While CNC machining and 3D printing may seem to be the opposite of each other – one removes material, the other adds material – the two technologies complement each other well, as the growing number of CNC mill/3D printer hybrid machines demonstrates. In fact, one might even say that the two technologies make each other. Literally. That’s certainly the case with the OX, a new open source CNC router from UK company Ooznest.
Ooznest was founded in 2013 by Cambridge University engineering student Ryan Lock. The company, which has grown significantly since Lock’s graduation, began as an open source 3D printer business, but has expanded into other areas of maker technology, including CNC milling. The OX was based on a CNC machine developed by Mark Carew of Ooznest’s US partner OpenBuilds, and includes several new modifications – including multiple 3D printed parts.
“On the kit we 3D print the PSU cover, controller mount, controller fan mount, and all the mounts for the drag chain system,” Lock told 3DPrint.com. “We make all the parts from PLA on our Prusa i3’s, which we also have a kit for. We chose to print the parts because it is minimal investment upfront for us, and as we get feedback from customers we can quickly alter the parts if needed.”
Ooznest describes the OX as an excellent starter kit for newbies to CNC machining, although it’s also well-suited to professional users. Featuring a V-Slot extrusion system and 30 Xtreme Solid V Wheels, the machine offers smooth, accurate linear motion and durable performance. All three axes are driven by NEMA23 stepper motors, with GT3 belt motion on the X and Y axes and an ACME lead screw driven system on the Z axis.
The OX, which is capable of working with wood, plastic and aluminum materials, is now available online, sold in kit form in six different sizes ranging from 500 x 750 mm (£969) to 1500 x 1500 mm (£1202.50). As an open source machine, it can also be purchased as a basic mechanical kit for £570, for users who want to build and customize their own machine with the electronics and motors of their choice. Multiple add-on kits are also available.
Ooznest began with a focus on RepRap 3D printers, particularly Prusa i3. The open source movement has always been a huge part of the 3D printing culture – and maker culture in general – and it can be given a lot of credit for the rapid advancement in 3D printing technology. Some of the best ideas come from the maker community, and CNC enthusiasts are no exception. While the Ooznest OX builds on Carew’s design, his machine was based on the OpenBuilds Routy, which in turn was based on the Shapeoko CNC router.
Lock commented to us about how 3D printing and CNC machining technology are “maturing side by side,” and it’s really true – partly due to communities like RepRap and OpenBuilds. While CNC routing and 3D printing may differ, their fans have a lot in common, including plenty of creativity and desire to innovate and advance. It’s no surprise that the two technologies seem to be bleeding into each other more and more. What are your thoughts on this topic? Let’s discuss over in the CNC & 3D Printing forum over at 3DPB.com.