Although Sienci Labs is clearly a for-profit CNC router company, some people might not realize how 100% committed we’ve been to open-source since our founding. This encapsulates the vast majority of our products sold to-date (eg. LongMill MK2). Another one of these is gSender which many people might not realize is a big passion project for us. Unlike software packages you might see from other companies that are paid, subscription, or that have simpler development efforts, we’ve dedicated ourselves to the development of a CNC control interface / sender that’s:
- Truly open-source (GNU GPLv3 license)
- and supports ANY CNCs (not just our own machines) that use the generic, non-proprietarily-edited, open-source grbl firmware (and soon grblHAL)
This task began around July of 2020 and has been momentous. Originally forked from CNCjs because of it’s amazing existing features (high praise to the 5 years of work that Cheton Wu and community put into it), just the initial changes we had to make to bring gSender to a Beta release took 8 months and $100,000. Nowadays, we’ve built-up a dedicated, full-time team of 4 people. Between the living wages we pay them, part-time involvement from other people on the Sienci team, and other assorted server and development costs, gSender currently costs around $330,000 per year to develop and maintain. For a free software, 1/3rd of a million dollars is a tall order.
To-date, we’ve decided to absorb these costs. Andy and I knew that it wouldn’t be cheap and we couldn’t really make a business case for it but we felt like we’d been lucky enough to have such great success with Sienci Labs that it would be an amazing opportunity to give even more to the open-source and hobby CNC communities. We see it as being similar to how Prusa Research brings PrusaSlicer to the 3D printing community.
Even with the inflated costs of this gSender Support Merchandise, we still don’t expect it to offset our costs. We currently spend about $6,300/week which means we’d have to sell over 250 shirts or 1,400 stickers every week to break even. Either way every dollar counts and if you’re in a position to donate to our effort then we’d greatly appreciate it.
Much ❤️ from the team at Sienci