Naming the project/instance/class

A project log for Minamil: a minimal CNC mill. And friends.

Each axis: $̶5̶$8 motor+lead screw, 3x LM6UU, 3x 6mm x 100mm rod, 1/8in hardboard, PC case screws

Paul McClayPaul McClay 10/20/2020 at 05:140 Comments

Writing about things requires words to call them by.

This project started with the explicitly provisional title:

Cheap small CNC mill - "Formula 1551" for now

This log entry corresponds with renaming the project to:

Minamil: a minimal CNC mill. And friends.

So far this project has mostly described a single line of development of a specific machine. I've had difficulty thinking of how to write about both the single design and the general ideas that make it go. Thinking of other variations on this theme that I hope to build aggravates that by disallowing lazy conflation of class and instance.

So I'm thinking of

Minamil as a play on minimal mill.

Sub-mini because mini mills already exist as a category and this doesn't pretend to compare with any of that. Some mini mills already use "micro" to imply the smaller end of mininess so I could say "nano", but SI prefix escalation rarely ages well IMO. The "sub-" can connote both smaller-than and less-than.

And friends because I hope to complete at least one variation that will be intentionally less minimal, and to provide enough information to enable replication of the specific machine and extension of the general ideas.

But isn't this more like a CNC router than like a CNC mill?

I can't refute that. I do think the generally taller-than-wide configuration with a relatively small work area on a relatively bulky XY cross slide arrangement under a relatively massive spindle attached via a Z-only axis that's not short to a bulky vertical frame evokes mill more than router. And I think the pretentiousness of calling it a "mill" hides in plain sight the pretentiousness of calling a toy-scale device a tool at all. Kind of like an Easy-Bake® "oven".