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MAKE contributor Steve Lodefink has a new toy, the MicRo CNC robot kit, from Lumenlab:

The micRo is a 3-axis CNC robot being offered by Lumenlab, the same folks who made DIY video projection accessible to the world. Grayson Sigler, the Brainchild behind Lumenlab (brainchild is also his handle on the inter-tubes) describes micRo as a desktop manufacturing workstation. I have a hunch that Sigler has greater ambitions than simply enabling people to make things. I suspect that he is actually preparing to seed the planet with an army of self-replicating machines that will one day rise up and fulfill their destiny – but I’ll save that for another post.

As the name implies, micRo is has a small footprint, but make no mistake it is not a toy or just a platform for learning about machine control (although it will do that) , but a solid base to which you can attach a tool to do whatever it is that you want to do. This is not your typical “MDF and all-thread” type DIY CNC, but a tough, high-tolerance machine.

Given how talented Steve is, we can’t wait to see what sorts of things he makes with his MicRo. BTW: This is Steve making good on his Maker New Year’s Resolution. Well, at least he’s done the buyin’ part. Now he needs to build it and make something.

MicRo CNC Robot Kit

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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Comments

  1. gren says:

    Here in Germany we call these things Käsefräse or cheese mill, since the only thing soft enough for them is cheese. Guys, save your money, there is very little one can do with a mill that uses such low quality parts. Maybe cutting or stuff, but no metal or hard plastic.

    1. oskay says:

      gren:
      If you’ll notice, this isn’t advertised as a “milling machine.” I think that you’re being overly pessimistic about what this can do. So, you can rightfully rule out fast milling of metal and hard plastic, but haven’t we already got thousands of machines that do that? This is much more interesting– it’s a DIY CNC platform. There are quite seriously hundreds of other possible uses for this.

      It probably doesn’t fry eggs very well either, but who said that it was meant to?

    2. Nigel Tolley says:

      Yes, it’ll machine cheese. With solid carbide milling cutters and a slow feed rate, it’ll carve the hardest of cheese. With a spoon attachment, it’ll stir or spread even the softest of cream cheese in 3 axes. But if you miss out on it, it’ll be hard cheese alright.

      Every step of the development process is documented and filmed, every part critiqued, tested, redesigned, until as near perfect as it can be. The fairly open design trials show that this will move and work well, with hours of video showing many fine touches and careful cutting of parts.

      I didn’t blindly order one of these capable little machines, I checked out the competition first. I looked at machines in the same price range that were 5 years out of date when they hit the market, and I looked at machines with the same abilities which were ten or more times the price before deciding. Then I voted with my dollars.

      That you should not even bother to look at the specs and footage and hundreds of updates, and blithely write this off as a cheese mill is frankly pathetic.

  2. just mike says:

    it’s a shame that the first comment should be a negative one…

    i’ve been following the progress of the micRo and it’s big brother RoGR for nine months now and Sigler’s and Turner’s diligence is remarkable.

    and i’ve ordered one for myself.

    go on over and see for yourself.

    micRo forum: http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=25411

    RoGR forum: http://www.lumenlab.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=24651

    and there’s also a wealth of other information throughout the site.

  3. Collin Cunningham says:

    as the saying goes – “if it’ll carve a pcb, it’s good enough for me”
    k, perhaps not the oldest adage but for the price and apparent quality – my interest is piqued!

    1. vivi says:

      Can it really do PCB milling ? The product page mentions only “pick and place”, and not milling. I’ve been looking for a relatively cheap CNC capable of this for a long time, lacking the skill and time to build my own.

      Actually a cheap machine capable of milling PCB, pick & place and on the spot hot air reflow would be awesome :-)

      1. comment says:

        This looks like a great way to get into cnc machining. I mean, you need to start somewhere in order to learn to use the software or to build a better machine, and not everyone is a genius.

        But to make a pcb? I wouldn’t buy it for that. After all the effort spent to create the file to run it, the purported benefit of repeatability is going to be offset by the slow speed of replication (as well as all the noise and wasted electricity). It would seem like a great way to learn the process for relatively cheap, but once you’ve learned it, I’d imagine you’d buy or build a faster machine… or go back to your previous method of pcb manufacture.

  4. Gabriel says:

    Something comparable to this that can do PCB milling is the Fireball CNC.

    http://www.probotix.com/

    They have a great support group and the platform seems pretty solid. The firball seems to be in the same price range as well. IMO the fireball looks like a better choice, maybe a little less DIY involved but the specs look better for the price.

  5. gyziger says:

    I was wondering the repstrapping abilities this machine might have, but for 500 bucks you could just save your money and buy a reprap.

  6. beth.null says:

    Hey man, why don’t you read the specs and follow the development forum of this true hard beast and big brother?.

    Before saying that, maybe you may consider studying the mechanical properties of the materials that build up the micRo. Have you seen Robin versus the micRo Z axis? Do you know the 0.001″ ~ 0.002″ precision? Have you seen Grayson on top of the moving head of the ROGR?

    I only can say that machines with the same tolerance are around $6000 (LPKF machines or so, they aren’t comparable because LPKF are so specific and not DIY machines) but $499 for a machine that can do plastics, aluminum, methacrylate, milling pcb’s at 0.001″ ???

    Are you joking or trolling?

  7. Luke says:

    Just letting you guys know the LumenLab forum has been dead for a few months. I’ve revived it and have hosted it up on http://www.lumenlab.co. Please check it out if you want to keep the community alive.