Is there a reason not to go Masso

Hey Alex,

which are the motors that are used on the PRO currently? Can you tell the model name on the nameplate?

What are its specifications?

This looks like the 23HS30-2804D 2.8 A 1.9 Nm with this brake, but sold as a unit. So it is the motor I linked above.

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The motor is not plug and play. There’s nothing different in the software but you do have to crimp on your own connectors. Any motor you buy from Steppers on line just has bare wires. For me that was actually a good thing. We use a different style connector where I work that’s much better than the ones 1F uses. The motor with brake has 6 wires, not 4 so I used a 6 position connector.

Wiring the brake is very simple. It needs just 24v to release. No surge protector needed. I have a small 24v dc power supply that drives other relays (dust collector, vfd for spindle, water pump) so it was just a matter of connecting a relay to one of the outputs from the controller. When it turns on the relay activates sending 24v to the brake releasing it.

The other issue was the shaft diameter was not the same. The stock steppers are 1/4" and the stepper with the brake is 8mm. I bought a new lovejoy connector to replace the stock one.


@Dr-Al, thank you! The details are awesome!

Hey Alex, hey Mike @MustCreateThings, hey all,

in a datasheet of a stepper driver that supports motors with brake, you can find the conditions in which you want the brake to be activated:

Brake is fixed at:

  • Alarm Signal active
  • Enable Signal inactive
  • Error in the power connection of the motor
  • Error in the power connection of the brake

This means, you would need a logic that checks these four points, that are the cases where the system itself still has power (not the “hard” power cutoff of entire system) but you need to have the brake activated (you want that when the stepper’s electromagnetic detent / holding current is gone for some reason to prevent movable parts move by themselves because of gravity then).

That’s what I intended to implement. Of course if you wire the Z brake just with a DC power from the controller, you have some functionality too, but activating the brake is limited to the case when the controller is powered off.

I would want that the motor is braked also in situations when controller is still powered on, e.g. on emergency stopped mode or on motor power failure.

Should you want to have the same connectors as on Onefinity, here I once wrote a post on making your own stepper cables for Buildbotics and Onefinity.

You may also while you’re at it replace all these flimsy tin-plated Molex/Amphenol connectors by retrofitting better, industrial circular connectors and adding shielding and PE wire to the stepper cables on Buildbotics and Onefinity.

By the way, on…

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With regards to the Masso question, I read this forum for quite a while ( prior to the Masso being released) before buying my Elite machine, I saw what I felt like was a lot of weird issues with the BB control, it was only when the Elite was rolled out that I purchased from Onefinity. So that being said, and there are others that will disagree but in my opinion, the Masso control is a mature proven CNC control not a DIY project that is very simple to configure and modify, I suffered with Mach3 for many years and was excited for the Elite series / Masso to come out and have been very happy so far, so much so that I purchased an additional Masso for a CNC Lathe I built several Years ago that I have been struggling with tho get working properly, now it is.
I see a lot of folks like the Game Controller but I personally prefer a MPG Pendent but I used one for so many years in the industrial environment.
I also see that Masso does not support MOD Bus VFD control, only the 0-10 Volt signal, this has not been an issue for me, but then I have the Cheap Chinese HY VFD and G-Penny Spindle it they both work fine for me.
It sounds like you have not had any issues with the BB control, not sure why you might want to change.
I do not have any experience with the BB Control, only the Masso.
My 2 cents worth.


It really seems like there’s a lot of technology creep with many people on this forum. Not that anyone needs a reason to upgrade, you absolutely don’t. New tech is just fun to set up and use, so if that’s your justification there’s no fault there.

That being said, there are a lot of people in this world who have 15k CNC setups and make nothing but simple v-carve signs. And while I don’t think there’s anything WRONG with that, I also very much think there’s also no NEED for that.

