Moving the business forward

Allright well, there’s more than a dozen makerspaces and hackerspaces in the SF bay area within an hour from your location. I have been a member of Sudo Room in Oakland for more than 12 years and am affiliated with a number of other makerspaces in the SF Bay area as well as many in Massachusetts where I have a workshop setup with several V1 machines. My west coast digs are located in San Rafael and of all things I met the founder of Autodesk at a makerspace that he runs in Marin county.

It would be great fun to deploy a portable lowrider 3 at one or more makerspaces and run through a couple of demo projects while making videos. I am totally down for this and I think there are number of other participants in the V1 forum who are located in the SF Bay area and would most likely wish to participate.


Something that hasn’t been mentioned is accessories. I am thinking of a bitsetter or joystick, and software is the hard part, but let’s set that aside for a minute.

The margins can be high on accessories since they are optional, and I am also thinking even if you never sell a single one, it can still improve the value of the base model because it is expandable. That’s worth something.

You could even buy a 4th axis from china, mark it up 100% and resell it, and the benefit is not primarily from the revenue, rather the machine is officially a 4-axis capable machine. (Which it is already, but it can’t be listed in the glossy brochure if the customer has to do 100% of it from scratch.)

The real cost is the labor in the software and documentation so customers get a reasonable experience that’s on par with the difficulty of the rest of the system. Whether that cost/benefit can be made to work, I don’t know.


If there was a package that was a 4-axis, a 2.5-w engraving laser, an easily connected wiring hookup, and a download link to some decent laser software, I’d drop $200 on it. I’m not even kidding.

For a joystick- easily $75.

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Now we are talking. The two nearest me closed, Livermore and Modesto, but you are right there are several in the Oakland Berkley area north and south as well. I just looked at a few. This could get interesting. Thank you. I might need your help getting something together.

Making one of your joysticks a project could be a good one. Gather up some of the parts as a kit and some sort of CNC / printed box to house it in. Although esp3d makes this pretty easy from any touch screen, laptop, tablet, phone, one of the reasons I have been leaning this way so hard.
That said milling a one sided pcb to mount some buttons and a thumbstick would be pretty slick.

I have not done anything with a rotary axis, A quick search isn’t showing anything super promising but Neil wants one so that is two votes. I guess I should look into this a bit more.

More showcasing what can be done, bare minimum add a few good write-ups for these things.


Okay I just order a joystick (well a couple to check them out). That and one of the axis wires should be all I need if I can use the top button for enable.


Like the idea of Accessories, performance upgrades beyond stock build (e.g. approved feedback steppers), differentiating Product SKUs, and consumables.

Can labor cost actually be an opportunity for Ryan to scale?

Customer’s labor has a value/opportunity-cost to them, especially if they need these machines built (and maintained…) to run their business. Is there a market opportunity there? How many hobbyists/business-owners like the MPCNC/LR3 features and performance, but don’t have time/interest in fully building, or partially building a machine? Do a significant number of Customers just want a fully built, or just want a MBMPCNC “mostly built mostly printed cnc” ?

Curious, because a friend of mine bought a V1E MPCNC kit ~18 months ago, it’s still boxed afaik. I printed ~half the parts for him, but he’s been understandably too busy with work and a young family. Offered to have a joint build session if/when he interested/available. Guessing a mostly built, or fully built CNC in his house would actually get utilized. Is this a familiar story?

Guessing one option Ryan’s considered/considering is to earn a per build royalty/license fee and/or % from authorized builders? Ryan could work with dedicated capable factory in USA and/or other countries. And/or partner with fully committed folks (“V1E Partners”) to do small scale test of this approach.

Example scenario:

  • Customer visits V1E Shop, they buy a partially built, or full built ‘kit’. Customer also selects a preferred V1E Partner Maker (based on locality and/or reviews).
  • V1E Partner starts communicating with the Customer. Confirming details, clarifying dimensions, job scope and setting schedule/quality expectations. Similar process to fiverr, you could even use fiverr’s workflow/tooling but would be subject to fees. However, using this forum, or something similar, would avoid those fees, and provide a fully transparent trail that would help mitigate/resolve conflicts, building trust and reputation between all involved parties.
    • Enhancements/upgrades beyond stock are offered/negotiated between Customer and Partner at this Stage (prepaid before build?).
  • Builds are tracked in a way that’s transparent/trackable/auditable for Ryan.
  • Funds to cover parts cost are released (by V1E Ryan/employee) to V1E Partner when they start building.
  • V1E Partner starts build, sharing progress on pre-agreed schedule.
  • V1E Partner shares their build pics/video, packages and send build to Customer.
  • Funds covering labor cost (fixed rate for stock build, pre agreed between V1E and Partner) are released to V1E Partner after Customer acknowledges receiving their machine.
  • Local V1E ambassador helps with initial setup/maintenance. Customers can optionally pay for Support/Extended service contract, Ryan gets a fair cut here too, as with any commercial franchise model.

Details are tricky, but maybe you could end up with a open model that scales V1E without having to do everything.

V1E Partner maker would be help support Customers initial ramp-up. V1E Partner would be aligned with ensuring Customer Experience and Usage docs, videos, FAQs are effective to help minimize Customers getting blocked/hampered by the same issues. Everyone’s aligned to help influence delighted Customers further evangelize V1E to future Customers.

I don’t know how to fully mitigate people abusing trust and making side deals. No idea how to do that for any project with a public hardware and software designs. Am hoping the majority have enough integrity that something along these lines could help grow V1E’s impact.

Guessing there’s more holes in this plan than a Repeat V2 Z stop, well almost. Cheers!


I have not actually had many, if any requests for fully built machines. I could very easily work with people to build and sell them. I just always considered them so non-standard that didn’t ever occur to me.

I had one international company selling kits, and I think they were gearing up to do some assembly but they stopped for some reason. I have not heard from them.

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After you look at the legality of this and provide a waiver for submitted videos a leader board on a couple categories would be great. In the military there are several areas we compete within each unit and then across units then eschelons above.

So, with that tidbit of a vision, start off identifying the categories; speed, materials cut, accuracy, depth, etc. Then begin the entry system.

Following the prototype/crawl phase of submissions, then it’s time to throw the gauntlet toward a competitor or a benchmark forum, maybe in a forum that is not under a specific machine but more a maker’s generic forum to get the competition sizzling! An xCarve, avidCNC, or a vCarve acolyte will pop up and take up the challenge.


I think this is a great idea too! Places like Thingiverse and Prusa Prints hold these all the time. You might need to do some outreach at places like Facebook or Reddit to get more participants and new eyeballs though.


That was me, and I am afraid to admit, will be me when I start the upgrade to LR3. I had the Prusa assembly as my learning curve, and from that process I greatly appreciated the printed manual and links to the “read me” bits online. I might be way out of touch with the real world on that, but I think that the rather large job of converting the online instructions to a hard copy PDF would give you another product as well. Years of collaboration with a friend who designs small boats for a living has shown me that there are a lot of people for whom the “dream” is more important than the end. Many boat plans are sold that are never built,

A printed manual could serve the same purpose as a department store catalogue in a way. Use a print on demand service with direct delivery so there’s no capital investment and that thing will be hanging round every living room for years to come - and get shared around after the project is finished.

Ahh yes, well here I am (still). I suspect I am atypical of the mob round here, but whether you realise it or not, you @jeffeb3 and the mob around here have taught me all I know about CAD. I could not draw a line when I joined this group, just as I have not yet attempted to sort out CAM - but it’s coming and I have faith that your endless patience will once again prevail!

Is there room for a basic printed “how to”, perhaps an expansion of the web version to be sold as per above? Print on demand allows infinite updates too.


I’m only new here and haven’t even built my lowrider yet, but I had a few thoughts:

  • I wouldn’t even of known you existed if it wasn’t for a short series I watched on Teaching Tech youtube channel 12 months ago. I have a couple of 3D printers and never had any intention of a CNC router, but saw the series and thought “that’s cool, that’s cheap enough, that could be useful” and now I’m acquiring parts. Definitely more exposure so people actually know these exist.

  • Maybe complete partially-assembled kits in a couple of popular sizes, that include 100% of the parts (minus router and table) and wiring all terminated to correct length etc, for people who are less DIY and just want a working example to use.

  • Do you have patreon? The only reason I didn’t order from you is because I’m in Australia, but still keen on supporting the project.

  • Firmware support for more boards. I couldn’t get an SKR Pro when I ordered parts, it seems they are discontinued? I ordered an SKR V1.4 turbo instead. I know I’ll be compiling my own firmware which shouldn’t be an issue for me, but for someone else knowing there’s a bin file ready to go for popular sizes (or firmware ready to compile for other sizes) might be good.
    That being said you probably don’t want to be suppling different boards, or “officially supporting” more than 1 for simplicity.


I was reading through this and something made me think “There’s a video section on the site?”
And there’s one of my videos! Fantastic!

Getting more YouTube content from the community would really help someone starting out. I remember it was pretty limited a couple of years back and I think most people putting a machine together are willing to invest a lot of time watching and rewatching videos to figure out all the issues.
It’s a good confirmation that you made a good choice if you see other people have made the same choice :slightly_smiling_face:
Earlier this year I decided I was going to make 2 things for each project. The thing, whatever it is, and a video of making the thing. If it helps promote v1engineering then that’s even better. Although I may have to upgrade to a Lowrider 3 at some point so I don’t seem like an old fogey.


I have been a lurker here for quite some time. I started my CNC journey with a MASLOW kit (large format) that was a lot of DIY and was still getting figured out. But with that, I started to learn what was capable and what I wanted to do with it, and decided I wanted a table-top CNC machine to be able to do more than what the MASLOW could do. This was one of the first things that I found as I was also just getting into 3D printing (I know, I know…3D printing and woodworking…too many hobbies, never enough time!!).

@vicious1 You have a great thing going here. I am amazed at what you can accomplish in this business world, not to mention this economy. Thank you for what you are doing!

SO…based on time…I decided to get a BobsCNC machine (nothing against Ryan, it was purely a time issue for me…as in I wanted something right now!!). Though the machine I got was about double the cost of a kit I could get from Ryan, it came with everything I needed to get going (minus some software). BobsCNC kits still require quite a bit of assembly, but they have a pretty good step by step, almost “grunt proof” (as we say in the Military) set of build instructions (A huge time suck to put together, I know!). I also have a friend that got an X-carve machine that didn’t know anything about CNC other than he wanted to add that to his woodworking business he was trying to get set up.

I say all that to say in the CNC world, you can have the greatest/most expensive machine, but if you don’t know the CAD/CAM side of it, you won’t be doing a whole lot!

This is the biggest thing that “people” getting into the CNC world don’t understand is also a major factor in getting started. They will need to learn this, and may be part of the “business arena” that can be looked at. “How to video series” for a fee, etc. (though there are plenty out there on the youtubes already).

NOW…I have just vomited a lot there, but I wanted to share some of the background on some of my thoughts here. In operating the 2 machines that I have, and being in the forums/FB Groups for them, I can say that “people” are spending a boat load of money on Higher Priced - “Out of the Box, Ready to Go” CNC machines, and still can’t get them to work. Some of that is in user error in assembly, but a lot of it is not understanding the workflow process that starts with CAD/CAM and creating G-Code (knowing what post processor to use), and then getting it sent to the machine. They are mostly frustrated and give up because they don’t understand and feel they were “misled” in the machine will just work as soon as they put it together. I see a lot of other, much higher priced machines, that just advertise the “advanced” capabilities of the machines, but not the process of how to get there for the absolute beginner.

@vicious1 I think you do a superb job of selling the basic concept of the machine and its capabilities, and the rest of the forum users here, help highlight the “advanced” capabilities. IMHO, you “sell” the basic concept of the minimum of what your machines are capable of and the support for that here in the forums. It is ultimately the user of the machine that needs to have the want and desire to push it further. I think the recommendations of adding content that highlights that, with added user videos of where you can take this machine is a great idea. I offer my own recommendation of adding a section for “So you are new to CNC…” with information that has been posted here in the forums to help potential buyers understand a little more of what they are getting into, and a list of everything that will be needed (I think you have it listed out on the build docs page, but parse it down to the main topics with links to that part of the docs??).

Sorry, I’ve been rambling…I will say I intend to build an MPCNC still, though will be looking to put a laser on it. I have just moved into a new house and still trying to get the garage cleaned out of all the stuff that hasn’t found its proper place inside. Once that is done it will become my shop (a blank slate for me in setup), and when I have the new space, it will be added in. I also have referred a few to the shop for various items (the 1/8" makita collet to be exact). So time will dictate now when that will happen for me, but I am looking forward to the build when I finally get the chance for it. I’ll purchase everything but the tubing, laser, and prints from the shop. (unless of course you go with a prefabbed kit, then I might be tempted to just purchase that as well!!)



I didn’t know about the videos section-
Where is it?


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There are only a couple of videos there. More content in the machine specific galleries. All are in the Media dropdown on the home site.

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lol, been regularly visiting V1E since May and didn’t know there was a video section.

When looking at the page just now I also mistakenly thought there was just 3 videos.

However, the page actually has playlists embedded that links to hundreds of videos. This is way way too subtle. I doubt most people realize there’s effectively ~558 videos available to view from that page.

Consider a more obvious intentionally curated, carousel experience, auto play on load, etc…



Mine must just be the last one added, coincidentally :smile:

I’d almost prefer seeing the playlist as the main section.
Anyway…this is maybe sidetracking the thread

Well Jeff,
I have a lot of printing/graphic arts/graphic design skills, 28 years in printing as a working Production Supervisor, covering when anyone was out. So booklet/literature/technical on that I’d be willing to help.
To help with costs/convenience on shipping…been shipping with the major carriers, LTL freight, etc for years. I ship 26-30 pound packages, usually around $60USD in the USA, $100USD Canada, Europe/Asia about $150USD, all insured and tracked.
On standardized all-in-one-box builds the trick, as Ryan knows when doing the boards, more is actually cheaper per unit, its all about knowing how to do RFQ’s and having suppliers that will give cost breaks. An example I’ll use is Hardwood Lumber…I have 4 sawmills/domestic lumber/exotic lumber suppliers I work with, with that said, when I need lumber, I call and say “I am coming to get 100-200 board feet of lumber, I need it planed to X, and straight lined, what kind of price a board foot can you give me”. Building the relationship with those suppliers for 20+ years, I can usually get lumber for prices that would shock most people here, in the $2-$3 a bd/ft range, any specie. Hardware is a similar thisng, as I use 3 suppliers who give me breaks as well. The hardware for the second machine cost me 2/3 less then buying from V1, “sorry Ryan”, and DOM tube here is remarkably cheap, $5-$7 a foot cut to specified length. I buy the bearing from a wholesaler at $3, for a tube of 8.
Been sourcing and buying as part of my job for years so I smell out deals

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I went there earlier and saw 3 videos

Definitely needs improvement and to put them high visibility.

Some great videos in there!

There is a plug in I could not figure out for the docs so you could more easily print what you wanted. I will look into it. Free is better than paid. I can not include them in my orders they would take up too much room in box. Full kits absolutely fill the box. If I get the plug in working perhaps I can fit s print and send service so it is out of my hands, but still available for those that do not want to print it themselves.

Leaderboards are fine, contests are where I know there are issues. I can dig into it more again.

This could easily be a linked video. That way it stays more up to date. Most programs change pretty fast.

Not only do I not have a printed manual, Most of the instructions are incomplete. It takes so much time to do I do not do it until something gets asked several times. so either the majority understand how to finish, or maybe don’t start because there are not complete instructions. I am not all that excited to rewrite how to stuff for other people’s programs, I would much rather find some good videos I think show it well, perhaps a written set of instructions and link them here and use my time on the hardware.

Trying hard, the world is a big place. I think that is my main focus after reading all this. I do not have an advertising budget to compete with any of the rest. So I am going to rely on performance and reputation to get us over the hump for anyone that looks further into home CNC.

Have you found the assembly to be a big hurdle? The reason I ask it fully assembled or not you will need to know how to tension a belt and maintain and square any machine you buy. Industrial machine require you to buy a maintenance contract. I am not really thinking the rollers or core is all that bad. Or another way to put it, is if I sell them at a bit over 2x the current price mostly assembled, would you still consider it?
As for wire lengths, I rely on economies of scale. I buy the wires 1-3 thousand at a time. I don’t have the capital for several lengths. Folding over the wires and allowing for control board mounting options with different placements is about as good as I can do until they come out with a clamp on termination.

Yes, linked on the donate page. Everyone has their preferred donation methods so I have several to choose from. The best thing you can do for me is spread the word about us in any way possible, if you are not on social media, a positive google review really helps and is worth a lot of money to me.

PS, new site is coming trying to make the whole experience more cohesive so those links should be easier to find.

This is very difficult. We already support a ton of boards. With that pile of boards it is usually a minor firmware edit to get any other board to work. I don’t think any other company supports more than one board. Every update marlin does, could break any of the 37 differnet configurations that are currently supported. So now if I want to do an update there is no way for me to actually test all of them in a reasonable amount of time. So we just push teh update and wait for issues to be reported beyond the 3 setups I run here.

HAHAAHA we love you eve if you run the old fashioned LR2…such a good antique. Don’t make em like they used to…wait, wait…the LR3 is clearly better.

I used to work at a 3D printer company and I watched this all day. I never want to do that to someone. “hey open this box and 3D print parts to fix things around your house and toys your kids will enjoy”, only to see them not understand a first layer. I am not going to lie to a newbie and say it is simple. It just isn’t. Everyone gets hung up on a different aspect of CNCing. So I think here we weed out the people that are discouraged by a few nuts and bolts, and focus on the “using it” side. So it we say you have a loose grub screw on your pulley that is all we need to say and they fix it. These machines need to be maintained, and squared up even if they came fully assembled. Big mills get delivered and installed by a service tech, precision requires a bit of adjustment.

That is a wonderfull idea, and I am making a note. Something before the milling basics page, with a broad overview of the whole process. could be a video as well.

Each of those is a playlist 200 videos long. I update it everytime I hit youtube. new video pushes out the oldest video.

I will look into this. I like it a lot.

I have no issues with that. The internet has provided us all with the resources to self source and save some money. My kits only offer the advantage for known quality parts and time savings of not self sourcing. 7 years ago I would have self sourced and made everything. These days I pay for some things so I can go spend bit more time on the water. So I fully understand and never hold that against anyone (hence no paid or privileged forums for customers).
Oddly enough I would bet some things are more expensive for me. buying one thing from China and in the US you do not get taxed and they typically ship epacket for free. As soon as you buy 1000-10000 you have 28%+ import tax plus shipping.