What's a CNC router?
CNC stands for ‘Computer Numerical Control’, meaning that a CNC router is basically a computer-controlled, robotic carving tool that’s driven by precision motors.
This means that you can put any piece of material you’d like into a CNC router and end up with a cut-down object made of that material; whether it’s a sign, a gear, a circuit board, or a 3D scan of your face.
Are they noisy/ dusty?
Operating any CNC router comes along with some noise. This noise mainly comes from the router when it’s turned on, as well as the noise made when cutting different materials. When cutting through softer materials the router can run slower, making it quiet enough to have a conversation next to it.
You might also think that dust and material debris would be a large issue, however solutions like partial or full enclosures or attachable dust shoes are surprisingly effective at capturing more than 90% of particles that come off the material when cutting. If you want to keep dust and noise to a minimum, placing your CNC router in another room or in a garage is still recommended though.
What's so different about our machines?
Our CNC routers are open-source projects, made FOR makers BY makers. Many people have never had access to CNC routers before because of all the barriers to entry that currently exist with the technology. They’re usually expensive, difficult to build, and complicated to use. We aim to eliminate these barriers.
By prioritizing simple design and the use of standardized materials and parts, we can create high calibre machines at lower price-points. Less parts also means less assembly time, minimized points of failure, and easier maintenance.
Open sourcing also means that we’ve released our machines to the world to put the power back into the hands of the CNC community. We hope that having the choice to either access our plans and make your own machine, or purchase one from us, will bring more accessible machines to the market for everyone to enjoy!
What do I need to run one?
Our machines are made to be very easy to set up and use. Other than buying the kit, you will need to purchase a router (unless you purchase a kit with a router) and that’s it! Any computer can be used to control the CNC during its operation, and the software required to run them is free and easy to download. As long as you have the few simple tools required to assemble the kits, then you can get cutting in no time!
What software can I use on my machine?
The LongMill and Mill One are compatible with dozens of free and paid CAM software; they use standard G-code. See a list of tested CAM software here (https://sienci.com/longmill/software/). We’ve hosted webinars and created additional resource videos to help you learn to design and program your CNC machine that are easy to find on our YouTube channel.
Are there any minimum system requirements for the computer that controls the CNC?
You can run your machine off virtually any modern laptop made in the last 5 years running Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.
We’ve tested our machine with Intel Celeron and AMD Phenom processors with less than 2GB of RAM with no issues (although it is a bit slow).
For any other downloadable CAD or CAM programs that don’t run on the cloud, please check with the software creator for minimum system requirements.
Where can I buy end mills and other tooling?
End mills and bits are available on sale on our website as well as online such as Amazon and Ebay, or at your local hardware store such as Home Depot or Lee Valley.
Other frequently asked questions regarding our machines and other products can be found on our main site at:
More specific information can be found in our resources for the LongMill, gSender, LaserBeam, Mill One, and others: