Machinist in X-50

I have an apartment (which might be an interesting market to go after) and have very limited space. Even the WoodWorker on its side is still very big.

I want to mount the Machinist on a cart (which I can roll out on my outside balcony to reduce noise and mess) and be able to work on metals (aluminum, maybe even titanium or mild steel), so rigidity is very important. Also speed control and noise reduction (via spindle requiring more weight) will be critical.

So I would like a Machinist in X-50 for rigidity and better stepper motor. It was suggested that I try the hybrid (buy Machinist and Woodwooder and combine), but that is still huge on once dimension (also 4’ foot all in).

Hope there are others interested in this…

I replied to your other post about my convo with 1F and why the 50mm diameter rail isn’t an option for the machinist model.

In regard to milling aluminum, here are some examples done on my machinist model. Now, in an apartment or balcony etc, if you are into milling aluminum your neighbours are going to love you :joy:

As far a titanium, steel etc. this isn’t the machine to do those. Aluminum, brass, no problem.


Hey sammy, what are those parts? Very nice setup!

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Hey Brad, thanks! They are just some parts for a line of products we manufacture. Building fixture plates is the way to go if you plan on making anything that isn’t a 1 off. It’s great that this little machine is capable of so much.

An X-50 upgrade (even if it were available for the Machinist) would be total overkill. I don’t even run the 3rd rail stiffy on my machine. Even though an official X-50 upgrade isn’t available, that wouldn’t stop you from upgrading the X stepper.

I have to agree with @alldaysammyj in that this isn’t going to be a proper machine for steel, titanium, etc. unless perhaps a one-time or very seldom job. Clean-up is not fun cutting any kind of metal on the Onefinity.

Running it on the balcony… you might want to rethink that. This thing will throw chips!


Are there any examples of people putting a 3KW + Spindle on a Machinist and upsizing the steppers?

I really don’t understand what is preventing a “Mill” OneFinity that can mill steel.

Everyone keeps saying, “It’s not for that!!!” well why can’t it be made for that?

In mill terms, the Z axis is your limiting factor. The Onefinity makes an awesome CNC router, but the harsh reality is that it simply doesn’t have the Z axis backbone to make a decent mill.
It might be ok for aluminum, but I wouldn’t attempt steel on it, unless it was a one-time thing. You’re looking at 5" from the tip of the cutter to actual support. On a mill, this distance is much shorter and much beefier. The end mill will most likely chatter with this relatively little amount of support. That equals bad finish & short end mill life. You could definitely limp by a steel mill job on it, but not a good idea to repetitively use it to mill steel.



@TheColonel26 Rigidity and mass. You can mill steel with small enough bites, it’ll just take forever. You can see my aluminum work above and I agree with @Machinist , steel isn’t something I’d machine on my 1F. I am looking at Tormach and Haas for this right now.

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^ THIS ^

You will also see that most mills use steel sliding ways which adds to rigidity, as opposed to linear bearings.

Hey TheColonel26, hey Bill, all,

this is one of the machines I could have bought if I hadn’t bought the Onefinity (Ben @ben I think you would appreciate the 43 mm Euro mount :slight_smile:). As you can see here, it is advertised with milling a knife video out of 1.2510 (100MnCrW4) / 1.2842 (90MnCrV8) (cold-work) tool steel (corresponds O1/O2).

Regarding price it compares if you consider we paid 650 $ shipping for the Onefinity and over 400 EUR import VAT and that Onefinity lacks milling motor, drag chains, and for me it remains to be proven whether QCW frame suits as a basis. It uses ball screws on X and Y axes like Onefinity (only Z is trapezoidal thread leadscrew) and steel rods as linear guides, but both much smaller as on Onefinity, and the rods don’t look chrome-plated (also since they have to be oiled according to the manual). The linear bearings seem to be plain bearings as opposite to linear ball bearings on the Onefinity. Also there are differences on X gantry and on Z slider and especially on Z mount.

The Z Slider’s and mount weakness with the Onefinity has been discussed here, here, here, and here (add threads if I missed some). And hard to believe that once the Onefinity’s Z slider was planned to be even more delicate before 2020-07-20.

But there seem to be a certain consensus that besides this (and something I better not mention), Onefinity is very solid. Therefore I think I will remain among those who will in the back of their minds keep thinking about how the Z slider and milling motor mount could be modified or replaced on the Onefinity. In any case I think I will do a few Z pulling and X twisting measuring experiments before coming to a final judgement (and also a judgement on how far we can go with milling steel).

Bill, @Machinist do you really still use this trim router as milling motor? With your background and your experience I wonder why you’re not among those with a spindle.

One question (I don’t own such a router): Why is everyone actually pushing the trim router as far into the mount as they can? Is there a special reason to do so? The trimmer base is allowed to be clamped at the end, where the main bearing is, isn’t it? With my spindle, I can understand that it must not be clamped all the way down, the manufacturer states, only above the marking is allowed. But here? Reduction of the distance you show above would be substantial, since lower edge of milling motor mount is only 0.776" above lower Z frame edge when Z is lowest.

