Get it now, or never: world's first open-source CNC mill

The Shapeoko from Inventables in Chicago is said to be the world's first open-source CNC mill that can create precision parts from plastic, wood, and metal. The kits to build the machines cost from $199 to less than $999. “The machines' affordability is helping usher in the age of desktop manufacturing,” says, Inventables CEO Zach Kaplan. In addition, the combination of free, easily accessible open-source software and online storefronts such as Amazon and eBay provide a marketplace for manufactured goods that is fueling the growth of U.S. manufacturing and entrepreneurism.”

The Mechanical Shapeoko kit costs $199 and is designed for experienced CNC machine builders that will add electronics and modify the machine to get it running to suit their needs. The Full kit, which costs $649, includes everything needed to create a working machine, including tools and electrical components. It is intended for those who are comfortable completing the build, but want to source their own materials and tool bits. The Premium kit includes everything, as well as materials and milling bits. It was designed for those with no problems rolling up their sleeves to complete the full build. This $999 kit includes card stock that can replace the milling bits while novice operators learn how to use the CNC mill without risk of injury.

Inventables is accepting pre-orders for the Shapeoko kits April 2 through April 22, 2012 at The kits are expected to ship by June 22, 2012. Full refunds will be issued if fewer than 150 orders are placed.

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