North American CNC under 5k

Hey guys, I mentioned in one of the other CNC threads that my team is looking to get a CNC this fall. While we’re trying to get approval for an OMIO, we are running into issues with our school board about it being from China and not having electrical certs.

I’m working with about a budget of $6000 Canadian, which works out to a bit under $5k USD. My question is what machines should I be looking at as something that is comparable to the X8? Currently I’m looking at the iD2CNC, cncrouterparts benchtop model, and stepcraft D.840. Are there any of these that people have good/bad experience with? Or any other models I should be considering?

I’m hoping for either something with a 2x3 or 2x4 cutting area, and while something pre-assembled would be great, also don’t mind tackling a kit with good enough recommendations.

My first choice is still an OMIO, but I’m not too confident we’ll get approval. We also have separate budgets aside for tooling, compressor/mister, and an enclosure.

Thanks for any help.

Stepcraft looks somewhat sketchier than the CRP and iD2CNC models. They also published a spec sheet a while back that specified pretty low cutting speeds in aluminum, so I would go with one of the other two.
CRP has a great reputation and proven record working with aluminum, but I haven’t seen the desktop version at work before. The hardware, at least, looks good.

Hi cad321! I think this may be a solution for you:

I am the owner of the company Shariff DMC (we are Toronto based), and we recently launched a low cost desktop CNC machine on Kickstarter for making metal parts. We just barely missed our goal - but we are currently going through with production for the original backers plus additional latecomers. Check it out, and if you are interested in buying one let me know. Here is the Kickstarter link and our website:

Hope this helps, although the bed size is a little smaller than what you listed. It’s a 12" x 8" bed and 5.4" Z travel.



This is a really impressive machine. Probably too small for FRC, but features like linear rails, ballscrews, and even a tiny coolant pump is amazing!
What are some of the feeds and speeds you run on aluminum? How much MRR have you gotten from this machine?

However impressive it may be, I find it hard to back projects on Kickstarter, especially when they didn’t reach their funding goal for August 15th.

Is there any guarantee of delivery on these?

Your objections just seem like generic Kickstarter objections. What specifically worries you?
Looks like it hit more than $100k out of a 135k funding goal, so I think it would be safe enough for personal use, even if a team wouldn’t want to risk funding on it. Kickstarter projects typically take several months to ship anyway.

Nope, that’s my only hesitation. Although I do see on their website store that it’ll be on their site for purchase as well.

@ShariffDMC any info on when that will be?

We got a 4x4 PRO (not benchtop) from CNCRouterParts last year. Overall, we’ve been pretty happy with it. It does just about everything we need, holds decent tolerance with average feeds and speeds, and has so far survived our general inexperience without self-destructing. The router came as a kit* and we assembled it on site in a few days. Their customer service was great when we were ordering it, I would definitely recommend them as a company.

They also have a 2x4 PRO model as well as the benchtop model you talked about. Can’t speak to the quality of the benchtop model, but I imagine the 2x4 PRO is the same just with shorter rails.

* This was a big plus for us, since we had to get the router into our shop which has a standard door as the only enterance.

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This was my thoughts as well. The q.204 from stepcraft would be nice as it appears to be a far more rigid and industrial machine, but it’s a little outside our budget currently.

Currently the CRP is what’s hitting most of my needs/wants, but it works out to be a little more than our current budget as well, $5500 US for the machine and electronics, and that doesn’t include the spindle yet.

The iD2CNC looks like it will hit our budget requirement (still need to look a little closer there), I’m just not 100% about its ability to machine aluminum accurately/reliably as I haven’t been able to find any listed specs such as MRR or recommended speeds and feeds.

I agree that I’m actually really impressed upon first look. While the machinable area is probably just too small for what we need on the team, I may need to look into this as im considering getting a personal machine myself…

If the concern is with the electrical certification, could you buy (pricier) electronics from a US-based company and a mechanical build kit from elsewhere and mate them together?

I’m not certain why I hadn’t thought of this before…

After a quick email to our safety liaison at the board office, we are currently investigating the potential of either retrofitting the OMIO with certified electronics, or having the electrical it ships with be certified locally. Hopefully this will be something that works for the board.

We finally got a chance to purchase a 3x3 Shapeoko XXL, it’s actually done really well for us, it’s not perfect but workable for just about all of our applications.

More than a few Canadian FRC teams have bought CNCs only to have them to sit idle for over a year, while they awaited both electrical and safety certifications form their school boards. So my advice to you is get the certification process started as soon as possible both with your board and the supplier. Also, find out if you board has any specific safety requirements, including a mandatory enclosure for the machine. The enclosure could add another $1000 to your costs and could be another potential delay.

If you’re looking for a local source of routers that are CSA approved, check out this option. Not sure if they have a model that fits your budget, but they’re worth giving a call.


Thanks for the advice. I’ve worked with a couple school boards in the past with regards to new machinery. While I’m still cautious with how long things can take, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how quickly and easily they’ve been working with us thus far. The enclosure is something we already know we’ll need and have that aspect tentatively taken care of by a sponsor.

I’ll also be sure to check out cancam.

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It is fairly small for most FRC sized parts, I have to agree coming from FRC myself. In terms of speeds and feeds in aluminum it can do cuts about 16mm in depth, 0.5mm stepover at 1600mm/min. In steel, maybe half of all of those numbers. There are a few videos on the YouTube channel showing it off on steel and aluminum here too:

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Right now we’re dealing with manufacturing and shipping out the original Kickstarter batch. Once that is complete (probably in a few months) we expect to have built up some inventory to list it for sale on the site. The problem with being a new company, is that we don’t have the funds right now to stock up on components and list it for sale (since lead times on parts are 1-2 months), and it’s also difficult to gauge how much to stock and how often to purchase new fabricated components etc. That’s what made Kickstarter the perfect platform to launch for the first batch.

So the best estimate I can give is by the end of the year to have them in stock, ready to ship.


Team 4926 acquired the 2’x3’ version of the Pro Series line from this company. We are using it now to make parts, and we are pretty happy with it. Still learning; however, it was a bit more than your price point. We got the unit for $7500.

(Here are the funny pictures of us moving this 500 lb machine up the 9 stairs into our shop!!)


Thanks! Good to know :slight_smile:

On 131, we use a Q.204 and find that it works quite well. If you call them up they may be able to help you out. I know we switched to a slightly smaller spindle and put a tool changer on the machine. The tool changer added a lot of cost, but the spindle saved quite a bit. There may be an option that works for you with the smaller spindle. The way they build the machine, there is a pretty good chance of being able to put a better spindle on it later. Also, if you already own a wood router, that may work as well.

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