Called the MicroMill, it’s a high quality, low-cost, 3-axis computer numerical control (CNC) milling machine for your desktop, with a working area of 115 x 100 x 64mm, and a footprint no more than that of an A4 notepad.
Controlled via USB from your computer with a wide range of open-source software options, it’s perfect for (quietly) cutting bespoke shapes in materials ranging from soft wax and foam to woods and plastics, and even aluminum. These can be anything from soft prototypes to finished parts — with a precise, high quality finish, and a price tag that’s a fraction of other marketplace rivals.
“What really sets us apart is the level of build quality, the versatility, and the precision you’re getting for your money,” creator Josh Smith told Digital Trends. “We closely studied the specifications of our rivals at all price points, and asked how we could match or better them on every single point.”
Smith said that the U.K.-based RP3d design startup behind the MicroMill didn’t originally set out to create a CNC machine. The necessity to do so came about while the firm was developing another project. Finding that 3D-printed parts weren’t strong or accurate enough to work the way the company wanted, they approached machinists for the job — only to be discouraged by the high quotes and long lead time.
“After giving up outsourcing to machinists, we looked at buying a machine ourselves,” he continued. “Being a startup of limited resources, the prices being charged for the most complete ‘all-rounder’ machines were just completely out of reach.”
Eventually they decided the best thing to do would be to build a machine for themselves. A dozen revisions and several prototypes later, and the MicroMill is what happily emerged.
“The end result is a stiff, robust little machine that weighs less than 6kg, but is capable of cutting parts out from almost all materials softer than steel,” Smith said. “We’re proud of what we’ve achieved and excited to get it into the hands of creative people who can really benefit from its abilities.”
If you want to be among them, you can place a pre-order for the machine over on Kickstarter. Shipping is set to take place in July.