Mar. 25, 2015 | By Alec

While desktop FDM printers are great for toying with at home, they aren’t perfect for serious multi-material manufacturing. Taking things to the next level currently means having to buy industrial level machinery, such as a laser cutter and a CNC mill, all that could change in the near future. For a very interesting multi-purpose machine has just launched on Kickstarter that not only functions as a perfectly decent FDM desktop 3D printer, but can easily be transformed into a CNC mill or an all-purpose cutter and engraver.

The machine is called the Stepcraft 2, and has been developed by the ambitious young German company of the same name. Founded in 2012 in Germany (with another branch opening in Torrington, CT last year), they specialize in high-quality manufacturing machines. The Stepcraft 2 is therefore essentially the next generation of the Stepcraft, an excellently received CNC mill released two years ago that can also be used for drilling, grinding, engraving and so on.

This forthcoming follow-up takes things to the next level by combining 3D printing technology wit hmost of the options of its predecessor. In the words of its developers, ‘It is the only machine that can Mill, Carve, Engrave, 3D Print, work as a Vinyl/Craft Cutter, Plot and more. Stepcraft 2 is designed to harness your creative mind and give you a platform to turn your ideas into reality. From woodworking to machining soft metals, Stepcraft 2's ability to mill, cut and carve gives you the power of a full CNC machine shop in a compact and extremely durable system that will fit right on your desktop,’ the Stepcraft team writes.

Unlike its predecessor, the Stepcraft 2 will be made available in five different size classes. The smallest features an already respectable workspace of 210 x 210 mm, while the largest features a massive working area of 840 x 600mm – larger than any other desktop manufacturing machine out there. As its German manufacturers explain on their Kickstarter page, the Stepcraft two will feature a series of easily switchable heads and spindles for easy use. For CNC milling, available options include rotary tools from Proxxon, Dremel with other adapters (Dewalt, Bosch, Makita) coming soon. ‘If you are looking for a more serious CNC solution then you can add the optional Stepcraft HF 500W spindle, [which] has an operating range from 3,000 to 20,000 rpm and uses an air cooling system that is designed to optimize performance and keep debris and dust from getting into the bearing assembly. The Stepcraft 2 HF spindle is perfect for higher volume jobs and milling of harder materials like aluminum, brass, carbon fiber and graphite.’

But we are obviously most interested in its 3D printing potential. And as its developers explain, the Stepcraft 2 can be transformed into a 3D printer in no time. ‘We use standard 1.75mm plastic filament, which means you have the choice of literally hundreds of types and colors to best match your project's needs. Print materials like PLA, PVA, ABS, PET, Nylon, Flexible Filament and more. The simple, straight path design of the print head gives you more accuracy and control than many 3D printers on the market.’


Conveniently, the Stepcraft 2 has been pre-configured to perfectly align to a wide range of software options typically used by 3D printing hobbyists, including Repetier Host, Cura, Simplify 3D and 3D design programs such as Sketchup, Corel Draw, Adobe Illustrator, Inkscape, AutoCAD, Solidworks. At least you won’t have to learn another type of software to start 3D printing. The machine is also compatible with both MAC and Windows. As an added bonus, the Stepcraft 2 will come with Cut2D and Cut3D, user-friendly programs that can be used for routing, milling, pocketing, drilling and carving.

Perhaps best of all: the Stepcraft 2 is already ready for production, with shipping expected to begin as soon as June 2015. While some Kickstarter campaigns promise machines that still need to be made, this crowdfunding campaign is purely for production purposes. As the team explains, they have spent the last two years working on design based on feedback from the previous model. ‘With over 2000 version 1 machines sold throughout Europe, we made over 40 refinements to the design such as larger workspace, higher Z-axis, faster operation, more rigid design and much more,’ they write. ‘We wanted to bring this amazing technology to the North American market but we need your help. In order to service this market, we need to ramp up productions. Your pledges will allow us to buy larger quantities of raw materials, develop world-class service and support in the United States, develop new system accessories and develop a vast library of online tutorials.’

All this sounds quite promising, and it certainly seems as though the campaign will be a success. Aiming to raise $35,000 in pledges, they have gathered $18,000 in their first few days already. The campaign will last until the 22nd of April. Remarkably, a pledge of just $999 is enough to get the smallest Stepcraft 2 in kit form, which takes about four to five hours to assemble using the highly detailed guide. A fully assembled machine will cost you an additional $299, plus extra shipping.

All in all, the machine looks great while its very decent price tag and excellent shipping perspectives suggests that it's an excellent device for upgrading your garage to a complete manufacturing workshop. Go here for more information.



Posted in 3D Printers


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Dr. Partev Hacopian wrote at 8/7/2018 12:45:46 PM:

Dear Sirs Please be kind enough and provide us your product and price information on your 3D cnc desk top machines., We have been in CAD/CAM business for over 30 years now and we have several applications for your desk top CNC Machines. 2D / 3D Engraving on soft and Hard materials , 3D Printing for various applications, 2D/3D Modeling and milling applications, Kindly provide us your standard list price including our discount margin. Thanks in advance for your prompt and positive response. Best Regards Partev Hacopian

MANUEL wrote at 8/25/2016 2:48:35 PM:


Logan in illinois wrote at 4/10/2015 8:59:29 PM:

The question is not how much... the question is rather how soon shall I see them around, how soon before I have one. Best machine I have ever seen for the price. On one of their videos they said like 3999.00 for the largest machine and all accessories which is shockingly fair compared to some other machines. Can't wait to get one...

Robert Kilcoyne wrote at 4/7/2015 10:16:54 PM:

HOW MUCH $?!!!!!!!

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