Standard in the MIT inventory are the Roland MODELA MDX-20 Mini-mill and the SHOPBOT flatbed CNC router.
The Roland Modela MDX-20 costs around € 4000 with a build volume 200 x 150 x 60 mm (1800 cm3). Its successor Roland SRM-20 costs about $ 5000.
The big Shopbot is beyond the scope of the mini FabLab. Its 2440 x 1220 mm bed serves a totally different purpose than a ‘desktop’ CNC gantry router – like the **ZOLTAR 2011-CL ** with a bed of 750 x 550 for around € 2000 or the top quality CNC-STEP High-Z S1000 1000 x 600 for around € 4000 would do.
The british Micromill by RP3D, now on Kickstarter, is a comparable desktop 3-axis CNC milling machine with a bed of 150 x 100 x 64 mm. Powered by a Proxxon shaft driven spindle. Announced for £ 749 ex VAT. Open Hardware !
Interesting was the Kickstarter initiative for the Handibot. You do not move the bed, but the machine itself, so its 15 x 20 cm bed is not the limitation.
Interesting also because you could use this machine make parts for another Handibot (MtM) and because it is open source hardware. Available in the USA for $2895.
At the low cost DIY end there was also the ShapeOKO, originally aiming for a € 300 CNC-router with a bed of 200 x 200 mms. Open hardware, open source. Arduino driven. But alas, at shapeoko.com it seemed perennially sold-out. Kit for USD 649
But do not despair, as Carbid 3D ...
Carbid 3D, the maker of the Nomad 833 desktop, announced a ShapeOKO 3, 425 x 425 x 75 mm bed,
which now is on pre-order. USD 999. for a full kit. With cutting area 16 x 16 for $ 1099, Shapeoko XL 26 x 33 $ 1499 and Shapeoko XXL for $ 1699
They claim it will take one hour to assemble.
If you live in Europe, note that Fablabfactory will carry the Shapeoko.
The Probotics V90 Mk2 CNC ROUTER is the successor of the Fireball V90. 510 x 330 x 130. Ready built it starts at $ 2699.
The Fireball V90 kit with cutting area of 450 x 300 x 75 for $ 1300 is no longer available.
Value for money is the mentioned stainless steel **ZOLTAR 2011-CL **750 x 550 for around € 2000, with a bigger brother of 1200 x 550. They are ball-screw equiped and use the CNC-USB controller. Fablab ICER in Ulft installed one.
Also keep an eye on ZOLTAR’s announcement of an A3 sized 2012-NC 430 x 317 for under € 1000.
Top of the low end (or better low at the top end) is the CNC-STEP High-Z S series with 400 x 300, 720 x 420 and 1000 x 600 mm at prices from € 3000 upwards depending on spindle and controller, for which they offer a wide range of options. Same for the software. It is made in Germany and that shows. Two X-motors. A nice feature is its open bed, so you can route on a bigger surface.
In the same price range is the Swiss Laumat Flat Cut series.
And the Haase-al-series.
If you need a bigger bed, then there is the PF series from BZT, that reaches 1400 x1000 mm for about $ 5000. Shopbot introduced the Shopbot Desktop, a gantry router with a bed 610 x 460 mm for $ 5000.
Please note that ANY mill will produce a lot of fine dust. Add at least a vacuum cleaner or better a closed dust collector like this € 300 one from HBM. A note on software: there is little open source control software for CNC, but several affordable (< € 200) packages.
======= Making your own =======
At MIT a low cost MANTIS Router was developed by David Carr. It originated from a dream to make a $ 100 mill, but costs of good components add up quickly. Its build-volume of 130 x 190 x 40 mm (988 cm3) is a tad smaller then the regular Modela MDX-20.
At Protospace we made a series of them with the driver board of the Ultimaker with 3 Pololu steppers. As spindle a cheap imitation Dremel was used, which was modified to work on PWM.
This setup proved too imprecise for serious milling. Possibly the imitation Dremels bearings became less alligned when I adapted it for PWM.