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OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 Review [2023]- Desktop CNC



John Abraham
Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com


OpenBuilds LEAD CNC 1010 REVIEW

The LEAD 1010 CNC is a medium-size desktop CNC router launched in 2020 by the brand Openbuilds.

OpenBuilds is a popular hub for open-source designs and their LEAD 1010 is an open-source CNC for the DIY community.

The C-Beam Linear Rail system is at the core of its design like all Openbuilds CNC machines.

What’s really attractive about this CNC is the affordability and expandability of the design, which makes it popular among DIY enthusiasts.

In this review, I go through every important aspect of this CNC router and help you understand if this is the right CNC for you.

MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC review

The fully loaded LEAD 1010 CNC costs around $2,356 and comes with all the add-on components and software needed for designing to finally engrave the design onto the workpiece.

With no add-on hardware and software, LEAD 1010 CNC costs around $1,936. You can choose the add-on hardware and software that you like.

In the next sections, I’ll give you a detailed overview of the machine’s size, supported work materials, frame, linear drive, motion, and more.

1. Size

CNCFootprintWork area
OpenBuilds LEAD 101040″ x 40″29″ x 32″

Size of OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC

With a footprint of 40″ x 40″, OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 has a work area of 29″ x 32″.

The “1010” in the name of this CNC refers to the 1000mmx1000mm (40″x40″) footprint.

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC can be mounted with a 40″ x 32″ x 1/2″ MDF spoil board.

Using boards with a larger width will disrupt the gantry movement along the Y-axis.

LEAD 1010 can work on materials with a maximum thickness of 2″ and a Z-travel of 4″.

Openbuilds Z upgrade for LEAD 1010 CNC
Z-axis upgraded OpenbBilds LEAD 1010 CNC

The V-slots on the side vertical rails can be used to expand the machine along the Z-axis to achieve more Z-travel.

The OpenBuilds High Z modification kit for LEAD 1010 helps you achieve an 8″ material clearance.

This upgrade uses 500 mm V-slot rails on both Y-axis gantries to achieve this extension. It is sold on the OpenBuilds website and costs around $270.

The High Z modification kit will be a great addition to this CNC if you are planning to do deep 2D and 3D carvings.

2. Material Capability

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC cutting on softwood
OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC milling on softwood

LEAD 1010 CNC can carve and engrave on softwood, hardwood, wood composites, acrylic, HDPE, and non-ferrous metals like aluminum.

To give you an idea of its milling capability, with a 3mm bit, it can cut on plywood at a speed of 118 ipm with a depth of cut of 0.06″.

With the same bit configuration, it can cut aluminum with a speed of 31 ipm at a depth of cut of 0.012″.

3. Chassis/Frame

Anodized C-Beam

OpenBuilds use a strong 40mm x 80mm C-Beam structure made of aluminum extrusion for LEAD 1010 CNC.

This aluminum chassis/frame is anodized for corrosion resistance.

You can cut a C-Beam as per your requirements to increase or decrease the work area as it can be easily cut using a chop saw or a hacksaw.

The lead screws are housed inside the rail pocket.

This hides them and improves the aesthetics of the CNC.

Overall, it has good rigidity and is easy to install, maintain and even modify.

4. Linear Motion

An 8mm acme lead screw is used on each axis and uses a C-Beam linear guide with Xtreme solid V wheels for extra strength.

These V-wheels are stiff and offer rigid machine movement with an accuracy of 0.001″ ~ 0.003″.

Y-axis gantry openbuilds 1010 LEAD CNC
Y-axis gantry with double wheels

LEAD 1010 CNC uses a 6mm thick C-Beam gantry plate throughout the build and it has multiple mounting configurations.

The gantry plate is paired up on both sides of the C-Beam rail in a sandwich configuration with dual V-wheels.

5. Spindle

OpenBuilds provide their customers an optional RoutER11 spindle with the LEAD 1010 CNC. It has an add-on cost of $150.

RoutER11 is available for both EU and US power outlets. As its name denotes, it comes with an ER11 collet and can hold shank sizes ranging from 0.020″ – 0.3125″.

