I have been saving a lot of money being stuck in the house this spring. So, I thought I would spend some of it on a Genmitsu 3018 Pro desktop CNC.
I was chatting on the phone with my friend Walt recently, and told him about the low cost desktop CNC from Sainsmart. It’s called the Genmitsu 3018 Pro. Well, next thing I knew, Walt bought one. Not to be outdone, I did too.
As you may recall, a few years ago I made the Mostly Printed CNC and it worked quite well. My MPCNC was quite large and lived out in the garage. Hard to believe that project was started four years ago this month. Anyway, my main purpose for the MPCNC was to mill aluminum plates for a variable capacitor. After that, I did not really do any woodwork projects, so I eventually sold the machine.
And while I am not really into woodwork, I have believed for a long time it would be neat to mill my own printed circuit boards. After all, I have all the software to design PCB, and can easily get the parts to build them. Yes, I know you can order PCB really cheap from China. But I like to build things, at least within my capabilities.
You will find that a mill for making printed circuit boards does not need to be very big. Most PCB are just a few inches per side, if that. The trick is getting small, precise cuts in the copper surface, which is very thin, in the order of 1.4 mils or 35 μm.
This means two things. First, I need a mill with very little runout or rotational inaccuracy. Second, my mill must be able to auto-level on the surface of the board. Since my PCB only has 35 micro-meters of copper, I need to track the surface very closely when cutting.
Genmitsu 3018 Pro DIY CNC Kit from Sainsmart
Sainsmart is a six-year old Chinese manufacturer focused on makers. Genmitsu is their brand name for small CNC machines. You will find that 3018 refers to the size of the build plate, 30 by 18 centimetres, or about 12 by 7 inches.
You can buy the basic Genmitsu 3018 Pro for under US$200, or you can bundle together with a five watt laser and other tools for US$450. (If you live in Canada, you can get the basic CNC kit for just under $300. Hard to beat.)
Can you put this kit together easily? Yes. Took me around 2 hours. I found fit and finish to be great and instructions easy to follow. We can easily connect to the control board as it uses widely supported GRBL firmware. Specification highlights include 24 volt power, 775 rather than 555 spindle and a proper ER11 collet system.
You will find tons of articles and videos about Genmitsu 3018 Pro on You Tube and elsewhere, Just do a quick search.