Make: 66 — Digital Fabrication

We’re excited to present our “2019 Make: Digital Fabrication Guide”! This year we get our hands on maker-ready waterjet cutters with machines from Wazer and Omax. We also review the latest 3D printers, CNC routers, laser cutters, and vinyl cutters. More than 20 tools tested to help you find the best one for your shop or makerspace.

Plus, more than 30 DigiFab projects and lessons:

  • Build a robot companion that reacts to the faces of people around you
  • Make Nixie tube-style display with LEDs and acrylic
  • Create a mini Intaglio printing press and create unique artwork
  • and much more.

On the Cover: The Pulse XE 3D printer, Glowforge laser cutter, and Wazer waterjet cutter wowed in this year’s testing.

Table of Contents


Reader Input

Notes from readers like you. Page 05

Made on Earth

Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 06

Fresh, Fun, and Fabulous

In its ninth year, World Maker Faire New York showcases new ideas and a sense of wonder.Page 14


Under Pressure

How Wazer turned a college waterjet cutter project into a startup venture.Page 16

Special Section: Digital Fabrication

Tech Tools

New digifab machines give you more project options than ever before.Page 18

Waterjet Cutter Reviews

Page 20

3D Printer Reviews

Page 24

Laser Cutter Reviews

Page 32

CNC Router Reviews

Page 36

Vinyl Cutter Reviews

Page 40

At a Glance

Peruse specs and data from our reviews to help find the exact machine for your needs.Page 42


LED “Nixie” Display

Laser-cut and edge-lit, these 10-digit numeric displays are bigger, brighter, and safer than the old tubes.Page 46

Archimedes: AI Robot Owl

Print and wear a superb owl that uses AI vision to see faces, judge emotions, and respond.Page 52

Laser-Cut Box Loom

A portable, easy-to-build machine for band or card weaving.Page 60

3DP Leather Molding

Print your own custom tools for traditional leather forming. Page 62

Functional Furniture

Re-creating a classic kids’ flat-pack table and chair design for CNC cutting.Page 64

The Big Picture

Use a digital projector to cut and build enormous 3D models out of cardboard.Page 66

1+2+3: Easy Soda Can Robot

Make a walking robot using a Coke can and a little trick for gluing two servos together.Page 68

Skill Builders

Perfecting Placement

How to position your 3D model on the digital build plate for optimal print results.Page 70

Micro Milling

Move up to the next level by going small on your CNC machine. Page 72

Start and Stop G-Codes

Make your printer do your exact bidding with these commands.Page 74

Kerf Wars

How much material is really removed by your cutter?Page 76

Show & Tell

Show & Tell

Dazzling projects from inventive makers like you.Page 80