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ShapeOko is a dead simple Open-Source desktop CNC machine with an estimate build price of about $300. Get into CNC without going broke! Read more

pledged of $1,500 goal
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This project was successfully funded on July 26, 2011.

ShapeOko is a dead simple Open-Source desktop CNC machine with an estimate build price of about $300. Get into CNC without going broke!

About this project

Update #3: To accommodate the requests, we upped the number of full kits from 10 to infinity!

Update #2.1: To accommodate the requests, we upped the number of full kits available from 5 to 10.

Update #2: We added another donation level! For $200 you now get everything from the $100 level + stepper motors and a power supply! That's a *full* electronics kit!

Update: We are sold out of the $50 Personal Factory making vouchers from Ponoko! Now if you donate $50, your reward will be a $25 voucher.

Ayo! If you're looking at this project, you probably think a low cost simple desktop CNC machine is as cool as we do. Sweet. It's always nice to meet like minded people! 

Have a look around the DIY CNC scene and you will notice the lack of simple, low cost, straight forward build options. We want to fix that. For the last four years we have been designing, redesigning, and building what we hope to be a CNC machine that anyone can build for about $300. Did I mention that cost even includes the electronics to run the machine? Unlike other projects where you're shelling out $1,000 for just the frame and maybe motors, shapeOko includes everything you will need to turn your ideas from just a crazy thought into a tangible item. 

If nothing else, this project is open. Nobody wants to get locked into some proprietary  platform, and nobody wants to spend their money on a machine just to learn they will need to spend another $500 on software to run it. With that in mind, we built the entire process around open source components. From CAD and CAM software to the CNC controller; every step has an open source solution. Did we mention the entire project itself is open source? Every nut, every bolt, every belt, fully documented with part numbers and vendor list. Do with it as you please!

What makes this different? One of the frustrations we had with other designs was the fact that you had to visit a lot of different vendors in order to get all the pieces. We didn't like that. Plus, some projects didn't have a central "released" build, which made it difficult to determine if what you were building was actually what you were expecting to build. All of that resulted in a design process built using constraints: 1 standard design with a $300 total cost using a maximum of 3 vendors.

So far, our constraints have treated us well. We are close to the $300 goal and as of right now, thanks to Ponoko's Personal Factory, we are hoping to only need to visit 2 vendors: Ponoko and your local hardware store.

What's the goal? We are not looking for funding to make a bulk purchase, build kits and then sell them back to you at marked up prices. Nor are we trying to raise money to buy our own laser cutter. That's not really our style. Instead, our goal is to finish the design, make it repeatable, and then freely distribute it under an open source license for everyone to enjoy. 

So what's the money for? In order to complete the project and make it repeatable, we need to purchase new materials, pay for laser cutting time, test 3 new designs, and tidy up the final iteration. The funding will also allow us to explore alternative designs which could drive the final build cost even lower than the $300 goal.

More Details: Right now we have 3 designs that we will be building. All of them are a typical moving gantry style 3 axis machine, with a target size of around 12x12x8 inches intended to be used with a small spindle or dremel style rotary tool. However, each uses a different set of rails, components, and all have slightly different linear motion designs. One of those designs will end up being shapeoko v1. All of those design notes and experiences will be available.

As a side note: One of the designs will be incorporating the result of a fellow kickstarter project, and recent success story: MakerSlide!

What about over funding? We will continue to refine the product, and if possible, purchase several full parts orders to sell as a complete package at cost back to the community who funded us. With donors having first dibs on the overfunding funded kits. 

Think of this project as a CNC machine designed for the everyday person. A CNC machine designed for the community! A CNC machine designed to expose as many people as possible to the power of making things! A CNC machine that is both simple enough for anyone to use yet powerful enough to use for real work. A CNC machine you can love? Well, at least a CNC machine that wont break the bank.


  • Good question! It's a two part answer.

    Part 1: The plans are released! You can find them at sourceforge in a nice packaged zip file.
    Part 2: It's expensive and tough to find the right parts! The main problem is in the fact that the linear rails used for the X and Y axis were bought from ebay (LSK model LY15) and the Z axis linear rail is actually a discarded rail from a decommissioned plasma machine (cut down to length of course). To buy those pieces alone would costs more than $300 (unless you can find them used) But relying on finding used parts isn't exactly a repeatable process.

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  • Although when we first started this project, we certainly had dreams of selling kits and turning it into a business, that's no longer the project's goal. We've taken so much from the DIY CNC community that we can't claim any of this as our own. It is simply a compilation of all the machines we have looked at (and tried building!) over the last several years. So to turn around and try to sell those ideas just doesn't seem right. I'm sure some people will disagree, but hey, it's our project so we get to make the rules.

    If you really want a kit, they are available through the $500 donation level :)

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  • If you live outside the US, please send me a message with your country so we can give you an estimate on shipping surcharges.

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  • You may be saying "I want to get my open source on! Where can I find the information?" Everything will be available on the shapeoko website after the kickstarter project ends. Project notes, drawings, parts lists, vendor lists, and user manual.

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

    That particular CC license means that you can share it, give it out to others and transmit it in any way shape or form. It also means that you can modify the design to suite your needs.

    This particular license even means that you can make a commercial product out of it if you'd like! The catch: you have to give credit back to the original designer *and* the resulting work has to be released with the same (or similiar) license.

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  • Here's a playlist of all the shapeoko related youtube videos:…

    Here is the Shapeoko Collection on Flickr:

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  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    11 backers

    You just donated to an awesome project. Thank you! Seriously, thank you.

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    57 backers

    You just donated to an awesome project. Thank you! Seriously, thank you.

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    10 backers All gone!

    You just donated to an awesome project. Plus, you're going to get a $50 Personal Factory making voucher to turn your ideas into real things!

    Maybe you can use it to cut the frame for your own ShapeOko? That is of course If you don't win the drawing. Thank you and good luck and enjoy the maker's certificate!

  • You selected
    Pledge $50 or more

    11 backers

    You just donated to an awesome project. Thank You!. Plus, you're going to receive a $25 Personal Factory making voucher from Ponoko to turn your ideas into real things! Maybe you can use it to cut the frame for your own ShapeOko? Thanks again, and enjoy the making voucher!

  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    13 backers Limited (7 left of 20)

    This donation level gets you 3 stepper motor drivers -AND- an Arduino pre-loaded with the latest stable version of GRBL, the greatest open source CNC controller in the world.

  • You selected
    Pledge $200 or more

    5 backers

    You'll receive a complete electronics package: 1 Arduino (or compatible), 3 stepper motor drivers, 3 stepper motors, and a power supply to run it all! Plus, you can sleep well knowing that you're awesome! Thank you!

  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    14 backers

    You just bought yourself a full shapeoko mill! Hardware, electronics, frame, even a rotary tool! It's all yours! Thank you!

Funding period

- (30 days)