Advanced multi-tool desktop factory based on OpenRail.

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All-in-one desktop factory, capable of operating multiple tools simultaneously.

Intended to simultaneously operate multiple milling, laser, extrusion (FDM 3D Printing), inkjet (powder 3D printing, 2D coloring), and DLP VLSI lithography tools (rapid semiconductor and PCB prototyping). This also allows deficiencies with one process (eg. 3D printing) to be corrected by another (CNC milling or laser trimming). Simulations indicate deflection should be 8mm/metricTon of lateral force.

As a generic multi-tool CNC platform, almost anything is possible, and the design is scalable to unlimited dimensions. However, one unique benefit is the ability to correct deficiencies in one fabrication process with another. This machine could switch between CNC milling the build platform, FDM extruding a base object, flattening layers by milling, coloring by inkjet, and laser trimming, all in one job.

Complete PCB fabrication at high-resolution (<6 mils)  is also a high priority, backed by photolithography production work ( ) . Personal VLSI foundry (microchip/ASIC and optoelectronic prototyping/manufacturing) capabilities are also likely, based on projection lithography and inkjet tools.

Platform design complete, awaiting construction. Additionally, a compatible platform is under construction atop HacDC's 8'*4' optical table.

Fully open-source, GPLv3 license preferred.

Please also check out (and consider voting for) fellow HacDC member Julia Longtin's successful aluminum-casting-for-everyone project. Not all metal objects can be cheaply CNC milled (eg. turbine blades), and her project brings such rocket science to casual hobbyists. Should either of us win, HacDC capabilities and R&D will progress much more quickly.

  • 14 × OpenRail Linear Bearing Surface
  • 14 × Aluminum Extrusion 20 Series, 20*40mm
  • 10 × Stepper Motor NEMA 17
  • 1 × Miscellaneous See BOM files on GitHub.

  • Deadlines...

    Matthew (mirage335) Hines08/20/2014 at 00:27 1 comment

    Hmm... since I don't have the parts yet, seems unlikely that meaningful build logs will take place at this point. Of course, that probably disqualifies this project for the next contest round.

    Nonetheless, work will continue.

View project log

  • 1
    Step 1

    Order all components in the BOM. Generally, these do not need to come from the named suppliers.

  • 2
    Step 2

    Fabricate the few plastic components by 3D printing. Note these some are intentionally plastic for dampening, and should not be replaced with metal equivalents.

  • 3
    Step 3

    Explore the CAD model with SolidWorks or eDrawings (free of cost). Assemble sub-assemblies first (outer frame, linear thrusters, Z-axis couplings, etc).

View all 5 instructions

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Matthew (mirage335) Hines wrote 08/19/2014 at 23:36 point
As noted in the readme file, OpenBuilds now has high-pitch leadscrew suitable for both fast and high-strength applications. It is possible to upgrade the FlexReplicator to use these.

However, stresses depend upon what is being milled, and the milling bit diameter. The milling function is primarily expected to be used primarily for high-precision trimming (small bits), table smoothing (easily milled MDF), and leveling 3D printed layers. Other functions on the machine, especially photolithography exposure and processing, make precision a priority.

  Are you sure? yes | no

PointyOintment wrote 08/19/2014 at 18:03 point
That rigidity is impressive, but can the motors and timing belts produce anywhere near that much force, or even enough for practical milling? There's a reason milling machines use leadscrews. I've actually come up with a few ideas (nothing concrete though) for combining leadscrews and timing belts in a machine like this so you get the advantages of both.

  Are you sure? yes | no

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