That is very cool, and it is likely that I'd get more immediate use out of this than out of a 3D printer.
What would make this an instant sell: If it had a laser cutter integrated into it, for neatly slicing thinner materials.
Of course, considerably larger machines are already available in that price range, though they're primarily focused on wood, use off-the-shelf routers as their spindles, aren't as compact, and may not be designed for the same precision.
The average kit CNC router has plenty of precision. Nothing in this one that isn't in them. Really, size and enclosure are the only advantages this one has. It won't be silent, by the way, once you start cutting things that aren't foam or wax. In an average CNC router, over half of the machine noise comes from the bit cutting the wood, not the motor.
Seems like a nice little design for its intended market. While a more traditional CNC router would be better for those with workshops, and/or who need to cut larger parts, this one can at least be used in a spare bedroom without totally taking over the space. You'll want a shop-vac to clean it out between uses, but that'll become obvious right away. I'd like to see them offer it unbundled from MeshCAM, though, for people who want to work with CAD, or make parts from non .stl sources.
Disappointed it's not the headline I read... $2k desktop killing machine
true, my desktop had it coming for quite some time now.
you can make things out of a variety of materials
True, especially materials with greater strength than plastics. BUT you need a solid block of material, which can be wasteful, more time consuming, use up lots of drill bits, and not allow cavities like 3d printing does. Also, for real-world applications, you will need different drill bits, and plan ahead a lot on how you can apply them, and are restricted in what you can do with them.
it is more accurate.
This is disputable. A 3d printer engineered with the same care as a milling machine IMHO can be just as accurate. Hobbyist and low-cost machines of either sort usually can't.
I think both technologies are complementary.
I agree that they're complementary processes. As far as accuracy, it's less about the care of building as the process itself. A hobbyist mill or router will move the head in the same way, and with the same general degree of resolution, as a hobbyist 3D printer. Where the head meets the work, though, they're spinning precise, carefully ground endmills, while the printer is extruding a bead of molten plastic. It's inherently sloppy, when viewed at the fine scale. Of course, more advanced machines use different processes, and some are much more accurate, but they're very expensive, largely due to patents.
It's a frequently used argument that subtractive processes are wasteful, but in the vast majority of cases, the "wasted" chips are carefully gathered, stored, and sold as scrap to be recycled. Machine shops don't waste metal because they can't afford to, and the majority of metals recycle at near 100% efficiency, with regard to loss.
As additive processes mature, we'll see much more use of them in industry, but it'll be alongside the already very mature subtractive processes that preceded them. Neither is likely to replace casting, for instance. Milling a mold that'll make 100,000 ketchup bottle caps in a week makes far more sense than printing 1000 a week, but printing the prototypes during the design phase is very practical and efficient.
I may have missed something by reading the Kickstarter page on my phone, but I see no specifications at all in the description. Size? Speed?
Well I read " $2k desktop milking machine"
The additive and subtractive elements do seem to be begging to be combined into a single technology.
Add a portable smelter and fractional distillation unit and you could just drop raw materials in at one end and wait for whatever at the other.
Where's my desktop welding machine?!
The pairing of additive and subtractive is especially powerful if used iteratively.
For example, I design and 3D print a dozen items only to discover through use that some part of them ought to be different. Instead of reprinting the complete item I only wish to correct the defect. I update my CAD drawings and then process the difference, first through the CNC driller, then through the 3D printer, once for each of the dozen items. As this design amendment / remove / reprint cycle is repeated the CAD drawing evolves, maintaining the most recent design, so when a 13th+ item is desired it can be produced directly and correctly.
You've touched on a very important point: 3D printing is practical for small amounts, but if you have a need for large quantities, you actually need a negative form "investment molds", which, of course, can be produced via 3D printing (in metal, I assume).
Back in 2010, I got a Zen Toolworks 12" CNC for a bit over $600. I'm pleased to see they're still available at nearly that price. It's a kit. If you enjoy puzzles, it is an absolute delight to assemble because of how precise it all is.
What do the additional costs (drivers, power supply, spindle/mount, software) add up to?
You just cut the end off of this and use the +/- as appropriate:
+1 for Taig. Cheaper and made of steel, not aluminum and a far more powerful spindle motor. It's possible the steppers are bigger too. I've cut steel on mine many times.