Siency Labs has launched a new Kickstarter campaign aiming to bring the first ever desktop CNC milling machine to the market. This tiny CNC is called the “Mill One” and it follows the same usability approach as the various desktop 3D printers that appeared during the past few years, only with key differences that derive from its different nature of course. These key differences are what makes the Belgium-based Siency Labs engineers confident that their Mill One could go where almost all desktop 3D printers failed, and that is quicker, easier, cheaper, and simpler manufacturing of high-fidelity items right on your desktop.
While 3D printers follow an additive manufacturing logic where a plastic material is gradually deposited in a controlled and precise way onto a printing base, the Mill One is carving the same objects by removing material in a controlled manner. Using a rotating cutting tool that can move along three axes, this CNC machine can use the same 3D objects found in online printable items databases to produce objects of very high geometrical and morphological accuracy. This basically means that you can create various “quite nice” things with it, using only a laptop/PC and an internet connection.
Because in the case of the Mill One you don’t have to reach high temperatures in order to melt the building materials, but instead just chip out material and carve a block, it is possible to use much more usable and nicer things than ABS plastics. The list includes wood, aluminum, brass, PVC, polycarbonates, acrylics, leather, polystyrene foam, and more. Basically, aluminum is the hardest supported right now, so anything softer than that will do just fine. Desktop 3D printers usually won’t support any of these materials, and even if they do, buying a brass or a wood filament costs way more than buying a block of it.
The Siency Labs team claims that they have even carved a banana which is indicative of the level of accuracy that their CNC machine can reach right now. If you’re interested in getting one for your desktop, you can buy the kit right now from Kickstarter at a price that is just over five hundred US dollars. The pre-assembled machine costs $700, and the one that includes a spindle costs $830. I know that isn’t compared to the low prices of some desktop 3D printers, but still, considering the added capabilities and promised reliability of this machine, it is worth the price.