So, the specs for the machine are evolving as I go, but for now I've settled on a 6 inch X, 4 inch y, and 2 inch z build volume. While this may seem absurdly tiny for a mill, the real goal isn't for this to be a regular flexible mill. By controlling the material shape and size, I want an inexperienced user to load a bit, load the material and click make. No figuring out how to clamp, no excessive time measuring the diameter of the bit, the shank length, zeroing the parts, or any of the other numerous and confusing things a newcomer has to know to get a successful part cnc'd.
A lot of work has been going to specify exactly what the blinkmold will run on mechanically. One of the goals is super high accuracy, which is easy to get if you just throw money at it. However, throwing money at it is directly opposite of the goal to make it affordable. Now, you can make it cheap and super precise if you're willing to throw time at it, but we're short on that too. Damn.
For this, the maker-slide system has a lot to offer. In fact, I believe while the shapeoko doesn't meet a lot of the projects requirements, its basic build idea isn't too bad. It's been shown that a belted system is decently accurate and long lasting with other cnc systems like the zenbot. However, I may still go with a acme leadscrew on all the axis, especially since the build volume will be so small.
On that note, does any one have a good list of suppliers for linear motion stuff past vxb bearings and inventables?