Coast Runner launching a $2,400 CNC mill soon

Coast Runner launching a ,400 CNC mill soon

If CES is anything to go by, 2024 is shaping up to be a great year for makers and hobbyists. I loved taking a closer look at Rownd, but it was not even close to the only light-manufacturing company showing off cool stuff at the trade show in Las Vegas. Coast Runner, is a new entrant in the desktop CNC milling industry, promising to make the technology accessible to everyone, from professionals to hobbyists. Coast Runner is breaking down the barriers of traditional CNC milling with a focus on power, compact size and, most importantly, education.

TechCruch spoke with Tyler Hoeft, who wears multiple hats in the company, from marketing to inventory management, and believes that the lack of educational resources and community forums in the CNC space has significantly hindered potential users. To address this, Coast Runner is committed to providing comprehensive educational videos and establishing a discussion forum for users to share insights and collaborate on designs. Moreover, Coast Runner is developing a bounty board system where users can pay others to create designs or mill parts if they lack the necessary skills. I think it’s a great idea, not least because milling and turning is a bit of a different beast than 3D printing — as any old, grizzled machinist will tell you, tool paths, feeds and speeds are as much art as they are science.

The Coast Runner machine is aiming to be both affordable and powerful.

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Coast Runner put one of the machines in a see-through casing for the purpose of CES, showing off its innards. The company manufactures many of the parts itself. Image Credits: TechCrunch / Haje Kamps

“We are making one of the most powerful desktop CNC machines you’ll find in the marketplace. You can cut everything up to titanium. Anything softer is possible: Plastics, brass, hard steel, aluminum, everything,” says Hoeft. “You need to change the tools manually — our main focus was to get the price point low enough that people who want to dip their toes or for people that want to manufacture and have four or five of these machines to manufacture small parts for their business.”

Despite its power, the machine is compact and lightweight, weighing only 42 pounds, and fits comfortably on a single desk, making it an interesting option for small businesses or hobbyists.

Perhaps the most exciting feature in the works is that the company is working on AI-powered modeling features. This advancement aims to make modeling a point-and-click process, significantly reducing the learning curve for new users and increasing the appeal of CNC milling to a broader audience.

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Personally, I love the retro takeaway-cup-inspired 1990s design. Don’t let the retro design fool you, though — there’s a lot of 2024 tech in there. Image Credits: TechCrunch / Haje Kamps

In an industry dominated by several big players (Makera’s $6,000 Carvera and Bantam Tools’ $7,000 machine are probably its closest competitors), Coast Runner’s relentless focus on customer education and powerful, compact CNC machines makes it an interesting new entrant into the market.

“Most companies in this space are content to sell their machines and wish their customers good luck,” Hoeft shrugs. “We are committed to guiding its users from the initial idea to the final product.”

Coast Runner is a name to watch, as it launches its Kickstarter campaign with a $2,400 price tag next month. The final retail price will likely be around $3,000, the team tells me.

Read more about CES 2024 on TechCrunch

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