This machine was reviewed as part of our 2017 Desktop Fabrication Shootout. See more machines in our 3D Printer Guide and non-3D printer reviews here.


Roland is a trusted name in vinyl cutters and makes the legendary Modela MDX40 PCB Mill. Their desktop CNC, the monoFab SRM-20, boasts accuracy comparable to other manufacturers. However, the user experience is where the monoFab really excels.

Lessons from 3D Printers

There are no fancy lights or features, but the thorough documentation means using the machine is very clear. The monoFab uses different software for 3D parts, 2D parts, and on-the-fly 2D operations, but they all share a user-friendly approach. Once tool paths are defined, clicking “cut” starts the job, just like clicking “print” in popular 3D printing software. You can tweak the parameters, but often the default settings are acceptable.

A Straightforward Machine

If you want a small CNC mill from a trusted brand that can ace small jobs with the user-friendly workflow of a 3D printer, the monoFab SRM-20 is for you.

Photos by Christopher Garrison

Details

Manufacturer Roland

Base Price $4,495

Price as Tested $4,495

Accessories Included at Base Price Cutting tool, collet, set screw, spanners (7,10mm / 0.28, 0.39 inches), hexagonal wrench (size 2,3 mm / 0.059, 0.12 inches), positioning pins, double-sided tape

Additional Accessories Provided for Testing None

Build Volume 203×152.4×60.5mm

Materials Handled Modeling wax, wood, foam, acrylic, polyacetate, ABS, PCBs

Work Untethered? No. Unit must be connected by USB to a computer running VPanel for SRM-20 during cutting.

Onboard Controls? Power switch only

Design Software Click Mill (V1.32) for simple cutting, iModela Creator (V1.2) for 2D, MODELA Player 4 (V2.12) for 3D

Cutting Software VPanel

OS Windows 7, 8, 10 (32 and 64 bit)

Firmware Proprietary

Open Software? No

Open Hardware? No

Pro Tips

If you wake up your computer by hitting the space bar, you could inadvertently cancel your job. Minimize the VPanel control software if you plan to walk away from the machine.