A team of designers and engineers based in Denver, CO, by the name of Furnlab have made it their mission to "empower small businesses and hobbyists to manufacture precision parts locally" with open source CNC plans and product designs. To that end, they're seeking funding for a (relatively) low-cost CNC—Computer Numerical Control, for the uninitiated—machine for small-scale producers.
FurnLab will fully develop and release building plans for an open source, production-ready, precise and fast CNC machine that anyone with a toolbox and a dream can assemble for less than:
> $2500 for a 2’ × 4’ machine
> $4000 for a 4’ × 4’ machine
> $7500 for a 4’ × 8’ machine
The FurnLab open source machine will be capable of producing professional-grade products, so get your design hats on and start thinking up all the possibilities.
Jeffrey Matthias, an industrial designer with a mechanics background, originally founded FurnLab in order to "successfully design, produce and sell super awesome furniture." However, he and his colleagues quickly realized that one of the primary tools of the trade cost upwards of $48,000.
We were disheartened to find that not only could we not justify the cost of even an entry-level system, but neither could we find any DIY plans that would provide us with the professional, full-size, low-cost machine we so desperately needed.
Thus, they decided to get their hands dirty and do it themselves, setting out to "come up with our own plan for building a CNC machine that met our high standards and then share the awesomeness with the rest of our fellow makers."
FurnLab was able to do so at a fraction of the cost, but they're seeking $20,000 (= eight 2’ × 4’ machines, in their pricing model) to "finish our machine's detail work, document our build process, publish complete plans and instructions and provide thank you gifts to our supporters."
Even if you're not in the market for a CNC machine to call your own, it's a worthy cause: become one of those supporters today. (I, for one, am curious as to whether it can be rigged up with a Sharpie...)
This little guy can be yours for just $65!