PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

CNC USB Controller Software

Should PlanetCNC controller work with counterfeit controllers

Yes, I don't care if Chinese use stolen technology
No, PlanetCNC has right to protect their technology
Total votes : 41

Re: Your opinions and ideas

Postby Tony7102 » 13 Jul 2016, 16:33

I am a hobbyist and recently bought a MK1 controller board on eBay to see if I could successfully build a 3-axis CNC for PCB. I tried a few CNC Software Demos with the board and liked the PlanetCNC the best, so purchase a license. No where on the purchase site did it say that the license would be tied to one board forever.

My intent was to learn on the cheap eBay CNC board and buy a better one later when I became more efficient at using the CNC and software. At the correct speed to make a 3.5 inch by 5 inch PCB, the control board began giving buffer errors about 1/3 through almost at the same place every time. After some research, it was apparent that the cheap eBay CNC board is not fast enough for what I want to do.

I just found out I will have to rebuy a new license for a faster (say MK3) board, even if purchased for PlanetCNC. This is just wrong.

PlanetCNC need a warning on their site explaining this, or only sale their software with a board. What happens when a CNC is hit with a power surge and is unusable?? This sounds like a great way to cheat a consumer. And is very unfriendly to hobbyist, who make mistakes on a regular bases.
Posts: 1
Joined: 13 Jul 2016, 16:10

Re: Your opinions and ideas

Postby Andrej » 14 Jul 2016, 08:57

Cheap controllers found on eBay and also on other sites are all made without our permission. Mk1 DIY plans and firmware were published publicly but commercial usage is still forbidden.
You can use this work and make derivative works based on it but only for noncommercial purposes.
For commercial purposes you need written permission from us.

For some time we were fighting this legally but we soon learned that this is like Don Quixotes fight against wind mills.

We could simply disable our software when this controller is detected but this would punish users. Bad guys will continue with their behavior.

A lot of people is not aware of this. We get a lot of email from people who learned this after they purchased Chinese version and they want to make things right by buying original.

Not to mention bad reputation that we get because those boards are not working like they should. I believe this is causing us greatest damage. This topic is typical example. You got ripped off by eBay seller by selling you illegal counterfeit product and now we are bad guys? No thank you. I'm not working twelve hours per day for this.

You describe situation when you damage your controller. So you buy another one (2x sale for bad guys) but we need to give our work for free?

You do not realize that license is not for software. License is for controller. This is our way to get something in return for all our work. Software is free to use for all licensed controllers.
Posts: 2489
Joined: 10 Jan 2012, 16:09
Controller: Many controllers

PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Andrej » 14 Jul 2016, 09:08

What is your opinion?
Posts: 2489
Joined: 10 Jan 2012, 16:09
Controller: Many controllers

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Plotter » 14 Jul 2016, 14:24

I read on CNCZone how you started, with this whole USB CNC idea - many moons ago.
A few people knocked your idea as not possible.

If you compare Planet-CNC prices with other USBCNC solutions last time I check Planet-CNC was the cheapest even with the license separate. There is Opensource solutions available if you want to hone your CNC machining skills as a hobby. If you want really nice software with a ton of extra features I think it is just
fair to pay a fair price.
Posts: 5
Joined: 11 Jan 2012, 04:51

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby JerryBurks » 14 Jul 2016, 16:20

I know it has historic reasons due to DIY MK1 controller but maybe you should re-consider your distribution model since these are obsolete anyway.

IMO you would be better off selling the controller board with license as a package. You need a one-to-one purchase anyway and that would eliminate the frustration from folks who believe they have bought a software license.
Posts: 217
Joined: 10 Jan 2012, 20:26
Location: Pasadena, California
Controller: Mk2

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby nicolap8 » 01 Aug 2016, 16:04

JerryBurks wrote:I know it has historic reasons due to DIY MK1 controller but maybe you should re-consider your distribution model since these are obsolete anyway.