So it really comes down to your use case, and how much money you’re willing to burn. I’ve put many many many hours on my BB driven X-50 with a Makita router and have created a lot of really great stuff. At no point have I ever felt like I needed to upgrade. Instead I spent that money on other work shop upgrades, and more importantly, wood, so I can cool stuff.

I was thinking about upgrading to a spindle, but if you run your Makita at the right settings, you can get a ton of machining time out of it. The cost to benefit just isn’t there for me.


The makita to me is more of a safety issue than a productivity issue.

While I do run my spindle a whole lot more aggressively than I would a makita, surfacing or large stock removal with larger bits is outside the norm of what a makita would be expected to handle and they can and have caught on fire before. The first time I used a 1.5" surfacing bit with my makita was also the first time I seriously looked into a spindle!

But i do do a fair bit of slab surfacing, so now my spindle slings around a 3" surfacing bit at times.

The trim routers just aren’t made for the duty cycles a cnc needs. They can do it- until they can’t.

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I disagree. I flatten blanks with a 1.5" bit without any issue. Sure, I don’t take super deep passes and I wouldn’t even think about using a 3" bit, but I get the job done without any issue.

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Do you experience the spindle drop when the machine is off? I bet I’m overthinking this.


You can disagree if you want, but they have indeed caught fire. Mine was hot enough even with that relatively small surfacing bit that I was not be eager to try it again. If you’re happy with 1/8 bits and smaller 1/4 bits i doubt you will ever have a problem, other than maybe needing to replace brushes- but I don’t want to take chances with a machine I am not always directly supervising.

As for the spindle drop, it just slowly drops down a bit when power to the motors is killed. Sometimes it doesn’t at all, sometimes it goes down just a bit. It doesn’t drop to the bottom of the travel range or anything, just an inch or so for the most part. Others may have a different experience. I have not found it to be a particularly concerning issue for me personally.

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@Echd, thank you! One last question, what spindle are you using? Just trying to figure out size and weight.

The huanyang 3HP 220V model. Its hefty when full of coolant, probably well upwards of ten pounds.

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I’ve had three different makitas.over two CNC machines and while I’m not discounting your experience, I think some of that may be speed and feed issues. Once I have my experimenting done and the speeds and feeds dialed, no part of the motor ever gets hotter than barely room temperature.

Now can there be bearing issues with these cheap motors? Absolutely, but I’ve lucked out so far for sure. I’d love to run larger bits but since I gave up the production side of the game, the money saved not buying a spindle is well worth the little bit of extra time I spend on each of my projects.


Hey all,

a hand trim router is a so-called universal motor, also called carbon-brush series-wound commutated motor, and its motor characteristic is that it delivers its nominal torque only at a specific speed (compared to a an induction motor like a spindle which delivers constant torque over a wide speed range). Also a universal motor is slowed down with increasing mechanical load, and the slower it runs, not only the slower the cooling fan on the axle turns, but also the more current flows, and so on the sparkling commutator and the rotor coils the hotter it will get and finally “malfunction” (it’s also what is written in the Makita manual). And if the mechanical load exceeds a limit and this for a longer time, such a hand trim router can start to smoke, to melt, and to burn.

With an induction motor like a spindle, this can never happen because if you give it some mechanically load, not only it will not be slowed down like a universal motor, but keep the rpm according to the VFD’s frequency set, and also it will not get hotter the slower it runs. On higher mechanical load, the current it draws increases, and since you forcibly need a VFD to run a spindle, and such a VFD requires that you first set the mandatory maximum spindle current rating before you put it into operation, there always is a limit programmed, which when you overload it, will let thet VFD simply stop the spindle (and if correctly wired, the running g-code program). Also an induction motor has neither carbon-brush commutator nor rotor coils, only stator coils.

