New to CNC Where to start?

I am new to this and was wondering if you guys can recommend the best option for me? All I want to do is use a needle cutter/spindle to cut out Flite Test planes and maybe some thin balsa and maybe some Carbon fiber parts for quads. I was looking at the MPCNC but had seen something about the dual end stops not being noob friendly. Also I will be using my laptop to run the machine.


USMC Veteran

Kind of a lot to address here so I will summarize a bit.

Build the machine to suit your main purpose, Flight Test Planes? Balsa is no problem as well. This is the first little snag Carbon Fiber. CF is easy to mill but dangerous and should always be done wet, also it is stupid expensive to get sheets of it. Full quad frames including hardware and shipping are usually cheaper, even armatans.

You don’t not have to use the dual endstops, most of us don’t. It is just and option to really increase usability for advanced things like tool changes, and really precision sensitive parts. If you get a Rambo board you can always add it later.


Options here as well, laptop is fine, an LCD is super convenient, or a pi running octoprint.


I guess what I am getting at is there is nothing set in stone. There is a bunch to learn, starting with the foam core planes should be super fun and a very easy way to get some machining time under your belt.

Yea for now I just want to cut out foam core planes for now. Thank you for helping me see my options and you are so right… quad frames are way cheaper to buy to include replacement parts. Now to decide MPCNC or low rider? I am leaning towards the Low rider as it seams a little less intimidating to get square and seams like fewer parts. Also right now it is about the height of the cnc as I want to mount under my work bench and slide it out when I am ready to use it. Since I will only be milling mostly flat surfaces, Dollar tree foam board and balsa sheets… I am wondering if the Low Rider would be the best option. I only need a 30+" length and 20" width workable space with a height of only a few inches.

Thank you again for all the help Ryan.

I think the MPCNC is the better option for foam core, so little load. You also wouldn’t be moving the LowRider very often, it isn’t that easy to do…

No joke there!


One of these days I really want to go visit the Flite Test shop. It’s a couple hour drive from my place. The golf course they just bought is going to be really cool when they’re done converting it.

Sounds great! Thank you Ryan!

Yea I wished I lived that close Barry… Just built my first ever kit… the FT Simple scout. Was going to maiden it tonight but kids at the park and winds were crazy… Oh well hopefully Thurs.


I went to flite fest a couple years back and met josh and crew. If you ever get a chance to visit them its well worth it!! My kids were a bit young to enjoy it at the time. Thats actually the reason I first built an MPCNC was in hopes of cutting foam board. I never got around to building the needle cutter but may re-visit it as the kids get older and start crashing planes.

That is outstanding. Yea that is what it is about right there brother.

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Also, if you have not seen them already do some searching on youtube for Jason Hitesman. I know he is here on the forum as well. He will be a good reference for foam board cutting. I think at one time he had made an instructable. He has spent plenty of time tweaking the foam cutter to work well cutting flite-test planes.


If it’s for rc I would swing towards the one that is the better 3d printer platform. The friend that printed my mpcnc got into 3d printing to build his own motor mounts and control horns. Kill two birds with one platform.