IMO you would be better off selling the controller board with license as a package. You need a one-to-one purchase anyway and that would eliminate the frustration from folks who believe they have bought a software license.

I second Jerry.
Remember that we are in the Information era: correct information is not an option!
Simply stating:
Every controller requires this license. Without license it is limited to 25 moves.

it's not enough, is insufficient.
Posts: 75
Joined: 24 Jan 2014, 17:53
Controller: Mk2

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Mike_from_Pembroke » 29 Nov 2016, 11:58

Clone China (and other) Planet CNC controllers seem to be here to stay and I have some sympathy for the uninformed and sometimes innocent user who purchases one without knowing the software is illegal.

My suggestion is to turn it into a Win Win - (We are trying to sell software, and perhaps hardware aren't we?)

The system, as it exists now is you can purchase Planet CNC software licence for clone board, but you are discouraged not to because of poor construction and slow outdated processor and after purchasing legitimate software, you are "dead ended" with useless board and software you probably have to throw away. In a sense you feel like you have been taken advantage of TWICE.

Why not supply free "speed test" on line, which will tell you how many axis and what maximum pulse rate your clone board will support. (It would give us with legitimate boards a quick diagnostic as well).

Allow and even encourage clone customers to purchase software, issue them a new unique, one only, machine number to go with their clone board.

If in the future they are unhappy with their clone board (and this should/could apply to broken or outdated Planet CNC boards as well), offer a return option for LICENCED boards (clone or legitimate) with a say $10 handling charge to allow them to purchase a new PlanetCNC board at regular price with their software transferred to the new board. You of course would just junk the old boards.

I think this would encourage and give clone customers an upgrade path to legal Planet CNC software (and hopefully eventually new Planet CNC hardware) with the advantage of support, software upgrades, etc, and not "throw in their face" that they were taken advantage of. This would give them (and why not earlier Planet CNC customers as well) a hardware upgrade path and allow them to run with the software and hopefully after they use the software for a while, actually take advantage of the hardware upgrade offer too.
Posts: 1
Joined: 16 Feb 2013, 18:33
Location: Pembroke Ontario Canada
Controller: Mk2/4

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Xadyburn » 25 Jan 2017, 07:14

Nothing worse than people stealing other peoples hard work. gold
Last edited by Xadyburn on 23 Aug 2017, 13:55, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1
Joined: 24 Jan 2017, 08:12

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Jarsofclay1979 » 20 Mar 2017, 20:33

Ok so i have one of these controllers and i keep seeing over and over they are counterfeit and knock offs and illegal....i saw the plans myself and you have them post as open source... So by definition anyone who uses these plans does not make counterfeit and if they modify something open-source its no longer even yours because anything that is remade and remanufactured in a new way becomes property to do so however they see fit..I understand your sore about chinese garbage controllers using crack license and i would be too... But thats between you and them how they are illegally giving a license code to use the software. If i were you id get a lawyer and sue for illegal use of software. Theres nothing you can do about the hardware especially if they modify except take down your plans and revoke diy permission. Sanven Corporation is whom i bought my cnc from. they are selling what your saying is illegal licenses.
Posts: 9
Joined: 10 Mar 2017, 18:46

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Ryadia » 22 Apr 2017, 05:32

Counterfeit controllers or not you sell software as a standalone product. Most countries (EU included) have consumer laws that require you to support (guarantee) your products for 12 months. When I innocently purchased a $2000 router on Ebay, it came with a heavily doctored version of your software and an edited 30 page operating manual that made no mention of Planet USB CNC. A perfect case for copyright infringement.

I had no idea you were claiming ownership of the design of the controller in it. I had bought an engraving machine. None the less I decided to purchase your software that I was totally unaware until I started having troubles that you tie the software to a single board. In my case one you claim is counterfeit. Basically you sabotaged my otherwise functional router by selling me software and tying the license to a counterfeit board. That is simply not fair.

That's my view of the situation. Had you asked me for a picture of the board before selling me a license, fair enough to refuse me. The altered and shortened manual provided with the router has got a high quality image of the board and a USB to LPT cable. It would have then been my choice if I bought one of your boards to get the software or bought an Australian made alternative. My opinion is that you need to re construct your business plan or run the risk of a legal case - against you.

You can't walk away from support for your software after having sold a license to use it that was/is tied to a Chinese copy of a board you no longer make. Consumer laws are for everyone. They offer just as much protection to a seller as they do to a consumer. Profit is not everything in business. Ethics are what make a successful business, not how they make their money.

My opinion, based on 30 years as a company Director is that this issue is going to do you more harm than good if someone takes you on in court using the resources of a government Consumer law advocate. Maybe offering a refund to everyone you sold software to and tied it to a Chinese boards would be better than refusing to support it because you are almost as guilty as the Chinese who misuse your Intellectual property if you do that.

You asked for an opinion, don't blame me if you don't like it.

Posts: 6
Joined: 15 Apr 2017, 00:34

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby deball » 02 Nov 2017, 20:02

Very late in catching this one.

Quite simply I would suggest that you cease the sale of software to owners of product which isn't made/licensed by your company.

There is also a difference in software support under the EU directives, you can sell software and then not support the customer in anyway (most of the internet seems to hope to work this way!) If you look at almost all commercial software, backup, OS, development tools, the price paid often is exclusive of support services, which at the enterprise level can be close on 30% per YEAR with 20% being more of the norm.

Selling hardware is to hand ownership of a product to a paying customer, software is rarely the sale of the software, but the sale of a license to use that code in compliance with your license conditions.

Most people know that the Chinese care not one bit about copyright or any other IP. They are pirates, a couple of years ago chip maker FTDI changed the PID codes in one of their most popular components drivers, this enforced that the coding had to be 100% authentic and not just the name and product number. It was an eye opener for a LOT of their customers who have product made in China as to just how many products stopped working. Sure 10 minutes work on the inf files and an update and all was working fine, it was FTDI showing how many products are coming from China being illegal.

On consumer protection legislation, don't forget the first law, let the consumer be ware!
Posts: 1
Joined: 02 Nov 2017, 19:15
Controller: Other

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Support » 03 Nov 2017, 10:45

PlanetCNC forum will be closing within next month.

There are multiple reasons, mainly spam, because of which we need to constantly maintain the forum which prevents from users have quick support.

Main support operates via support tickets on our home page:
We really recommend that for any support questions or info regarding our products, you use this ticketing system.

You can also use our support mail at:

We will continue our community support forum on CNCZONE:

On CNCZONE users can discuss anything related to PlanetCNC or CNC.

PlanetCNC Support team
Posts: 2671
Joined: 07 Apr 2014, 17:39
Controller: Many controllers

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby TonyB999 » 13 Nov 2017, 06:58


As Ryadia has said, I'm really surprised with this!
I was COMPLETELY unaware the software is tied to the board; I literally just went through the same issue Ryadia did:

Purchased kit on eBay, no mention of Planet CNC anywhere. I purchase a kit, lost CD/license and after some digging find out the software is Planet CNC's. I Purchase a license and send email with the code. I was informed that I had a Chinese board and would lose service if they ever did an update and was PERFECTLY understanding of that. If I like the software and reach the limits of my Chinese board, I'm MORE than happy to buy the real thing!
BUT now I find out that license key won't work on the Planet CNC board I may be purchasing since I'm so happy with the software!
So Now I've tried your software, love it, realize the error of my ways by purchasing a Chinese kit (which came with affordable stepper motors and controllers by the way. THAT is the biggest draw, not the board).
But Now that I want to buy your official hardware, you are going to re-charge me for the license?
That's unethical, and I believe with the wording on your website, that it's also illegal. Your site states that I'm buying a license for the Planet CNC software, not the hardware

"Software is free to use with controllers that have valid license."

