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Aug 30, 2016 7:36 PM ET

Archived: Sienci Mill One: Simple and Affordable Desktop CNC Milling – The Sienci Mill One turns your ideas into reality by carving 3D objects from materials like wood, metal, plastic, foam, and PCB.

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 30, 2016

Sienci Mill One: Simple and Affordable Desktop CNC Milling

The Sienci Mill One turns your ideas into reality by carving 3D objects from materials like wood, metal, plastic, foam, and PCB.

About this project

Who we are:

We’re a team of mechanical engineering students from the University of Waterloo who started Sienci Labs to create simple, affordable, and easy to use rapid prototyping tools to empower creative makers around the world.

What we do:

Sienci Labs emerged from research and testing to create low cost mechanical systems for rapid prototyping tools like CNC machines, 3D printers, and laser cutters. Using what we learned, we designed the Sienci Mill One from the ground up to be affordable and easy to use.

Why we do it:

We believe that everyone should have the ability to create amazing things easily and affordably. That’s why we’ve decided to make the Sienci Mill One open source, to allow other makers to take our design and make it better.

We hope that our machine will help the whole spectrum of makers to bridge the gap between what they can imagine and what they can create!

Why Kickstarter:

Building machines and putting together kits for our early customers one by one has been a very expensive and time consuming process for us, so it’s time for us to mass manufacture the Sienci Mill One. We’re coming to Kickstarter to get your early support to help us mount the large capital investments it takes to build hundreds, if not thousands of a new product. Your support is paramount to our success!

What is the Sienci Mill One?

The Sienci Mill One is a 3 axis desktop milling machine that turns your ideas into real objects. It comes as an easy to use, affordable package that focuses on simple design and user experience.

The Sienci Mill One uses a rotating cutting tool like a router or Dremel to robotically cut or engrave a wide variety of materials, leaving you with 2D or a 3D object.

The Sienci Mill One
The Sienci Mill One


What materials can you use?

  • Wood
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • PVC
  • Polycarbonate
  • Acrylic
  • Leather
  • Polystyrene foam
  • Printed circuit boards
  • And more! (nearly any material softer than aluminum)








hardwood and plywood
hardwood and plywood







What spindles can you use?

Small rotary tools like Dremels are great for light duty work and high precision parts. Larger rotary tools like our 1 1/4 HP Makita router is great for chowing down on tougher materials faster. These tools are readily available online and at your local hardware store.

All rewards which don’t include a router will still include a generically sized mount for a personal router or rotary tool.

How fast is it?

Our machine is built with 2 inch wide, 1/4 inch thick aluminum rails and 1/2″ MDF walls, which call for an extremely robust frame. With this, our machine can run through materials soft materials like wood at up to 1/4″ depth of cut at 30 inches per minute, and harder materials like aluminum at up to 1/16″ at 50 inches per minute. Recommended speeds however, are dependent on cutter choice and material hardness.

Here are some of the typical feed rates and depths of cut we use for our machine with a 2 flute 1/8″ end mill.


Feed rate: 800 to 1200mm/min

Depth of cut: 1.5 to 2 mm

6061 Aluminum:   

Feed rate: 800 to 1200mm/min 

Depth of cut: 0.08 to 0.1 mm 

Coolant: water or rubbing alcohol


Feed rate: 500 to 1000mm/min

Depth of cut: 1 to 1.5 mm


Feed rate: 800 to 1200

Depth of cut: 1.5mm to 2mm

How big is it?

Our machine has a work area of approximately 250mm x 200mm x 100mm, and occupies a total volume of approximately 430mm x 430mm x 300mm.

How do you control it?

Our machine contains an Arduino running GRBL firmware, which means, g-code senders likeUniversal G-code Sender and Kiri:Moto’s built in g-code senders will work.


While the Sienci Mill One can handle g-code generated by virtually all modern CAM software, we’ve partnered with Onshape to bring fun, fast, and free CAM and CAD programs to help you draw 3D models and create the code that controls the Sienci Mill One. With CAM programs likeKiri:Moto, both beginner and advanced users can create g-code on their browser in mere minutes.

Some of our other favourite free CAM programs include:

MakerCAM: http://www.makercam.com

Autodesk Fusion 360: http://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/overview



How precise is it?

Under normal use, you can expect tolerances around 0.01″ (0.254 mm) or better. With a properly assembled and calibrated machine using optimal toolpaths, it is possible to achieve tolerances far better.

How is it so inexpensive?

With the Sienci Mill One, we focused heavily on simplification and the use of standardized components. Many of the components used on the Sienci Mill One are used repeatedly throughout the design, lowering manufacturing costs.

We’ve consulted with engineering firms and the community, as well as our industry knowledge, to improve our design and optimize it for manufacturing, ensuring we have the best designs possible

What is “Open Source”?