This also is the cause of the poor universal motor’s efficiency. It is in principle a DC motor that runs on AC, the carbon-brushed commutator makes it irrelevant which frequency your AC has, but there are effects of the current direction change that work against the efficiency (like in a transformer). Also the sparks are responsible for loss (and additional heat). So the efficiency of a universal motor is about 30% to 70% at highest. An induction motor like a spindle has no commutators and no rotor coils, only a multiple of three stator coils. They run on three-phase current and the three stator coils are not switched by a commutator, the speed is controlled only by the frequency of the three-phase current. Slow frequency, slow rpm, high frequency, high rpm. Such spindles can reach efficiency of 85–97%.

So the situation in which a hand trim router overheats and starts to burn can never happen with a spindle.

Or in other words, if you mechanically overload a hand trim router, usually it smokes and melts. If you mechanically load a spindle, it will keep the speed as long as the current limit is not met, and if you mechanically overload it, the VFD simply stops the current to the spindle and signals a overload error. This error if correctly wired stops the g-code program.

Also when milling wood, you want both high speed and high torque at the same time. A hand trim router delivers its nominal torque only at a specific speed. On higher speed, it has less torque. A spindle has a constant torque over a wide speed range of usually 6000–24000 rpm. See also difference router/spindle.

So if you want to use a hand trim router on a CNC successfully, stay

  1. within a rather small mechanical load range
  2. within a rather small speed range
  3. Always beside the machine :slight_smile:
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One of the best things I upgraded on my 1F since July '21 is replacing the Router with a Spindle. Control, Power, Quieter and, as it seems, safer.


Thank you so much for this post! I learned a lot and feel I understand the difference more.


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Yes, same here. I had ONE good Makita router on my first 1F that I sold with that machine. Since then, I have had 2 Makitas that I returned due to very hot running spindle bearings. Same experience with a Harbor Freight Bauer (Makita clone). Used it for a couple weeks but same issue, so that was returned. I then went with a small DC spindle and it has been running very smooth & quiet for almost a year now. It’s small, but well suited to the small work I do. Have been extremely happy with it.

To address the original question: ‘Is there a reason not to go Masso?’
I really can’t think of one. The Masso is a beautiful controller that is both proven and very highly respected for good reasons. I was very much on the fence for some time, trying to decide between a Masso and a Centroid Acorn. I ultimately went with the Acorn.

Although I’ve never been overly keen on the idea of having a PC in the shop, it was necessary for the Acorn. However, I quickly discovered how handy it has been to have it there. It not only runs CNC12 (Centroid’s CNC program), but I also have my 2D CAD program and Estlcam (my CAM program) installed on it. There have been far too many times to count where I have made program or geometry changes to parts, or even created simple parts right there at the machine control panel. With my previous offline controller, any such changes required me to go inside on my computer, make the changes, save to USB drive, then go back out to the machine to reload the program. It was truly a game-changer.


Funny thing, my father was asking me about Centroid Acorn on an OF yesterday. He has that controller for his Well-Index CNC mill. Now you got me super distracted.

Baby steps! I’ll start with a spindle and z-20 slider.

Love this community. Thanks all!


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I thought the same, had ordered an elite but owned a orignal buildbotics.

after having it a bit, so much better. love the keep prob across restarts. like the multiple offsets. like the bit setter. single biggest complaint would be no built in memory and have to use usb drive and the connect app is flakey.

other than that, it is that good.

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Wells-Index! Those are one of the best Bridgeport-clone machines I’ve ever seen. It’s not even fair for me to call it a clone, as the Wells-Index stood on its own merits back in the day. They were solid machines.

I can highly recommend the Centroid Acorn on the 1F, I truly love that setup. I’m running the output from the Acorn into a Gecko G540 4-axis stepper driver. The whole system has been nearly bulletproof. I had given thought a time or two (as recent as yesterday, lol) about a Masso. But my afore-mentioned reasons for loving having a PC based system make me quickly abandon any thoughts of that. But I do really admire the design of the Masso touch, so much so that I actually ordered a new larger controller enclosure where I hope to build it similar to the Masso, with a larger screen than what I’ve currently got.