if your speeds are set too fast.


Did you have to do anything special when wiring the brake? Did you have to add any surge protection or other bits? Sorry, I’m not one for wires and always seem to let the ‘magic smoke’ out.

I can see purchasing what you did down the line if I experience the sag. Oh, and one more thing. Is the motor plug-and-play, or does it need to be calibrated somewhere? Again, sorry for the dumb questions.