What do you get when a machinist marries a mechanical engineer? If you're Matt (the machinist) and Michelle (the mechanical engineer) Hertel, you get what may be the world's first desktop-sized 5-axis CNC mill, and is certainly the world's most affordable at just $3,300.
The Montana-based couple spent four years developing the device, picking up some help along the way: Another machinist named Gary and a software guru named Duane (sorry, no last names available). Here is the result of their collaboration, dubbed the Pocket NC:
Now for the bad news: The darn thing sold out after just one week on Kickstarter. As the Hertels explain,
We are SO excited about the machines sold and ready to head into production. So ready, that today we took delivery of about 1000 pounds of aluminum so that we can get to making chips on some of your frames.
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For those of you wondering if we will be adding more machines to the campaign, the answer is that we don't plan to. The number we limited the campaign to is based on the manufacturing plan that we have developed and our capacity to grow over the coming months. While it kills us to not sell as many machines as we can through the campaign, we want to make sure that we are well equipped to follow through with the delivery dates that we have set.
That I can respect. And not to worry, as the Hertels plan to eventually launch pre-orders for the next batch. To get onto their notification list, click here and enter your e-mail address.
Of course, if you just can't wait and are dying for a Pocket NC from the first batch, there is a long shot you can look into: "Another option," the couple writes, "is to watch over the next few weeks to see if another backer cancels their pledge." While $3,300 is small potatoes for a 5-axis machine, it's not chump change; so if one of the pledgers gets cold feet, that could be your gain.