Anyway the machine mentioned above also uses a milling motor that is a noisy universal motor with sparks-emitting carbon-brush commutators, but the distance you mention is much smaller here:



EDIT: Aahh! I forgot that with the 65 mm mount, the Z stepper is in the way! Argh!

I must be tired since especially me was writing about that fact in the other thread last month.

All in all this construction is not that satisfying. @Machinist Bill I agree with you anyway that the distance you mention should be much smaller (in order to prevent bending/yielding and chattering when heavy forces are applied to the tool)

with 80 mm Spindle Mount:

Upgrading stepper motor for 80mm Spindle

Indeed, it’s a very dynamic market! Thanks for sharing.
Nitty gritty but I would miss the autonomous controller. I’m solely on Macs and the thought of having to install, upgrade, maintain a Windows PC lead me away from quite a number of CNCs when I was researching.
Competition is good. And it’s good see offerings from Europe (more local to us)

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Hey Benoît,

yes there are more than one cnc manufacturers in Europe, and spindles as well :slight_smile:

I understand you totally with this. I use Windoze only in virtual machines when I need the full capability of proprietary drivers for some printers and scanners.

On the cnc machine’s page mentioned above if you search for ‘linux’ you find Linux CNC. LinuxCNC is very capable. And it runs on so many hardwares, you can choose from so much. Mesa even has a card for Raspberry Pies. And that wouldn’t even be necessary with its 26 GPIOs. The controller of the machine above connects with parallel port, so no problem for any PC with linuxcnc (and a parallel card like the ones from Mesa).

Tags: “Raspberry Linuxcnc”, LinuxCNC home, LinuxCNC - Wikipedia

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Your line of thinking is spot-on in questioning why the router is inserted all the way down into the holder. If it could be held closer to the bottom, that would help tremendously in making things more rigid. But as you also commented, it would reduce Z travel by the amount you raise it up. But it might be a good trade-off if doing a steel job.

I will tell you 3 things I love about the design of the HIGH-Z machine: The spindle being held at the bottom, the bronze bearings, and the UHMW (or whatever material that is that I saw in a pic for one of their machines) for the screw drive nut. All these design features lend themselves to a machine that should be very solid & capable. Ball screws & linear bearings are great for accuracy, but they aren’t the first choice for a vibration-induced load like you would see when machining steel. These same features also make for a nearly maintenance-free drive/guide system. No worries of cleaning & oiling.

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The High Z is a seriously study machine. I had one on loan from the US distributor for them a couple of years ago - all I had to do was demo it to people who were interested and do some proof-of-solution work for folks who were potential buyers. Did some aluminum and precision glass work but I also bought the 1F instead - the bed size of the Journeyman was the deciding factor for me.

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Hey Jim,

For size only, there would have been the High-Z 1400/T ballscrews 1400x800mm which corresponds to the Journeyman with its 1219 x 812 mm. But I assume there were some more points for the decision towards Onefinity Journeyman CNC?

Hey Bill, hey all,


…for inspiration: The lower part of X gantry and lower part of Z slider in motion (Youtube)

Suhner milling motor

(motor is a Suhner UAD 30-RF, a 1050 W 3,500-30,000 RPM milling motor made exclusively for cnc-step by Suhner. It is an improved version of UAD 25-RF (Suhner Catalog) (Made in Germany). As you can see below, it has double bearing and the motor flange is all-steel. It is explicitly said to be able to mill 6 mm steel in the medium speed range around approximately 15,000 rpm and it is said to be relatively quiet (despite being no spindle but a universal motor with carbon-brush commutators) with 72 dB at 9,000 rpm. It takes collets for bits up to 10 mm and 3/8″ and there is even a tool changer (with ISO 7388-1 SK15 machine taper) available.

@ben, yes!!


Hey Bill, hey all,

But there are at least some attempts of solutions for this. The one would be the 80 mm mount which lets the milling motor clear the stepper, and the other would be moving the stepper coupler cage upwards as I remembered myself here, using these taller stepper mounting blocks and extending stepper axle with another coupler. Either of the two solutions would remove the restriction on Z travel and on vertical motor positioning in the mount.

I don’t exactly know what your needs are when you work with the machine, but you are very familiar with what the limits of the construction are the way it is at the moment. Did you ever consider one of these solutions for you?

Would you say that when it comes to withstanding vibrations, toothed belt drives are better positioned?


Without drastically changing the configuration of the Z axis, I would like to attempt that Suhner milling spindle because of the lower bearing support, low mounting point, and lower RPM range. I have looked at these spindles some time ago back when I had my X-Carve, but I had honestly forgotten about them until you linked to it (thank you for that).

Toothed belt drives are great, although that would add complexity to the drive system because you’d need an offset motor drive a dedicated non-powered spindle assembly. I’m certainly not opposed to this, but I want to keep the simplicity of a single powered spindle. The Makita router works well for its intended use, but the bearing support is mediocre at best. I had a nice benchtop mill that I sold prior to our move from Michigan to Phoenix. I had intended on replacing, but the $$ got spent elsewhere. I mostly do plastics, vinyl flooring material, and thin aluminum parts. The Makita has done reasonably well, but I generally run small cutters @ low feedrate when doing aluminum.

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