With that wording, that means you should have NEVER granted me a license when you found out I had a Chinese board! So what's the excuse there? You basically robbed yourself! But now I see it was because you knew you'd force me to pay $84 again when I came back to buy the real PCB from you.

I actually felt really great after our email conversation, and I WAS really excited to log onto the forum tonight for the first time. And this was the first thread I landed on and it has SOURED my entire experience. I mean, I'm not trying to be dramatic, but shit man. Im a manual machinist and take it in the ASS every time I make a mistake. I have to own up to my problems and PAY for it with CASH out of my pocket. YOU Published the schematics, YOU made it open source. Own up to your mistakes. Make your software and hardware worth BUYING. THAT will drive the customer to you, as it did with me.

Want some exposure? Put more than 2 videos on YouTube. Type in CNC CAM software into it and all you get is MACH3. How about a How-To step by step section on the site instead of a 210 page manual?

There's so many ways to look at your situation, and you've focused ALL your energy on the misinformed consumer and put it all on our shoulders.

Again, as Ryadia said, that's my opinion but I can't help it if it's not to your liking.

Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Nov 2017, 10:28
Controller: Chinese clone

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Support » 14 Nov 2017, 11:40

I agree with everything you wrote. Here at PlanetCNC we also feel that this is not fair.
It is not about money, it is about right and wrong. About giving Innocent users that were scammed by Chinese sellers giving opportunity to legalise their illegal controller.

Plans for DIY controller were published, but permission for commercial use was not.
Because we know that users were tricked into buying clone controller, we gave them option of purchasing license, and thus licensing the otherwise illegal product.

Again, license is for controller not software. Software is free.

Ability to license this Chinese controller makes possible to use this controller. I assume there would be lots of angry users if this product just stops working.

P.S.: Did you also wrote to Chinese seller that sold you product about this issue?

Best regards, Team PlanetCNC
Posts: 2671
Joined: 07 Apr 2014, 17:39
Controller: Many controllers

Re: PlanetCNC and counterfeit controllers

Postby Kudalufi » 20 Nov 2017, 00:13

This question isn't as simple as it seems. What is Planet CNC calling "counterfeit"? Does "counterfeit" mean any board which is compatible with a Mk1 board and which Planet CNC didn't manufacture? You say that you denied permission to make changes to the Mk1 board design for commercial purposes, but what IP law is being cited here? If it's copyright law then it's highly doubtful whether the hardware design of a Mk1 board qualifies for copyright protection. An 18F4550 deadbugged with a few resistors would work as a Mk1 controller. This isn't just an opinion - this got hashed out many years ago with Apple ][ and IBM PC clones. You can put out a schematic for a Mk1 board, you can say people can use it for free for non-commercial purposes, but just because someone else releases a board that is compatible with it you can't call it an illegal derivative. They didn't necessarily even have to look at the schematic to make their boards. All they need is a specification for what 18f4550 pins are being used for which purposes and that would allow them to easily design a compatible board. Even if you could convince a judge that this pin specification is copyrightable in the first place, it is a certainty it could be used under fair use.

Now, the firmware is another thing. Your firmware is copyrightable. Of course if someone clean-rooms your firmware and produces a compatible version then you'll have to do some fancy footwork to re-license your software, because at that point you won't be able to prevent any number of legal clones from being put on the market. If the IBM PC BIOS can be clean-roomed with IBM not being able to do a thing about it, then so can this be.

The Chinese may clone everything, and they may have no respect for IP, but in this case, their Mk1-compatible board production isn't illegal. And you know, some of their "clone everything" mentality is actually working well in the wider maker community, where they take some of the better open source hardware projects and make finished products and kits available to everyone. I would suggest that Planet CNC embrace this. Open source the hardware and either sell the firmware, or re-work your license to sell the software. The magic isn't in the hardware anyway. It's very very simple hardware - it's your fantastic software where the magic is.
Posts: 1
Joined: 19 Nov 2017, 23:19

Return to Software

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest