Trying to decide on Elite vs X50 series before I buy

Hey all,

the Masso G3 Touch on the Elite Series is a much more professional CNC controller than the buildbotics-derived Onefinity Controller. But if you consider that the latter evolved to a CNC controller that will do nearly every g-code you feed it with and has an unbelievably reasonable price, you can consider to choose it if you simply want to use a CNC. Care was taken by the original developer to release it only after it reached being a serious CNC controller solution.

Problems mentioned here with the buildbotics-forked Onefinity controller firmware do not originate from the open source original firmware, but from attempts of Onefinity to further develop their fork of the firmware (sticking with a stable firmware version, e.g. 1.0.9, eliminates these problems), with at same time ignoring the improvements the original Buildbotics made meanwhile.

Also if you want to upgrade later, the Masso G3 is not the only option, there are also other CNC controllers out there that come in question for the bare Onefinity machine.

The issues you have with Onefinity controllers, both buildbotics-derived Original Series and Masso-G3-powered Elite Series, are not issues with the controller but

  1. Lack of a serious cabling solution
    1b. Connectors that are made for internal electronics are used on the outside of the machine/controller and subject to permanent movement (possible failures with unpredictalbe axes movements)
  2. Total lack of stepper cabling shielding, so overall susceptibility to EMI, especially when upgrading to a spindle (VFD = heavy source of EMI),
  3. The problem of spindle moving by itself downwards when power is cut or estop is pressed is associated with the heavier Z-20 assembly (the only one on Elite Series, optional on Original Series) where Onefinity replaced the ball screw with one with a much steeper pitch. Besides the possible remedies to this mentioned above (adding a spring balancer to the Z slider, or retrofitting a Z stepper with an electromagnetic brake), sticking with Original Z-16 assembly on Original Series or retrofitting a ball screw with the older, flatter pitch (which has also more detail in travel on Z axis) on Z-20 assembly also eliminates the problem with spindle dropping by itself. EDIT: Onefinity addressed the “spindle plunge on power-up estop” issue on the Elite/Masso by offering a Z motor with electromagnetic brake. Such a motor can also be retrofit to a Original/X-50/PRO Series machine. It will prevent the Z carriage with spindle dropping with gravity on estop and power loss.

OT: Again, I have to say that calling the Original Series “X50” is misleading as the introduction of 50 mm chrome-plated hardened steel hollow shafts on the X axis (instead of the previous 35 mm shafts) is something that both Elite and Original Series have. All Elite Series machines have X-50 rails.

EDIT: I have seen that now in the shop Onefinity groups all machines with the buildbotics-derived Onefinity controller and 35 mm shafts on all axes (X-35) as “Original” Series (the initial “Woodworker” 80 x 80 cm and “Machinist” 40 x 40 cm, both available with 3rd “stiffy” 35 mm rail), and the later updated “Woodworker X-50” version with 50 mm shafts on the X axis, as well as the new “Journeyman” 120 x 80 cm as the “X-50 Series”. The Elite Series with MASSO G3 Touch controller are of course “Elite Series”.

EDIT: The X-50 Series are now replaced by the “PRO Series”. They now got the 30 mm drag chains from the Elite Series, stronger open-loop motors, and the heavier Z-20 Z assembly by default.