Despite all of the well-documented, homebuilt CNCs out there, I couldn’t get the momentum to build one, so I decided to start with a kit. The micRo looks great (in a NASA sort of way), and with a working area of about 12″×10″×4″, it’s big enough to be useful to the hobbyist, small enough to be stowed under a workbench, and stout enough to cut aluminum and hard plastic. The only things I had to procure were the wiring and enclosure for the driver boards and an old PC, and the basic assembly offered almost no opportunities for mistakes. Documentation resides at, and the companion forums are quite active. I’ve got some CAD learning to do before I can start making my own robot parts, but tinkering with this desktop CNC feels good, and I’m really glad I started with a kit.

Steve Lodefink

Steve Lodefink

An inveterate tinkerer and “broad-spectrum hobbyist,” Steve just can’t say no to a cool project. At 3, he was already reverse-engineering the peanut butter and jelly sandwich: “I figured out where all of the parts were, found a good tool, and built one. I’ve been doing it ever since.” He lives in Seattle with his wife and two sons, two cats, five tarantulas, and 24 African cichlids, and thinks that one of life’s great pleasures is a really sharp aged cheddar cheese. “I’m a simple man,” he says. He looks at life’s debris at

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