It’s a small, low-cost and multi-function electronic plate milling machine :
- low-cost because it can be fully made in a makerspace in 3 days: you just need to buy few components (motors, Arduino,…) for a cost between 20 and 90 dollars and you need a laser cutter.
- multi-function because its head can be changed to be used as a 3D printer, driller, miller, laser, markers, etc. Because of its small size (40x40x38 cm), it can be used in a mini-fablab to bring to people the technology in their place during workshops or to start a makerspace. All the files can be downloaded here.
Technologies usedComputing & softwares Electronics Laser cutting
- What’s the project story?
This project was born in the context of the Fab Academy, a remote digital fabrication course taught by Neil Gershenfeld from MIT in 20 weeks which aims to empower people to “make (almost) anything”. During the 15 and 16 weeks dedicated to mechanical and machine design, I worked with my colleagues Eduardo Cartagena (fab manager of Fablab Yachay) and David Arias to design a low-cost machine that can be accessible to anyone. We gathered our skills as mechanical and electronic engineers and with the help of our instructor, Angel Cuasqui, we divided the activities to produce it in a week.
- How the workshop was useful?
First, it provided us with all the machines we needed. Secondly, we had the chance to be guided by Angel Cuasqui, our instructor, who was also a student of Fab academy last year in Fablab Yachay. He knew the machines, the team, the local needs and resources so we benefited from its experience and feedbacks. Eventually, we got a great support from the red of Ecuadorian makers you gave us feedbacks and ideas.
- What’s the project’s greatest success so far?
Our evaluator Saverio Silli, who works in Fablab Shanghai, gave us great feedback both in our project and documentation. It also caught the attention of many users in the Fablab.
- What’s your greatest failure(s)& lesson(s) so far?
The project development went well because we have simulated the machine behavior with software such as Onshape or Solidworks before building it. We only have to adjust the size of the head elements. More than the technical part, this project developed our skills to work as a team. We didn’t have the same vision of the machine finality so he had to listen and understand each other to come up with an agreement.
- What’s your vision for the project & next steps?
We aim to use it to bring technology to people such as farmers or artisans in order to offer them workshops on-site. This experience gave us the wish to build new machines. I think that the concept of machines building other machines is great to support the maker movement development and to make it more accessible to anyone.
- How anyone interested can contribute to the project?
We will be very pleased to see people building it in other space and to share the new version with improvements. If you are interested in this project, you can find all the process of building and the design files on our page. Don’t hesitate to contact me by mail or on Facebook, I will be more than happy to help you!