CNC mill / router

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 top end CNC-STEP High-Z S1000 1000 x 600 for around € 4000 would do.

However: have a look at theDec 2018 announcement of Yeti Smart Bench, which can handle a 4x8 for under € 5000

And the MASLOW CNC - An open source 4 by 8 foot CNC cutting machine for under $500. A router designed to let you cut big, useful things out of wood and more.

See the video. Temporarily out of stock.



For a real destop mill about the size of an Ultimaker look at the Othermill 140 x 114 x 32 mm bed. $ 2199. Mac only. Superceded by the Othermill Pro $ 3199 , USA only ,Win + Mac

Particularly good at milling pcb's.


Nomad 883 CNC Mill, by Carbid 3D,a ready to run 200 x 200 x 75 mm. Fully enclosed desktop model, $ 2500

Schermafbeelding 2016-11-10 om 11.25.38

The Sienci Mill One will be a simple and affordable desktop 3-axis CNC milling machine with a bed of 250 x 200 x 100 mm. Open source, for about CAD 800 (€ 550). As of  March 2017 they will deliver the first run for their Kickstarter backers . One can enroll for the second run.


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 !


Printrbot says: 'The Printrbot CNC is a CNC router intended to cut wood and plastic.  This machine is NOT a CNC mill.'

Only available in the US. $ 2699.


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.

Schermafbeelding 2018-07-21 om 22.09.11

Along the same principle is the Shaper Origin. It uses a visual markertapethat tracks its position relative to the wrokpiece. As you cut, Origin adjusts for human error and keep the cut precise and repeatable. On pre-order. Early bird price was (2017) $ 2399

Schermafbeelding 2016-03-22 om 13.37.14

The Printrbot Crawlbot can ride on a 4 x 8 ft sheet of plywood. $3999. Only available in the USA. They correctly warn for the steep learning curve ahead for CNC.


The Pocket NC is a 5 Axis Desktop CNC Mill with a Beaglebone controller. $ 4000.

As of January 2017 they will  also carry a Kickstarted open hardware FR4 Machine shield, $ 449.


I consider the iModela with a build-volume of 86 x 55 x 26 mm (123 cm3) too limited for a fablab. € 725

For $ 729 you can have a German StepCraft kit with 210 x 210 x 40 (1764 cm3).


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 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.


German STEPCRAFT offers four kits:

210 x 210 for € 729
300 x 210 for € 829
420 x 300 for € 979
600 x 420 for € 1279


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.


What is happening around the Kickstarted Microcarve MV3 is vague. The site is dead, but there are full bulding instructions here if you want to make a Microcarve A4.


Much up in design and quality is the Colinbus CPR.


Carvey’s fully-enclosed design makes 3D carving clean, quiet, and safe. Easel, our free web-based software, is accessible to students of all ages. Learn why Carvey is the perfect choice for your classroom, library, or STEM makerspace.
$ 2499


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.

Schermafbeelding 2016-03-22 om 13.31.37

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.


Floris Hoff, developer of the ByFlow portable 3D-printer, uses a 600 x 900 x 120 mm bed chinese machine HSCNC 6090 with a watercooled 1.5 kW spindle. Looks like a bargain for € 4537.  HSCNC also has a larger type 1224 with 1250 x 2500 for € 6750.

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.


During FABCADEMY 2015 Wilhelm Schütze from FabLab Uni in Peru designed and built the X-Culpt CNC. Open source of course. All plans and files here.

If you want to make a low cost CNC from components, have a look at Banggood.

And the above mentioned FR4 motor shield from PocketNC might come in handy too.