CupCake CNC

I am an open, hackable robot for making nearly anything.


The basic structure of a MakerBot is:

  • A 3D positioning system.
  • A toolhead that does work.
  • Electronics to drive it.

As the CupCake CNC is a MakerBot, it contains all of these elements. The 3D positioning system is a standard cartesian (X,Y,Z) system. In our particular configuration, the build platform moves in the X and Y directions and toolhead is mounted on the Z stage which moves up and down. The X and Y axes are belt driven, and the Z axis is screw driven.


  • Usable Build Area: 100mm Width x 100mm Depth x 130mm Height
  • X/Y Positioning Resolution: 0.085mm
  • Z Positioning Resolution: 3.125 microns
  • Maximum X/Y Feedrate: 5000mm/minute
  • Maximum Z Feedrate: 200mm/minute
  • Typical Z-layer height: 0.3725mm
  • Outside measurements: 350mm x 240mm x 450mm

Build It

There have been some changes to the design of the kit since we first released the Cupcake CNC. Take a look at the build instructions for the version of the kit you're putting together.

Source Code


The design of this machine is 100% open source. What this means is that we've released all the CAD files used for parts and the documentation under free licenses. The majority of the files are DXF files created by QCad. There are a few different ways you can access the files:

Use It

The basic process for building something is:

1. Find or design a 3D model (.STL) of your thing.
2. Use Skeinforge to convert your STL into a GCode file.
3. Use ReplicatorG to run the GCode and build the thing.

For more information on printing, see the how-to-print page.

For more information on limitations of objects and how to design models for 3D printing, see: Design Guidelines for MakerBots..


With any new technology, there are a few new words that are useful to know in order to make communication easier.

axis - a mechanical assembly that only allows movement back and forth in one direction along a line. plural: axes.
stage - the part that moves along an axis. also known as a carriage.
belt driven - movement force is transmitted by belts and pulleys. Much faster speeds than screw driven are possible, but has a lower positioning resolution.
screw driven - movement force is transmitted by a nut riding on a threaded rod. as the rod rotates, the nut moves forward or backward. Much higher positioning resolution than belt driven is possible, but it has a lower top speed.
positioning resolution - the smallest increment that a stage may be moved

Hack It

How far can you push your machine?
Making you own endstop cables
Bluetooth Communication


CupCake CNC and MakerBot in general are a derivative of the RepRap project. Our goals are similar: to build cheap, open source 3D printers. With CupCake we decided to focus on making a printer that was cheap, reliable, and easy to use/hack. RepRap has a much stronger focus on self-replication which can sometimes be distracting when you just want a machine that works. We strongly believe in self-replication and we look forward to the day when it becomes reliable enough to form the basis of our machines.

Cupcake v0 development archive
Distinguishing between Batches of Cupcake CNCs

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under GNU Free Documentation License.