Open Source, Modular, Flexible Manufacturing System
"We are to Manufacturing, What the PC was to Mainframes"

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An array of open source CNC machines built into identical form factor based cubes. each cube is a multiple of 300mm units. the initial focus for prototypes being 600mm cubes much more information here:

CubeSpawn has been evolving as a concept since 2008. In 2009 the RepRap project started spreading on the 'net and I decided to start building the first cube, I chose a 1 meter size and ordered the parts. 1 meter turned out to be an awkward size: too big for small stuff, too small for big stuff, and as a citizen of the last country on earth using feet and inches, a meter is odd sized for our supply chain. Yet I wanted the concept to work for anyone on earth, so I borrowed from smarter people and used the "British Metric Foot" a 300mm unit that is really close to one foot, yet works well with "Modular coordination" a concept relating to easy additive dimensions and easy sub-divisibility.

Dimensional issues resolved, the project searched for a design that would allow for modular CNC machines of many different types to work together in a standards based framework, and from that effort a module holding the mechanical workings of a machine in the lower 2/3rds and the electrical/electronics in the upper 1/3rd. is the best solution so far.

The last issue was what software to control all the potentially diverse processes spread across the system, the answer turned out to be the Robot Operating System (ROS) and more particularly its variant for manufacturing (ROS-i) for the prototypes, this runs on top of a Raspberry Pi (although any Linux based SBC should work) running Raspian and ROS this then drives a SmoothieBoard for stepper control, additional solutions will be researched in the future.

Latest Pictures

Ethereum Discussion

  • CubeSpawn is the Borg of Open Source Hardware

    CubeSpawn10/06/2015 at 20:06 0 comments

    Here are the Elements of the CubeSpawn System as the stand today:

  • Inadvertent progress

    CubeSpawn05/10/2015 at 17:01 0 comments

    Daily progress seems slow, but the cumulative progress is beginning to become significant:

    the CubeSpawn system consists of 5 basic sub-systems:

    1. The cubical enclosures, (Frame)

    2. A removable Mechanical Module

    3. A removable Electr(ical/onics) Module (the control software runs in here)

    4. A backplane to connect the two modules to each other and the frames sensors

    5. The mechanical/electrical and electronic connectors to tie the machines together.

    These are all in some fairly advanced functioning state, and in building them I have discovered a significant number of improvements that could be implemented (leading to a "two steps forward, one step back" cycle of design improvements.)

    This, in turn, has made everything take months where I thought it would take weeks, but I think the payoff is getting pretty close.

    While waiting for some parts to come in I have worked on a modular fixture solution for the Milling Machine Cube. Due to the overwhelming engineering task involved in creating a whole flock of machine designs, I will be adapting existing open source machines to the mechanical modules rather than rolling my own machines, since this, after all is why we open source!

    From a practical standpoint, this means finishing out the circuit mill/router/milling machine design is going quickly, The 3D printer is done, all but a few details...

    Since I'm using existing open source designs, appropriately adapted to the modules constraints, this also applies to a Laser Cutter, a Vacuum Former, a Surface Grinder and several others.

    Additionally, I have part of a Cube mounted on a CNC milling machine to test out and expand the modular fixture setup, and I am using the fixture to make cube parts and plan sequencing for said parts (some require multiple setups, g-code, and tools.

    I feel that this only the tiniest of preliminary steps, since there is an open field for application, since many of the projects I see on Hackaday could be made into automation templates and created semi-automatically on a CubeSpawn array.

    Some fixture parts

    Making Cube side panels on the modular fixturing

  • Modular Fixturing Progress

    CubeSpawn04/21/2015 at 17:50 0 comments

    While the main Focus has been on the 3D printers Hot-End, while waiting for parts I put together a few more pieces of the Modular Fixture for the Milling Cube:

    the 350mm Pallet, indexed on 4 pins to a 400mm Base-plate, I'll mount the clamps next to be able to swap plates out for multiple operation machining and 3D printing fixtures.

    An automatic fixturing cube is partially designed to robotically set-up fixturing to turn stock into parts.

    In the Cube mill, the Base-plate will be a part of the machine more pix here:

    Feedback appreciated!

  • Slow but steady

    CubeSpawn04/17/2015 at 02:10 0 comments

    Building the Hot End,

    working out the modular electrical setup for the Heated bed pallet

    Here is the 350mm "Light" Pallet for the 3D printer, Circuit Board mill etc

  • Much Progress, few updates

    CubeSpawn03/18/2015 at 14:24 0 comments

    I have been trying to ping all the relevant components to the central idea:

    So I added a post to the Ethereum discussion:

    And the latest pics are here:

    Couple of short video's to the Youtube channel also

    N Joy!

    feedback appreciated!, help, even more so.

  • Belated updates

    CubeSpawn02/06/2015 at 17:02 0 comments

    I have not invested much time in updates, instead choosing to focus on getting some hardware up and running, a sponsor has given me the run of a fairly complete machine shop, but its about 3 hours away from home, so it requires some planning...

    --> the latest is to get the 3D printer module running and implement a working backplane:

    Getting close to a generally usable design for the light milling machine, a "heavy" mill and a lathe... stay tuned

  • Where the Action is...

    CubeSpawn08/22/2014 at 00:30 0 comments

    I will be putting a lot of the documentation here:

    CubeSpawn Ultimaker 3D Printer Module

    and here:

    CubeSpawn 3 Axis Mill Module

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