To the uninitiated, a CNC mill might sound like a complicated, intimidating and excessively expensive machine to own and operate. And that might have been true twenty years ago. But now we live in an age where the prices are coming down and the interfaces are becoming ever-easier to use—something like what the original Mac did for desktop publishing. So if you're an independent designer or small business owner looking to prototype or produce your own stuff, now is the time to look into a CNC mill. And we're excited to bring you this new series on how to use one.
With regular video updates, we'll walk you through a basic but powerful 3-axis machine and show you everything you need to know in order to operate one, starting with a group of introductory videos and then diving into a step-by-step project. And in order to be as inclusive as possible, we've opted to take a "...For Dummies" approach—so whether you're a traditional shop vet or have never used a power tool in your life, we believe that you, too can use a CNC mill by understanding certain principles and systematically learning to use some basic software.
The first question you would-be CNC millers might have is, which machine should I look at? There are several different affordable desktop CNC mills on the market, and we decided to go with ShopBot, for a variety of important reasons: