Biggest flat rate box is 12"x12" not big enough for a small kit. Shoot that and most people build them bigger than suggested. I think almost ever cnc order leaves here with extra belt.
Myself i was just talking for those who do not want to diy. Also what about stocking at amazon/etc? Then they can ship
Just build in some tolerances in something like this. A few extra screws, and a healthy way to ship replacement parts. Healthy as in, both customer and you can be happyish with the fix. You have so much control in your garage that you can be assured that any mistakes were your fault. When you ship from China, their mistakes are your mistakes.
If it made sense you could also have them shipped to you and you could take a peek and then ship them to the US. That would give you a chance to do some QC (in the US anyway) and still have them shipped in a few days.
They take too big of a cut ~10% last I checked, and they tack on stocking fees and an extremely loose return policy. I will not sell with Amazon for the foreseeable future.
I have been thinking about it all day. Probably let them ship most from there, to lower international shipping, and get some shipped here to keep an eye on quality and handle US shipping bundling. Getting to China takes a long time from here so I don’t really want to do that again, I have two people I might be able to contact to make this happen. No sure if it is feasible in the quantities I do but a few emails and I should know.
Just a quick test of this video page. There are not many options to do this sort of thing, this one is $6 a month. I will be tweaking it a bit and moving it around but there are sections that contain each playlist I can set how many to show and at the bottom of each section is a page list.
Seems to take a second for it to load.
The old way is the playlist use to show a sidebar but youtube took that option away.
Those videos get updated anytime I add one to the playlist. Newest to the first in line.
If they are linked to your personal YouTube account, just make everyone watch every video once a month, like and subscribe, and monetize it.
That’s pretty slick. I don’t know how many people would ise it to justify the cost.
Ha when my channel was monetized I think I made a grand total off it $11 in three years. Now I do not meet the requirements.
I am most worried that it takes so long to load. I can make it look a bit better but that lag is pretty bad.
My first channel- about marine aquariums- got $0.78 in 2 years… and this was prior to the lower sub limit they ‘recently’ introduced.
I’m hoping to do a bit better with the new channel, lol
Thoughts on keeping this topic broad and high level’sh, and creating separate topics to do focused deep dive on specific areas you want to push forward on? e.g Moving the business forward > WebSite > Video improvements
I just downloaded CNC plans from Tools Today for a work bench for $19.95. I need to build four of the benches for me. My son in-law wants two. Point is, if you had plans tuned for v1 machines I’d buy them from you, plus whatever bits & bobs I’d need for the job. I find when I’m in the 3D print world everyone expects all the designs and files for free. When I’m in the woodworking world no one expects plans and designs for free. Could be another revenue stream.
So crazy right? You would not believe what some people get made at these days. I could put up a cad file for a table, but I could never charge for it. I will have to put some thought into that. I always just screw my MPCNC to a table, the LR is a bit different. Maybe it is time to do a more complete table.
I’ve always been a maker I just didn’t know it had a name and I finally bought an Ender 3 two years ago and built a Voron 2.4 five months ago, the later being an amazing experience I’m desperate to repeat.
I’ve wanted a CNC machine for many years, but the high cost always put me off. Around the time of the Voron build I discovered the MPCNC, and knew it would only be a matter of time before I built one. After spending a month researching I ordered the kit from Ryan yesterday!
Firstly, amazing job Ryan, huge thank-you to what you are doing here.
Some thoughts from my experience so far;
- I found navigating the websites difficult, and looking for information I read once but not sure where, challenging at times.
- As mentioned by others, videos of what can be made and the quality of results possible hard to find/navigate and feels a little clunky when I do come across them. When I saw the coffee video it was so old I wondered if the project was still alive, maybe do a new one to replace it…?
- The build process, I didn’t find any great build videos maybe I didn’t look hard enough, but should have been an easy find recommended ones from the site. Maybe a build before from the creator MPCNC would drive people to your store wanting to support your efforts.
- I looked at self sourcing, but like with the Voron I wanted a kit to simplify the process, and wanted to support Ryan as much as possible. Hence why my shopping cart with you had a few extras. I’d suggested having a basic kit (for minimalist) and an extended kit with a small discount for buying all the optional extras, or more drop down options in the current kit. Drag chains, voltage selector, drag knife, future joystick controller.
Suggestions from the Voron experience;
- Once you’ve built a Voron, you can upload a video of it finished and printing, then you get a unique Serial number for your machine with an STL to print (would love you too do this in time for me finishing building mine!). This would benefit in a number of ways, show how popular it is, extra video content, sense of ownership from those who made it.
- PDF build manual, if you haven’t already, take a look, it’s beautiful and feels very professional, and that you are building something high quality and special. Yes it would take a lot of effort, but everyone here likes Lego right?
- Tag line, “We build space shuttles with gardening tools so anyone can have a space shuttle of their own.” Come up with one for V1 engineering machines.
Maybe a showcase upload area where only serial holders can upload what they’ve created with their machine? With a up upvote and leader board of the serials with the most upvotes? Once a month you award crew points for the most votes that month?
May have been mentioned already, but a repository for users to upload their designs for beginners to download. Maybe linking with the showcase?
Barriers for Average Joe
I’ve told many friends I have a 3D printer they are interested but I know they wouldn’t have a chance with designing their own parts, and so I don’t recommend they get one.
So maybe building/encouraging a good video landing zone of “what to do next video” library could broaden the clients once they understand, or at least filter out those who shouldn’t. Again, I know this has been somewhat mentioned.
Keep pushing @vicious1!
I suspect my thoughts on this topic will not be the most popular in this group, but please understand that they are offered, not as complaints, but solely as the thoughts from one who has been participating for several years in this community, not without some frustration.
I have now built 4 MPCNC machines: Burly, Primo, LR2 and LR3.
That said, I’ve actually been wondering whether it’s time to “bite the bullet” and just purchase a moderately priced commercial machine ($2-5K) and move on from the limitations that seem to be part of this approach.
I guess there are two main reasons for this: the difficulty of getting sufficient machine accuracy and the software (especially CAM) needed to do the projects I want to do.
My LR2 was never usable, so it evolved into the LR3, which is clearly better, but still leaves ridges on the spoilboard. I had wanted to use the LR3 for slab flattening for moderate size table tops, but it’s not yet capable.
My Burly was able to do some decent work, but the looseness in the gantry meant there was always error. It’s now converted to a laser cutter/engraver and for relatively small items (< 8" x 8") it does ok although I’m having some problem with belt wobble or something.
The Primo remains promising, although gantry slop is again a problem. I’m wondering if I just need to completely reprint all those parts as well as the trucks.
The consistent issue, for me, at least, is the need to tighten things “just enough but not too much”.
But, once one has to contemplate starting over, or mostly starting over, the “build or buy” question is back on the table.
I contrast this experience with my experience with the Prusa MK3S kit assembly. As others have said, the manual is very good and helpful, but, equally important is the fact that it’s just hard to screw it up if you are reasonably careful. The calibration procedures are well thought out and, with the exception of the bed height adjustment for specific filaments, seem to just work. Prior to the Prusa, I had about a year with a different, less robust printer, which definitely helped, but IMO, the success of the Prusa is that it is so stable. Even though it’s nominally open source, it’s completely functional when you get it assembled—you don’t HAVE to change anything.
The other area that is a roadblock for folks is the CAD/CAM issue, as several others have mentioned. In my own case, I’ve used (non-professional) CAD software for over 20 years because of my woodworking hobby, so that was a non-issue.
However, the CAM was a different story. When I looked into commercially available packages back in my Burly days, I found that many didn’t have the ability to deal with Marlin in their post processor. So, I wound up defaulting to EstlCAM. Once it’s set up, it actually works fine for standard 2D cutting and engraving since the Marlin issue is included. For relief carving, it was a much bigger challenge to figure out, but even that became manageable. But, I’m sure that it remains a barrier for many.
So, with all the above rambling as background, here are some thoughts to consider going forward:
- I think that providing “complete kits” is an option that could be useful, but may result in some of the issues others have mentioned, not the least of which is cost. Instead, you could consider 2 or 3 design options, only one of which is fully customizable. For example, a detailed set of specs and parts for a 24" x 24" Primo with dual endstops and z-probe might be one choice. The specs would include not only the necessary hardware, but also the specific wiring harnesses, belts etc, and even a recommended router/spindle. The controller would probably need to be one of a couple of options, with at least one being pretty budget friendly. (I’ve never used the V1 boards for cost reasons) The “kit” could have modules that could include the plastic parts, the hardware, the motors and controller and the electrical stuff… some, or all of the above. You might even be able to find a metal vendor who would pre-fab the tubes in the correct lengths and provide them separately as “MPCNC kits”. (This would be similar to the plastic fabricators who sell plexiglass kits for the Prusa enclosure based on the IKEA “Lack”.) This would be a big help to those Primo builders who don’t have the capability to cut steel tubing themselves.
The other option would be the BYO that would be like the current versions-- fully customizable in every way, understanding that “self-sourcing” is likely.
- The CAM issue needs to be dealt with. Good post processors for the major CAM packages need to be available and just work. And, it must be pretty transparent to the user. They should not need to try to “tweak” some inadequate version themselves, which is what i had to do with my Burly. I tried, but most wouldn’t.
As part of this, a complete tutorial for setting up and using EstlCAM might be useful as an interim solution. It could include a few simple projects that implement cutting, engraving and even relief carving. This would get people over the hump to get started.
Consider GRBL, if the capabilities are adequate (an issue about which I know nothing!) I use a GRBL board for the laser and it seems much more transparent than Marlin. Compare the user interaction with “Lasergrbl” compared to trying to flash the Marlin firmware using PlatformIO. Again, I have no idea of the state of the art, but, my grbl board for the laser includes wifi and a (rudimentary) phone app to control the setup. It can also operate from an SD card, although I’ve not tried that.
If there is any conceivable way to do so, address the “slop” issue during assembly. For me, that has been one of the most frustrating things with these units. Repeated attempts at assembly is just not fun.
There are probably other ideas that could help move the product forward, but this is already far too long. But, here’s an idea from left field…
There are a number of folks who seem to make it part of their YouTube business to review and test CNC and laser products. The quality of their work is somewhat variable, but, if you could get one of them to let you put a completely assembled machine in their shop and have them run it through its paces, you might be surprised at the results. Many of these folks have hundreds of thousands of followers, so, if their impression was positive, the results would be amazing, I expect.
I would suggest that the choice should be an LR3, that is completely ready to go, and would allow them to load a project and run it, possibly after some speed and accuracy testing. Of course, the issue of assembly would have to be explained because I doubt any of these guys would take that on. But, if the demo/test was successful, a follow up on the assembly process could feed into it.
Obviously, the risk would be a poor review result (as resulted from Tom S.) but success would likely be rewarded.
Apology for the length of this ramble. Would be better done as brainstorming with pizza and beer…
Just jumping on the bandwagon here to add my 2 cents
I’ve always felt the biggest differentiators of V1Engineering are:
Complete customizability within the bounds of a well-designed template
- Like: I don’t have to start from scratch but I can tweak within a framework
Opportunity for future extensibility
- , ie I can start with a small LR build and upsize when I get more space. Or I can start w/ a regular MPCNC and make smaller to get more rigid/cut aluminum. There’s potential for the machine to grow with my needs, interests, capabilities, available resources etc
Simple parts sourcing
- This appeals to my ever-present but completely irrational need to build things from scratch so I’ll be able to re-build in case of a Zombie Apocalypse
Clear / non-intimidating assembly instructions
Helpful + active community
- Also goes w/ customizability, ie: I can find parts ppl have made or find marlin configs for weird hardware etc
I realize that none of those are directly related to “stuff that you can sell to increase your bottom line”. But maybe you can lean into those in certain ways, ie:
An ecosystem of add-ons that can be sourced simply from you or DIYd at greater time/effort/expense. I’m thinking things like the PWM board for controlling spindle speeds or the touch plate. Things like 4th rotary axis add on, or joystick for manual control. Like the equivalent of if you controlled the whole ecosystem of 3rd party add ons around the Ender 3 like BLTouch, 32 bit boards, silent fans etc etc
Keeping current designs free but offering “premium” build instructions for a fee
Build kits, of course
Hopefully there’s something for you in there. Can’t wait to see the future of V1 Engineering!
It’s hard to compare V1 to something like xcarve, or shaper. They just work a lot different. But compared to most community focused products, it is a huge success story. Sometimes easy to forget. There are a lot of little shops where someone tried to make what Ryan has, and Ryan is one of the few that worked.
Al ver la comparativa de All3dp pienso que eligen máquinas muy diferentes, máquinas de PLA y de aluminio, no me parece acertado.
Ustedes por suerte pueden mejorar mucho gastando poco, por ejemplo añadiendo kits de piezas críticas como mejoras en aluminio a todos los modelos, iluminación, aire, láser, etc. De esta manera podemos comprar el modelo básico y mejorar sin prisas.
Si necesitan ideas por ejemplo para la LR2 me gustaría:
- Que no se baje cuando quito la corriente. Veré si con dos servos e imaginación se puede arreglar, no domino mucho Marlin.
- Un cuarto eje que funcione con mi Rambo 1.4 sin tener que desconectar cables. ¿Arduino más dos relé usando el pin del láser?, suena bien,jajaja
- Cambiar algunas piezas que suelen romperse porque el PLA en zonas húmedas sufre mucho.
También me gustaría que las mejoras que salgan del foro, aparezcan más tarde en la tienda, seguro es tan simple como pedir permiso al creador principal de la mejora.
En mi caso, la compra de su máquina fue porque tenían un foro vivo, su web contiene valiosa información y en dos días ya estaba usando la máquina. Por desgracia, esperé 3 meses porque a nivel de correo, ¡Canarias es el fin del mundo!.
Sería fantástico ver videos de cómo hacer muchas cosas, de como trabajar ciertos materiales, de como medir con la sonda, de como mejorar la máquina con los kits que ustedes ofrecen. No creo que su necesidad sea gastar dinero en publicidad, gracias a las rápidas mejoras sus máquinas son muy profesionales y se defienden muy bien.
Veo que la LR3 funciona bastante bien y tiene un precio adecuado, felicidades.
Perdón por contestar en español, no domino mucho el inglés.
JD me and you think alike. Thank you for that, it was getting a little bleak for me.
At this point it has been all said, we all know it is difficult to please everyone.
Here is my summary, maybe we can move this in a slightly different focused direction.
Kits - I am 100% behind a more complete kit, but not for a complete kit. The reason these machines can be so inexpensive is large heavy parts do not need to be shipped. Adding routers with specific cords for each country and warrantying them is not possible at this scale (garage). I can make recommendations more clear. Adding a giant piece of wood for the base, custom sized. large rolls of cable chain are not possible but small bundles of wire loom are. These only work because I fit them in a small box. As soon as I have to tack on huge shipping costs it falls apart faster.
On the same note Rails need to be custom cut for each person, packaged weighed and a custom rate applied. Doing that at checkout is not feasible at this scale. Finding a partner company to offer this service is a possibility but only in the US. Can’t do this for every country in the world. So I think having a machine that runs on conduit sized for all three conduits worldwide is the best solution.
