3D Printing / Digital Fabrication

Seems it broke rather than was deleted; the licence conversation is still available. That some did choose to claim “deleted!” so easily does suggest a degree of induced drama, unfortunately.

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In terms of construction i would say absolutely. I like to use HDPE, a kind of polyethylene plastic that is forgiving and easy to mill. It is the same material used in the Lore Mill Double Knot. With something like the Cyclone you could also use FR1 circuit board material, or acrylic. Acrylic kind of turns me off as it’s very brittle for enclosures and can crack easily around edges

Lasers have an advantage for detail, so engraved or burned details will look much better. But in my work experience they require more tuning, and for pretty much any cutting you are looking at a large powerful laser. 10w laser kits availiable on Aliexpress, you could maybe cut 2mm-3mm sheets of plywood. Again eye protection, and fumes must be considered.


I had the same internal debate re: laser vs cnc. In the end I went with a cnc machine as it was more capable/adaptable to the stuff I wanted to be able to do with it.

I looked at a lot of budget machines, but as I was coming into digital fab fresh (no real laser or 3d print experience) I wanted to rule out variables and have the benefit of an active community for troubleshooting. I also compared xcarve vs shapeoko and ended up with a Shapeoko3 XL due to my perception of increased rigidity. It has been very capable so far (woods and plastics) and I am very happy with it. Hoping to start into machining aluminum soon… :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Happy to (try to) answer any questions anyone has.


Ventilation is a big factor for laser cutting. Even with wood products - MDF contains formaldehyde for example. When I cut acrylic at my local Hackerspace, the material also holds onto the “burnt plastic” smell for days.

Outside or a garage with some active exhaust vents and/or forced-air/fans would probably be ok.

Being aware of materials composition is also a really good idea - not cutting PVC for example as it generates chlorine fumes.

Other considerations for home lasering - power (what materials can you cut through) and bed size (what’s the largest piece of material you can use).


Another open-source option is the Sienci Mill-One. I would love to build one of these if I had the space to house it. I have a half built MPCNC, that I need to get around to finishing.

This will be harder with a cnc due to the inside corner problem. There are ways around it with overcuts and dogbones, but I’m not really into the look or dust-opening aspects of that. With the shapeoko (maybe others?) these is overhang cutting area on the front of the machine so you could put a workpiece vertical and create flush interlocking teeth. I’ve tried to get around it by either cutting I/O into pre-made enclosures, carving away solid blocks of wood, or using mixed materials. Here’s an acrylic and wood enclosure I made for my MidiAlf which sort of shows how it goes together:

Wood base slots into the side panels. Acrylic top was carved into where I wanted bends and then used a heat gun to allow me to form the corners. Pretty happy with it.


You should be! It looks great. I tried to bend acrylic recently and it did not go well — that’s a good idea to carve notches where you want bends (to reduce the stress of the bending)

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Hey thanks! :slight_smile:

It also let me get a tighter bend with less distortion since there isn’t as much material in the way. It does sacrifice some strength along the edge, but since I don’t travel with it much it’s fine for me.

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It’s hard to quantify if the lack of ‘quality’ comes from the machine design itself, or my complete inexperience with milling.
I had a few months with a bit of free time, and I thought it would be a great project. By the time I’d researched, bought parts and built the machine that free time was up, and I was left with a machine that couldn’t achieve the CNC feed rates that I read were possible, and little free time to diagnose the issue.
I haven’t had an opportunity to revisit it in 6+ months. The main issue I was having was that after several hours of cuts, the 3D printed parts that hold the spindle to the gantry would start to delaminate and come apart. I couldn’t find any mention of this issue online, so it’s possible I was not running the spindle at optimal RPM, using subpar router bits, pluging too deep per pass, moving too quickly through the material, using crap PLA for the prints, not slicing the prints correctly etc.

I learnt that CNC milling requires a lot of knowledge to do safely and reliably, and it’s knowledge I don’t quite have yet. I have some better quality PLA now to build some stronger splindle brackets, I’m hoping over christmas holidays ill have time to revisit it.

