If you came here expecting to read a blog bashing other cnc machines then this blog isn't for you. That's not my goal. My goal is to share my experiences and give and honest assessment. X-Carve got me into cnc woodworking and the Shapeoko changed my business. This blog is to highlight the differences to help you make the best choice.
My experience with the X-carve was ok. I think I was jaded from the beginning from the assembly. I called it the Lego set from hell. It came in a million pieces and took me around 12-14hrs to put together. I've always said that intimidation plays a huge factor in someone's decision to jump into cnc mostly because so many have zero experience in it. If you're like me and have zero experience in a particular area the idea of assembling something like this and learning the software is intimidating enough to make you spend your money elsewhere. To their credit, X-carve did make it very user friendly with their Easel software and i was carving my first item soon after assembly; but the assembly is enough to be a deal breaker for a lot of consumers.
The Shapeoko arrived shortly after the X-carve. Shapeoko wanted me to have the machine because they were confident their machine was superior. They were correct. They were both roughly the same price but the Shapeoko was far and away a more robust machine. I could lift the X-carve myself. I couldnt come close to doing that with the shapeoko. It was heavier, sturdier, and could be pushed harder. Could the X-carve have done more than I gave it a chance to? Sure absolutely; but i think it has its limits. To me it was a no brainer when people asked which on the buy. It was the shapeoko. Not only did you get way more value for your dollar but it almost made the X-carve feel a little obsolete.
Like everything else the free market evolves and 2020 brought us the OneFinity. The people behind OneFinity looked at the current competition and took notes of all the things people said they wished were different and put it in their machine and did it at the same competitive price. Gone are the plastic wheels and rubber belts that occasionally require maintenance and gone are the running of wires through tracks. They're replaced by precision ball screws, steel shafts, prewired plug and play connections and a 7" touch screen display. Yes you read that correctly. You get all those upgrades without paying an upgrade price. You can't help being impressed with it as you unpack it.
(Below Shapeko belts and wheels compared to Onefinitys ball screws and steel shafts)
As if the material quality isn't impressive enough, the biggest difference to the average person like you and me is the assembly time. The machine literally assembles in 15 min and that's not an exaggeration. The rails come preassembled and the wires are a labeled plug and play system. Remember when i talked about intimidation? Well OneFinity took that out of the equation. The only assembly that's required is 8 allen screws (4 on each side) to secure the X rail to the Y's and attaching Z to the X rail. Plug the labeled connectors in and power it up. Thats it for assembly. It's an amazing design to take the guess work and frustration out of it and get you carving right away. Its' design also allows it to be portable if say you wanted to carve something in a table top.
Another impressive trait of the OneFinity is no computer is required to be connected directly to it. You simply log into the machine from your computer using it's IPS address (192.168.x.xxx) or https://onefinity.local and upload your files just like you would upload files in an email. From there you can monitor the machines progress and stop it if necessary. No internet access? No problem there either. Onefinity NEVER requires access to the internet, unlike the X-carve. You'll never be left with a brick if you have no internet. Just plug your flash drive in the controller and upload them from there.
(Below pics of the OneFinity touch screen. blacked out is the IP address I log into mine with the on the right shows the folder icon which you use to upload your files)
It's hard to find something wrong with the OneFinity but if i had to pick something it would be it's lack of software. X-Carve has Easel and Shapeoko has Carbide Create. Ironically both free softwares work for the Onefinity simply by changing the post processor to GRBL before you save your gcode file. I use Carbide create however there are some features that dont work the same. For instance, the Shapeoko knows what you set the Z retract height at and follows through. The OneFinity doesnt read that part of the file so I have to raise the Z manually prior to running the file. If you're new to cnc then setting the feed rates for each bit is a learning curve. The base settings are very conservative and the cut speeds are slow meaning it will take a while for your piece to cut. While running the Shapeoko you can increase the speed manually in Carbide Motion by clicking the "increase feed rate" button all the way up to 200%. You dont have that ability to do that with the Onefinity so your speed will be what you have the individual bits set at. Is that really a con? Not really because once you get carving you learn those things fast but it's worth a mention in the interest of being fair and giving on honest assessment to all of you. I will say that Onefinity is constantly releasing updates to their software. And most of my 'cons' can (and most likely will) be resolved with a simple firmware update from Onefinity in the future. Thats the beauty of the OneFinity. They dont want to settle. They work to be better
(Below show pics of Shapeoko's Carbide Motion showing the ability to speed up or decrease the feedrate of your carve by clicking either button)
My praise of the OneFinity is not a knock on the Shapeoko. You've all seen me use the Shapeoko for years and still see me using it. Its a good machine that changed my business for the better. The OneFinity is a superior machine that will shape my business and its endless possibilities now and in the future. By doing their homework, in both what to offer and at what price point as well as having amazing customer service, OneFinity has cemented itself as the leader in the home cnc market as we head into 2021. They make changes as they see them needed and truly listen to the feedback. They remain proactive while others scramble to be reactive.
To order your OneFinity cnc click the button in the header.