Before starting off, I would like to emphasize what an amazing project/idea the MPCNC is! I find it so cool how versatile, inexpensive, open-source, and beautifully designed the machine is! I actually had the chance to interview Ryan Zellars (founder of V1 Engineering) for a school project, and really enjoyed hearing about Ryan’s early business adventures/projects, his idea for an affordable CNC machine, and all of the hard work he is putting into the company! Thank you, Ryan, and the whole V1 Engineering community for developing the MPCNC and pushing it to meet countless ambitious tasks (eg. steel/aluminum milling)! And Ryan, I hope you are finding some more time to innovate on your amazing projects ; ).
I originally came across the MPCNC because I wanted to be able to cut foam board for Flite Test remote-controlled airplanes I enjoy building and modifying. This appealed to me since I wanted to: 1) be able to quickly, and precisely make a new airplane when mine break and 2) be able to precisely modify airplane designs (in Rhino) and cut them out on-demand (no more waiting for shipping). Although I originally was going to purchase a laser cutter, I settled on the MPCNC because the laser cutter had multiple safety concerns (toxic fumes, radiation), and the CNC is much more versatile and inexpensive. I purchased parts from V1 Engineering (I settled on a 20" x 30" print area) and following the great instructions, the build went together fairly smoothly (at least compared to other projects).
I’ve since got the machine hooked up with Repetier Host, and Estlcam, and have done multiple projects, including milling motor mounts for my airplanes out of wood using the router, cutting paper for dodecahedron light fixtures using the drag knife, and of course, cutting remote-controlled airplane plans out for foamboard.
Conveniently, Flite Test includes PDF files of all their designs so, guided by this great video I was able to convert the designs to DXF and then import into Estlcam to set the cut paths. I’m excited that I can now modify the designs in CAD. I also remixed an MPCNC needle cutter design on Thingiverse to have an improved flywheel, compatibility with my DC motor, and the ability to mount to the new MPCNC (my Thingiverse post here). My cuts have gone very well, but I’ve had some issues getting the needle to go all the way through the material due to the plywood under my printer being slightly warped.
My experience so far has been really exciting, and going forward I am planning to delve into 2.5D milling as well as add dual end-stops and maybe a 2.5w laser to my machine. The CNC has opened up so many possibilities and I’m excited to now be able to say that I have a full-fledged CNC machine at home.
Go V1 Engineering and thank you, everyone!
Needle cutter in action video.