When you typically think of a CNC machine, you’re likely to envision a gigantic monstrosity that makes its home in a corner of a factory and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. I mean, you wouldn’t be wrong. The SwissMak Desktop CNC Machine, however, seeks to provide the same milling quality at a significantly lower price point—just $3,000.

Built from solid metal, the SwissMak features an 8-station live tool turret, a swiveling 30 taper milling head, and a 5-axis mill-turn machine designed to cut your metal bits at any angle. Impressive, to say the least.

“The low-cost machine tool market is dominated by low-quality imports; the majority are copies of machines designed decades ago,” explains the SwissMak team. “There has been very little innovation. On the other hand, full-sized CNC machine tools cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars and usually require 3 phase power to run.”

Let’s break it down.

The main attraction of the SwissMak is the headstock—which features a 2” spindle bore designed for mounting four, five, and six-inch chucks on the spindle face plate.

The SwissMak also features an ER40 tailstock which lets a user mill long parts and serves as a holder for larger cutting tools and deep hole drills. The nose itself can hold bars ranging from 1mm to 30mm. Should you ever want to do more straightforward milling with a milling head, you can remove the tailstock from the boxway plate to make room for a vise instead.

The linear and rotary axes come with NEMA 24 stepper motors which plug directly into the control board. For the uninitiated, this means they are more precise while offering a lower cost. There are also backside shafts which allow manual handwheels to work with the machine.

ODrives with closed loop BLDC motors power the spindles. While not all parts of the SwissMak come with this option, kits for ODrive upgrade servos will be coming sometime in the future.

The SwissMak team, based out of Fort Collins, Colorado, have currently raised over $71K of their Kickstarter campaign goal of $120K—with more than three weeks left to go. Find out more over at Kickstarter.


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.