I was watching this video and I thought "why not
use a Propeller to make that"?
A relatively cheap CNC machine kit based off the Propeller? Yes please!
It could probably work with .eps or .svg files, but I'm not sure how complicated it would be to make it work in 3 dimensions.
Just needs a way to load files to cut/engrave/draw, got several ideas for that:
- SD card with a text LCD interface. Load the files from an SD card, select and monitor progress on one of those cheap text-based LCDs people put in PC cases to monitor CPU load and heat, or screens from those "my first activity computer" things VTEC makes. (They might be more difficult for some people to acquire though.)
- SD card with TV-out interface. The Propeller can output composite video, so this would save the user from having to get an LCD that will work with the kit. However, that's kind of awkward to set up. (I'm thinking more along the lines of what we do here; if it's set up that way it could just use a spare LCD or one of those $20 DealExtreme specials.)
- Connect to the PC through USB and use its own controller software. Hooking it up like a printer would be the dirt-cheap way to do it, but would require writing software and possibly drivers to make it functional. This would require minimal extra parts, saving money at the expense of development time.
The actual cutting part could be a custom-built motor setup, or a clamp to attach a Dremel or drill the user already has.
The unit already prototyped in the video handles the X axis, but for the Y access I think it should move the material under it, as opposed to it moving over the material. This would allow for (theoretically) unlimited length on the Y axis, and the unit itself could be smaller and easier to store when not in use. (And as an added bonus, the same basic design could be customized into a plotter.)
What do you think?