In a nutshell, open source means anyone, even you, can take our designs and build your own desktop CNC machine freely and without restrictions. We’ll be releasing our designs to the community because we believe this tool is best in the hand of makers. 

With this in mind, we’ve designed our machine to be easily replicated. While we manufacture our machines using expensive, highly complex machines, you can build a Sienci Mill One with basic hand tools and a 3D printer. All of our components are also easy to source and are available around the world.

How long does it take to assemble?

By reducing part count and simplifying our design, we built a machine that is super easy to construct. We estimate that it will take approximately 2 hours for experienced builders and 3 hours for inexperienced builders to construct using hand tools. 

Assembling a Sienci Mill One with a customer
Assembling a Sienci Mill One with a customer



  • Collect initial feedback from beta testers
  • Create documentation
  • Reach/smash goal and prepare work orders and contracts


  • Order hardware components (motors, wiring, control boards, lead screws, etc.)
  • Begin manufacture of packaging materials
  • Begin manufacture of frame, linear rails, and brackets


  • Continue manufacturing the frames, linear rails, and brackets
  • Begin receiving hardware components
  • Begin receiving manufactured components from local manufacturers


  • Start packaging disassembled machine kits
  • Hire help
  • Get applicable reward kits painted


  • Start packaging disassembled, painted machine kits
  • Start assembling remaining kits
  • Ship first batch of kits


  • Continue packaging and assembly of machines 
  • Ship second batch of kits


  • Ship assembled machines


Please note that Kickstarter requires us to use Canadian Dollars in pricing our machines, and pricing for American Dollars may fluctuate depending on the exchange rate. For example a pledge level of $519 CAD is approximately $399 USD at the time of writing.

Each machine will come with a spindle mount. We will provide a universal mounting solution or keep in touch with our backers to provide the correct mount for each router or rotary tool. We recommend not using tools heavier than 4lbs (1.8kg) and with diameters larger than 75mm.

Our mounts are easily 3D printable, and STL files for a variety of sizes will be provided as well.

Support open source rapid prototyping:

Supporting us at this level helps us continue developing open source hardware. We have plans for larger CNC machines and 3D printers in the works, and your pledge helps us with the research and development of these tools!

A special thanks goes out to the Government of Ontario and the University of Waterloo for funding our idea when we started the company, allowing us to reach where we are today.


This reward is for our supporters who jump on early to support our Kickstarter! This package has everything you need to build a Sienci Mill One. 

Sienci Mill One – Kit

This reward comes with everything you need to build a Sienci Mill One. This kit does not come with a spindle and you will need to provide your own. 

Sienci Mill One – Black Kit

This reward is identical to the Sienci Mill One – Kit, but comes with a black finish.

Sienci Mill One – Kit with Spindle

This reward comes with everything you need to build a Sienci Mill One, along with a 1 1/4HP Makita Router (or equivalent). This kit comes with a set of bits and other hardware to get you milling right away.

Sienci Mill One – Black Kit with Spindle

Identical to the Sienci Mill One – Kit with Spindle, but this reward comes with a black finish.

Sienci Mill One – Assembled

This reward is a fully assembled and tested Sienci Mill One.

Sienci Mill One – Black Assembled

Identical to the Sienci Mill One – Assembled, but this reward comes with a black finish.

Sienci Mill One – Assembled with Spindle

This reward comes with a fully assembled Sienci Mill One as well as a 1 1/4HP Makita Router (or equivalent). 

Sienci Mill One – Black Assembled with Spindle

Identical to the Sienci Mill One – Assembled with Spindle, but this reward comes with a black finish.

Want to buy a fleet of machines? Contact us at hi@sienci.com for more information.

Risks and challenges

On Shipping:

Things in the supply chain are never perfect. We’ve developed relationships with both local and overseas suppliers and manufacturers so that we have a clear idea on what to expect once we start ordering components. To take things one step further, we’ve sold and assembled the kits to early adopters in Ontario using parts from our suppliers. This helped us give a better sense of the time, costs, and effort it takes to put together each kit and machine.

On Performance:

Over the last few months, we have had a wide variety of users from fellow students to companies with varying levels of experience with CNC milling to use the Sienci Mill One. At our price point, we are unable to create machines that are as fast, accurate, or powerful as industrial machines that cost tens of thousands of dollars, but we are able to create machines which are suitable for the typical hobbyist or maker. Over eight iterations of our design, we’ve continuously improved our product to be better and more affordable to our customers, and we plan to continue our development using the feedback provided by our customers and the community. We encourage our customers to upgrade and improve their machines to reach the performance characteristics they are looking for.

Want to learn more about our progress, struggles, and other news? Read our blog athttp://sienci.com/blog/

Contact Information:

Sienci Labs

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