US model RoutER11 spindle can run at a speed range of 10,000 – 32,000 RPM and EU models can run at 13,000 – 33,0000 RPM. It also has a six-speed dial for selecting the RPM.

RoutER11 spindle
RoutER11 spindle

When not milling on work material (no-load condition), RoutER11 has a noise level of 74.7 dB.

This spindle uses a 1hp motor which is housed inside an aluminum body that can fit into a 65mm mount.

OpenBuilds also sells a bigger mount on their website for housing 71mm routers like Bosch Colt. For housing spindles with much larger sizes, you’ll have to make a spindle mount yourself.

6. Controller and Electronics

Stepper Motors

NEMA 23 motor with Xtension connector
NEMA 23 motor with Xtension connector

Linear motion in LEAD 1010 CNC is achieved by NEMA 23 stepper motors with a holding torque of 175 oz-in.

These motors come with an Xtension connector designed by OpenBuilds. This connector has a pluggable terminal, making the stepper motors plug and play.

LEAD 1010 CNC uses stepper motors on all three axes. For driving the Y-axis, it uses dual stepper motors, which move the gantry with good precision and prevent it from racking.

Controller and Electronics

Openbuilds BlackBox Controller
OpenBuilds BlackBox Controller

OpenBuilds uses the BlackBox Motion Control System for the LEAD 1010 CNC machine. Other than CNC routers, this controller can also be used with plasma and laser cutters.

OpenBuilds BlackBox uses an 8-Bit Atmega328p chip flashed with GRBL 1.1 firmware.

It has four Toshiba stepper drivers which are suitable for running high torque stepper motors and it allows up to 1/32 micro-stepping.

The controller alone has a footprint of 171mm x 80mm. It doesn’t support standalone mode and has to be connected to the computer via a USB cable for its operation.

LEAD 1010 CNC has contact type limit switches on all three axes and the homing cycle can be initiated from the OpenBuilds Control software.

The wirings are hidden from plain view, everything is tucked in and gives you a neat work surface to work on.

7. Software

With LEAD 1010 CNC, you have the option of choosing Aspire or VCarve Desktop software. It can be purchased with the CNC with an add-on cost of $1,995 and $349.

Both can perform CAD/CAM operations. Aspire can design and create toolpaths for 3D components while VCarve Desktop can only work with 2D designs.

You can also use any other software of your convenience. There is some great free and paid CNC software available on the internet for you to use.

OpenBuilds CAM

OpenBuilds CAM and OpenBuilds Control software are provided with this machine. Both these programs are free to use and can be downloaded directly from the OpenBuilds website.

OpenBuilds CAM is a web-based application that runs on browsers. It can generate G-codes from DXF, SVG, PNG, BMP, JPG, Gerber, and Excellon files.

OpenBuilds CONTROL window
OpenBuilds CONTROL

OpenBuilds Control is used to control LEAD 1010 CNC. It can be installed on Windows, Mac, and Linux OS computers. This software helps you run the G-codes and configure your firmware.

OpenBuilds CAM software works in integration with OpenBuilds Control and requires an active internet connection for its operation.

OpenBuilds Control can work offline but you will need an internet connection to convert your design into G-code using OpenBuilds CAM.

8. Accessories

Dust Shoe

RoutER11 with Dust Shoe
RoutER11 spindle mounted with Dust Shoe

OpenBuilds offers you the flexibility of purchasing an add-on dust shoe for $160 with the LEAD 1010 CNC. This dust shoe can be connected to a vacuum through its 2.5″ vac connector.

It’s made of acrylic and comes with clamp rings of 65mm and 71mm sizes for mounting onto RoutER11 and DeWalt 611 spindles.

While working with materials generating a lot of dust you should consider using a dust shoe as it will make cleaning up a lot easier.

Spindle/Router LED Light Ring

OpenBuilds LED ring for spindle mount
OpenBuilds LED ring for spindle mount

OpenBuild offers a LED ring light with the LEAD 1010 CNC. It can be attached to the spindle mount and its 12 warm-white LEDs will give you an enhanced view of the milling process.

9. Assembly

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 assembly
OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC assembly

LEAD 1010 is a modular CNC machine and all its assembly parts come in two boxes. Everything comes labeled and can be assembled in one day.