The thing that attracted me to the MPCNC was the ability to change out the tool. You can run it as a router, 3D printer, laser cutter or plotter. I have a cheap 5W laser, which I regret buying. It can engrave well, but its takes far too many passes to get through acrylic or thin ply. If you’re looking to cut with a diode laser, I feel like you need to pay good money to get something well tested: https://jtechphotonics.com/?product=3-8w-laser-and-2-5amp-safety-compliant-driver-kit

The flexibility to do this sort of thing is what attracted me to the MPCNC


The MPCNC is a great machine! I am in the process of building one, but having worked with other CNC’s I appreciate the potential of it. I think the Thomas Sanladerer video was a bit of a hit piece to be honest. Copyright issues aside. To brush it off for “rigidity problems” and difficulty of sourcing electric conduit is a bit disingenuous. There’s also a huge community around it on Thingiverse and GrabCAD, so the machine is a kind of living eco-system always improving


I’ve been reading a bit more about this and I think the water is a little murky. Apparently Tom Sanladerer was using the hash tag #OPCNC, claiming he was going to redesign a full set of MPCNC compatible parts, and presumably re-release them under a different licence that would render the original non-commercial license useless: https://mobile.twitter.com/JasonSaysStuph/status/1170018188723048454


Isn’t it a good thing though? Particularly since he initial released them as completely open source, meaning that they could have been incorporated back into the project completely.

Maybe there’s some confusion as to how I’m understanding this. It was my impression that the creator of MPCNC released their design using an CC non-commercial licence – specifically so that people couldn’t profit from the sale of kits etc. Then Tom Sanladerer comes along and threatens to copy every part of the design, all the while giving these parts a different licence that allows for commercial use. This would essentially side-step the original licence, and I can see how that would rub the original author the wrong way.

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I guess it’s all in the framing. And I only know Tom’s stuff a bit, and don’t know Ryan at all, so I have little to base it on other than watching the original video (which, granted, tells Tom’s side of the story).

But to me I read it as someone iterating/adding/improving on an existing design, and releasing that under a less encumbered license. Which, in my opinion, would presumably be better for the overall advancement of the project.

I would be in 100% agreement if he did what he did, and then released it with an equally or more encumbered license, which then actually side-steps the original project (potentially commercially or otherwise).

I hesitated to even comment on it as I don’t want to flame any drama or anything like that, but it’s hard for me to understand someone creating/releasing an open source (ish) project and then getting upset if people create completely different parts that are compatible with it.

This would go against the license (if I understand all this properly).

If the person made a completely new thing - not based on the previous work - and released under a less encumbered license, then that would be fine.


I don’t necessarily agree with his decision – he may have shot himself in the foot – but I understand it. From what I read the original licence is “share alike” requiring copies or adaptations of the work to be released under the same or similar licence as the original. I also don’t think the issue is with a single part, it’s more the threat of copying every part. And even that he could have done if he used the same non-commercial license.

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From what I’ve read (and understand) the terms copies, adaptations, and specifically derivatives have specific, and narrowly defined definitions in the context of copyright and licensing that do not apply to this specific situation. (an example I read was replacement brake disks: they may fit existing Ford cards because of dimensions/etc… but anyone can make them because the dimensions and such are not copyrighted, only the wholistic design).

So, again, in my understanding, this would only apply if Tom took one of the existing design files and modified it, whereas in this case he didn’t. He designed a ‘from scratch’ part which serves a similar function in the overall design (not in a legal sense). Hence being completely legal.

For his part, when Ryan objected, he took it down and complied with his wishes, although not legally required to do so.

I kind of view this like a parody/fair use -type thing, where an artist may express desire for someone not to do that, but it is actually not up to them (in a legal sense of the term). Then again, I’m not a lawyer.

Sure, I see both sides. But Tom also implied he was going to copy every single part…!

Edit: also going with the brakes analogy, wouldn’t that imply that the brake pads could fit more than one model of car? So they are in a sense generic. The part Tom made will only fit the MPCNC. The creator wanted this to be a non-commercial project. Tom’s licence threatens that.

In the car example, it’s actually what you thought. Like the specific brake pad for a specific car, that literally only works on that model car. That is perfectly legal and not covered by copyright. Because even though specifics of the design would conform to the design of the original (OEM) part, it is a unique and non-derivative design (again, in a legal sense).

So in that sense, the term copy isn’t really accurate, more like recreate (at minimum), or improve (at maximum).

Either way, it’s not terribly important, particularly as I agree with you in spirit.

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Let us know how your MPCNC build turns out. I’m kind of on the fence about building one or maybe saving up for a long mill (which is supposed to be open source)