My opinion on this is if you can get it at your local hardware store cheaply (nuts and bolts in the chain stores are stupid expensive) there is absolutely no way I should even consider selling and shipping it.
I absolutely need to pack in all the connectors and switches needed for each board, when you buy a board. I do need a wire solution. Anything else, I considered getting wire labels to throw in. Everyone is not like me with scrap box lying around to easily make a 2" wire jumper out of.
If I had an actual storefront, brick and mortar, I would 100% carry these things.
Site - needs a revamp it is in the works. Turns out a refresh is pretty easy but taking all new pictures and videos, is the hard part. This will include a focus on the video page. Lets do any site suggestions in that thread.
Software / firmware - Boards are still having supply chain issues. We will be getting a new standard board at some point soon. I have been working on this for months. The rambos take a very long time to get and the SKR lineup is about to change. Nothing is stable do to microchip shortages. This is the issue for getting a more complete bundle. I can not get the part that fit a board if I am not sure what board we will get.
For the end user beside special laser cases, Marlin and GRBL are functionally Identical. The Reason we use Marlin is the option for LCD’s. Now that we might be going headless GRBL is an option but you will notice nearly every cnc company makes their own GRBL boards, not cost-effective for us.
CAM - Nothing is perfect. Esltcam is still currently the best option by far and the easiest to support. Kiri:Moto looks like it could be a very beginner-friendly option as it is all kinda click and go and might be a option we spend more time with. I will look into it more. Fusion has crippled free CAM, and the other paid options are very expensive and sort of single use focused. If you just makes signs something in the vcarve suit might be worth your money. The other fee cam programs are not intuitive and you really need to know what is SUPPOSED to be happening to use it. (Think photoshop, draw, paint, gimp, one size will never fit all.)
Instructions - They need help and it has always been a chore for me. I am not sure how to fix this other than try to pay to have someone help me. It is a much larger job than you could imagine (every step takes multiple pictures. If I make an assembly video what happens when I edit a part (LR3 YZ plate is an example of this). If there was ever a place to hire someone, this would be it, but video people are very expensive. I asked a neighbor about his video rates and he kinda laughed and didn’t answer. So best case is pay someone to help with the written instructions, and make them easily printable. I am not going to provide printed instructions, they would be expensive and take up a lot of room in the already full boxes.
The part that is most interesting to me is adding the “so you are new to cnc” and some featured projects. Doing a few build nights so I can understand beginners perspective and make sure all the needed info is there.
Exposure - That leaves “promoting”. I am pretty against giving machines away. That just makes them more expensive for users that do want to buy one. That and the few I have given away have not resulted in anything positive. I did offer one for free to a, at the time, a small youtuber. I did not ask for a video or any on air time just some feedback of the build process and the machine’s capabilities. I liked the way that person approached projects. I don’t remember the exact details but I believe I was also asked for monetary compensation. I would much rather spend the time and resources on actual users. And appropriately enough these days most Honest review youtubers buy their own things so their kit does not get cherry picked.
So leaderboards for speed tests with hopefully a small prize. That will be the most fun for me.
Try to feature some outstanding projects on the homepage and social media. This could give you exposure if you are running business of any sort. Or just get some dork/cool points with your partner or friends.
I am going to make some small clips of new speed tests and see if I can learn to speed up the video process in any way.
Thank you all for your opinions.
I am very happy with the caliber of people this project attracts and in no way want that to suffer just to bring in more people. I feel if we do this right our collective talents will shine through the flashy websites and high price tags to prove we are a great option. The amount of people around here that get published or are contributing to lots of other projects is just nuts. We do have something special here, I love being a part of it, I just don’t usually feel like I should be the captain of this ship.
If this is anything like the trajectory of 3D printers, I am in for a wild ride. When the thousands of different printers started to spring up I assumed most would die out, and we would just get a couple major brands. That has not happened so far. lots of Printer companies have come and gone, but two new ones replace each one that disappears. Looks like CNC has started this big bang phase now.