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Shapeoko CNC Mill Kit turns your laptop and living room into a factory floor


The speed at which 3D printing is advancing beggars the imagination. Just a few years ago we were writing about these exotic new machines which promised to let you create cool products and components on a table top, and now they’re springing up everywhere, in all kinds of configurations and designs.

This Shapeoko CNC Mill Kit is an open source computer controlled manufacturing plant in a kit form, which is being marketed by the clever folk at We’re not quite sure why they call it a ‘Mill Kit’ rather than a 3D printer, maybe it’s something to do with the level of computer control, but in any event it’s a pretty neat piece of kit.


The device is being offered in three kits, a basic one, at $199.00, a more advanced version at $649.00 and a super duper all in one model complete with a starter pack of materials for $999.00. They’re accepting pre-orders for the first 150 units for the next three weeks, so if you’re interested you’d better get your skates on.

The machine has been under development for four years, and works with all the standard computer aided design software on the market. It’s a very worthy project indeed, and you can find out more at the main Shapeoko Wiki page.

Nigel is the managing editor of the Red Ferret, as well as a freelance columnist for the Sunday Times newspaper in London. Loves tech and fancies himself as a bit of a futurist, but then don’t we all?

Nigel – who has written posts on The Red Ferret Journal.


  • "We’re not quite sure why they call it a ‘Mill Kit’ rather than a 3D printer"

    Perhaps because it's a mill and not a 3D printer

    • Aha, precisely my point. So what is the difference?

    • A printer adds material to make the object in question, where a mill starts with an over-sized block of raw material and removes unneeded portions to arrive at the final product – like sculpting.

    • Ah, thanks John, that explains a lot. I actually thought that some 3D printers also 'carved' into blocks, but from what you're saying they all add material in layers?

    • That's correct. To make it simple
      Printer -> additive, creates from nothing, near 0 waste material
      CNC -> Subtractive, cuts from one block, loads of waste material

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