Duet Controller – A New Era For The WorkBee

We have some news to share that we are really excited about. The default controller on the WorkBee CNC Machine is changing. The CNC xPro is a good controller and has done us proud over the last 3 plus years. However as it runs GRBL firmware which is already pushing the CNC xPro to its limit, we are limited with what we can do with it.

Up until now the Duet has mostly been seen on 3D Printers, and in that community there is a gathering buzz around this controller. 3D Printing has advanced massively over the last few years, and switching to the Duet will allow us to bring these features over to the CNC arena.

See the below table for an outline of the differences between the xPro and Duet.

CNC xPro (V3 or V4) Duet
Manufacturer http://www.spark-concepts.com/ https://www.duet3d.com
Location Of Manufacture United States United Kingdom
Firmware GRBL RepRapFirmware
Control Software Universal G-Code Sender DuetWebControl
Connectivity USB/Bluetooth Ethernet/Wifi
Processor 8bit ATMega328 16MHz 32bit ARM Cortex 120MHz
No of drivers 4 x DRV8825. 2.5A. 32x Microstepping 5 x TMC2660, 2.4A, 256x Microstepping (Expandable to 10 Drivers)
Driver Settings Pot/Jumpers Software
Tetherless machining No, computer has to be connected at all times. Yes, file is stored on internal SD Card.
Spindle Control Yes Yes
Laser Control Yes Yes
The Duet In More Detail

The Duet is a more powerful controller, with a 32bit processor it allows more headroom for advanced features down the line. Further to this, the Duet has TMC2660 drivers, these drivers are packed full with amazing features like Stall Guard, StealthChop & SpreadCycle. See the video below to get an idea of how smooth and quiet it makes the WorkBee.

The Duet also has wireless connectivity, this means you can control your WorkBee from a computer or laptop anywhere that is connected to the same Wifi. The control software just runs inside a normal browser so you also can use your smartphone to control the machine.

The Duet has all CNC Functionality built in, including machine/work positioning, offsets, and spindle/laser control.

As the Duet is a more powerful controller and has advanced 3D Printing features already built in, over time we are going to be bring out exciting new features for the WorkBee CNC Machine as free updates. Getting the WorkBee with the Duet now will future proof your machine for the foreseeable future.

When Can I Get One?

The Duet is available now, and is the default controller shipped with our WorkBee CNC Machine:


However we are still finalising the software and manuals for the Duet. So all orders of the WorkBee through the above link will be on a 3 week pre-order, estimated shipping will be week commencing 14th December 2018. After the 17th the WorkBee will ship with our normal lead time displayed at the top of the product description.

If you want a machine now with our normal lead time (5-7 working days) then the WorkBee is still available with the old CNC xPro controller here: No Long Available

33 thoughts on “Duet Controller – A New Era For The WorkBee

  1. Jason Lipavsky says:

    duet3? i built one and have a duet3 going onto it, most of the firmware is written, taken me a while… anything in the works?


    Just upgraded my xpro 3 to the duet 2.
    Ryan recommended buying the duet 2 upgrade kit.
    So I purchased it with a more powerful motor for the X axis. Even installed the homing switches as I didn’t have them before.
    My maching now runs 100% much better now.
    Cant reccomend it enough.
    Thanks Ryan.

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi Jason,

      Thanks for the glowing review! Glad the Duet has brought a new lease of life to your machine!


  3. Colin Kent says:

    Hi Ryan, All your help files on the duet seem to stop at setup. I can find nothing on using it with the CAM software. In particular I need to know what Post processor I should be using in Vcarve Pro. I intend, in future to use one of the fan connectors to control a relay switching power to the router. I could do with a little help on duet comands which have the on/off functions for a particular fan. Regards Colin

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Yes, the Duet can control more than 3 axis. So it is possible. You just need to figure our the mechanical aspect of it. Ryan

  4. Hanz says:

    Hello, I have tried a workbee and I would like to know if someone has the technical data, like the maximum load, the maximum speed, and the maximum step, which can be configured to make a rsaterizado. Probe a simple rasterizado at a low speed but it took 12 hours, and that is not convenient, I have seen that alguin made the rasterizado elmimo in 75 minutes.

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi, could i get some more information on the material you are cutting? This would determine the maximum speed and feed of the machine. The Duet doesn’t really have any speed limits.

  5. MarkTaylor says:

    Continuing on the spindle questions… Do you have any documentation, guidance or advice for setting up a spindle on a Workbee? Are there any spindles that you have tested and would recommend?

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your comment. You can control a PWM spindle with the Duet. You need to assign the pins using the M453 Command. Then you can control it using the M3 Command.

      If using a spindle which requires a 0-10V Input instead of PWM, you will need a converter like this: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/372496572561

      I am afraid there isn’t any spindles we would recommend, we prefer to use the palm routers on our machines.

      Best Regards

      Ryan Lock

  6. allyn hughes says:

    No sorry you have already sorted my xpro problem with replacements, I just thought that maybe the duet would be a good upgrade for me.
    But thanks anyway.

  7. allyn hughes says:

    Hi, are you offering anything for the ox users on the duet upgrade, I only ask because since I purchased my machine in the summer (2018) you have replaced my xpro 3 times due to driver issues?

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi, Thanks for your comment, we haven’t got an OX upgrade kit worked out yet. But shoot us an email and we can sort something out 🙂 Ryan

  8. Andy says:

    Since you’re moving to a new controller, do you think it is possible now to offer a spindle with the Workbee? The difference in noise output is very noticeable and being able to adjust speed in software is a plus. Also is it possible to wire a spindle to the duet controller board if you won’t be offering one? Thanks.

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi Andy,

      In the future we do plan to offer a spindle with the WorkBee. However, for now, we are just concentrating on shipping this controller.

      Yes the Duet and control a spindle and laser.

      Best Regards

      Ryan Lock

  9. Michael Johns says:

    Hi ,
    Having recently purchased a workbee kit it is completed and working well in it’s new ‘clean room’ inside my workshop. It would seem that the duet would be better suited though and would be interested in the upgrade kit when it becomes available. Any idea of costs?

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment. Once we have finalised the manuals and kit for the full kit we will also make an upgrade kit available. We haven’t really thought about the cost, but i estimate in the region of £150 ex VAT. It will require all new wires and limits etc, unless you have a crimping tool, as the Duet doesn’t have screw terminals.


  10. GaryFielding says:

    So after buying my Workbee 1010 c/w a xpro controller in Oct18 it is now obsolete or i should say upgraded would you guys be willing to exchange the xpro that i have for the latest duet board or at least do me a discount on the purchase of the new duet board for me to buy?

    cheers Gary

    • Ryan Lock says:

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for your comment, unfortunately we have to pick a date to make the change, and it could upset some existing customers. We chose Black Friday as the most suitable as we figured that a lot of potential customers would hold off their purchase until then.

      We are going to be supplying an upgrade it kit once we have finalised the assembly manuals.

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