A WhiteAnt CNC Mill/3D Printer
Video stolen from the white ant product page, via BuildYourCNC.com
Although the cost of the WhiteAnt kit strikes me as similar to other open source 3D printer kits, and I already have a Makerbot thing-o-matic in the house, there are a few things that catch my interest about the idea of building a WhiteAnt:
- I am a proponent of versatile, low cost manufacturing equipment, and the WhiteAnt looks like a 2 for 1 deal since the user can quickly swap the extruder for a Dremel and have a CNC mill without taking up extra space, or investing the time to build another frame and set up a second set of electronics and software
- The WhiteAnt frame looks a lot sturdier than the Makerbot
- Building a WhiteAnt is essentially a practical, guided lab exercise for this textbook on 3D printing in plastic, and I am old school enough to like textbooks and formal labs.
- BuildYourCNC.com produces good videos about how to assemble their various kits. (To see what I mean, you can watch an instructional video on the WhiteAnt Dremel mount assembly here, or the video instructions for connecting the WhiteAnt electronics.)
If the ability to do 3D printing via fused deposition modeling in extruded plastic is unimportant to you, and you need to use a mill more than you want the experience of building your own, you may be better off to sacrifice the cool factor and buy a low-cost mini-mill like this one from LittleMachineShop.com. It comes fully assembled, has enough torque to mill steel, and has a similar price and x/y/z travel to the White Ant kit.