OpenBuilds provide a detailed step-by-step guide on how to assemble through videos and manuals. These instructions are easy to follow and will save you from unfortunate assembly mishaps.

10. Community

OpenBuilds open-source designs and applications have attracted many people. It has a huge and active maker community in OpenBuilds forums.

A large part of the community is also active on Facebook, Reddit, and YouTube. Having a large community gives you a significant chance of finding answers to almost all your questions.

11. Customer Support

For LEAD 1010 CNC, OpenBuilds provides a limited warranty of 1-year. When the product is under warranty period, you will get repairs and replacements directly from OpenBuilds.

If you change your mind after ordering this machine, you’ll be able to get a full refund through their 30-day return policy.

They have a separate well-maintained website for support queries. There, you’ll find answers to most of your questions from ordering a product to troubleshooting its issues.

You can also connect with the OpenBuilts support team through phone and e-mail. They provide ticket-based support which makes it easy for you to track all your queries.

12. Final Thoughts

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 is a true open-source CNC machine. Its modular design gives the users the flexibility to customize the existing design as per their needs.

This machine is an excellent choice for DIY machinists and hobbyists. Its cutting area can be modified as per the operational requirement of your application.

OpenBuilds provide excellent customer service, and together with its active community, you can sail through most of the work issues with this machine and its software.

You can also explore some other open-source CNC routers and compare them to find the best CNC machine for your application.

OpenBuilds LEAD CNC 1010 vs LEAD CNC 1515- What Changed?

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010OpenBuilds LEAD 1515
Footprint40″ x 40″60″ x 60″
Work area29″ x 32″ x 4″46″ x 49″ x 3.5″
Workable material height2″2.5″
Drive systemLead screw drivenLead screw driven
Accuracy0.001″ ~ 0.003″0.001″ ~ 0.003″

OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 and LEAD 1515 CNC comparison

The major upgrade for LEAD 1515 is the increase in the work area by 17″ for X and Y-axis.

LEAD 1515 can also work on materials with 2.5″ thickness, that’s 0.5″ more than what LEAD 1010 can work on (2″).

The spoiler board is not provided on both of these machines for ease of shipment but can be purchased from your local hardware store.

CNCSpoiler board size
OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 40″ x 32″ x 1/2″ (1 piece)
OpenBuilds LEAD 101558″ x 16″ x 1/2″ (3 pieces)

Recommended spoiler board sizes for OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 and LEAD 1515

The width of the spoiler board has to be comparatively lower than its footprint width, this allows for smooth gantry movement along the Y-axis.

LEAD 1010 doesn’t have a dedicated V-slot for work material holding, But LEAD 1515 has V-slot rails on all four quadrants and at the center of the work area.

LEAD 1515 comes with the same BlackBox controller that LEAD 1010 comes with and provides an add-on option to buy VCarve Pro instead of VCarve Desktop.

VCarve Pro doesn’t have any work area and toolpath limitations as in VCarve Desktop. This increases your production capacity to work on larger and more complex designs.

LEAD 1515 CNC comes with an XYZ touch probe and Interface CNC Touch.

The interface lets you control your CNC without a computer, it can be connected to any controller running a GRBL 1.1 firmware.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Is it possible to add more wheels to the Y-axis gantry plates of OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC?

Yes, the gantry plate can house more wheels as it has multiple mounting configurations.

LEAD 1010 CNC comes mounted with two sets of wheels, one more set can be added as the XLarge C-Beam Gantry can house a total of six wheels.

Does OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC come with a spoiler board?

No, it doesn’t. For ease of shipment, OpenBuilds doesn’t provide a spoiler board with the machine.

You can mount OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC with a 40″ x 32″ x 1/2″ MDF spoiler board. With a 32″ width, this spoiler board will be at a safer distance from the Y-axis gantry plates without disturbing the machine movement.

Can OpenBuilds LEAD 1010 CNC use the same touch INTERFACE used in LEAD 1515 CNC?

Yes, it can be used with LEAD 1010 CNC as it supports OpenBuilds BlackBox Motion Controller.

Openbuilds controller INTERFACE support controllers with a GRBL 1.1 firmware which has TX/RX/GND/5V pins.

John Abraham
Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com