Like 3D printers, CNC mills have migrated to the desktop. A handful of the little guys have sprung up, making routing more accessible for schools and home use. They may not be seeing the explosion in popularity of their additive brethren, but the landscape is vibrant and the tools are continually improving. Here are five of the most popular, with details on how they have updated their hardware, software, business plans, or personnel.
The MTM Snap — so named because it’s part of the Machines that Make project and it snaps together — hasn’t changed much lately, but it’s important as the progenitor of Other Lab’s Othermill. Originally a project out of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, MTM Snap’s designer, Jonathan Ward, went to Otherlab to help found its hardware division, Other Machine Co.
Backers of Other Machine Co.‘s Kickstarter, which cruised past its goal last year, have begun receiving their Othermills. Meanwhile, its creators have introduced tutorials for milling printed circuit boards, and launched computer-aided manufacturing software called Otherplan to use design files to directly control the mill.
PocketNC introduced its 5-axis desktop mill just last September at World Maker Faire, and prospective buyers are still awaiting a Kickstarter for the P5, but a lucky few are beta testing the device.
Mebiotics is showing new signs of life after its Microfactory 3D printer/CNC mill combo failed to reach its Kickstarter goal. The startup has been accepted into — and begun — Betaspring’s 13-week accelerator program.