Open Source 2d Cutter

About: I am an author and a maker. My current project is Santa's Shop. I'm working on a science fiction type book--more later. @EngineerRigsby

Printing objects from computers holds the promise of shifting manufacturing to the corner store--or your garage.  Today's 3d printers and laser cutters are great, but costly.  To speed the implementation of this form of technology, I think a 2d mechanical cutter (similar in function to a laser cutter--but no engraving) could be the interim step that could quickly show up in garages and high schools.

I propose to design and build such a machine, fully documented and open source. I will produce a few kits and a few assembled units--making them available at the 2013 San Mateo Maker Faire.

Estimate for a single kit:

Servos   $50.
Processor  $25.
Cutting Tool  $50.
Power Supply  $25.
Frame/Misc.  $50.

Total  $200.

I'm speculating that the assembled kit would cost $400.


20 kits ($4,000.)
20 assembled  ($8000)

Transportation to Maker Faire with units ($3000)
Laser Cutter and development tools ($10,000)



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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Well, I have just stumbled across your instructable, Mike. Here it is April 2015. How did the kit thing go? Did you get it to the 2013 Maker Faire? Where can I buy one?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    I got involved with 3d printing and never went any farther with this project. You might check out this: These guys produced a machine for around $200. (plus a dremel tool), but never went much farther. I think all the information and files are freely available, so their work could be duplicated. I could use something that would cover 18" x 24", but that's on my "hope to get to it someday" list.

    Mike, how will your kit design differ from a standard "little" CNC router? Mine didn't cost all that much more, in fact. Sounds interesting, please see it through!

    2 replies

    I built a 3 axis machine from scratch, no kit, no drawings... I watched a series of videos showing a man building one on his coffee table in the living room, in his socks :) I followed what he did ( he said nothing!) and I ended up with a working machine after about a week or so. First thing I made was new parts for the machine, making it smoother-running and quieter. I have been using it for almost two years, and have had to shim here and there to keep the bearings tight, vibration causes some nuts to loosen. Overall, it has been a good beginning machine, there is a lot to learn about programming one. All that was new to me. Daniel's excellent website, constantly growing, is at:

    Good luck with yours, please keep me posted!
    Merry Christmas!