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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
Location Of ManufactureUnited StatesUnited Kingdom
Control SoftwareUniversal G-Code SenderDuetWebControl
Processor8bit ATMega328 16MHz32bit ARM Cortex 120MHz
No of drivers4 x DRV8825. 2.5A. 32x Microstepping5 x TMC2660, 2.4A, 256x Microstepping (Expandable to 10 Drivers)
Driver SettingsPot/JumpersSoftware
Tetherless machiningNo, computer has to be connected at all times.Yes, file is stored on internal SD Card.
Spindle Control YesYes
Laser ControlYesYes
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:

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.


  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

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