Have you been looking for a digital fabrication system that can 3D print, laser, carve, plot, assemble, pick/place and is small enough to fit on your desk?
Well, look no further. Makerarm, which just launched on Kickstarter looking to raise $349,750, uses changeable tool-heads for all of the aforementioned applications and many more. You can even attach your own tool heads for custom applications. Makerarm uses a robotic arm to print, cut, and engrave objects within a 30-inch reach.
Perhaps the best part is all of this can be done right on your desk. Makerarm sits on a round base 4.72 inches in diameter. It is 24 inches high and the dual arm assembly provides a total arm span of 15.7 inches. Makerarm can rotate 180 degrees around its base, which means it can actually span 31.4 inches.
Two or more Makerarms can work in conjunction with each other to perform more sophisticated tasks, according to the company. Here’s a snapshot of what Makerarm can do:
3D Printing: Makerarm is not confined to a box, can 3D print on any flat surface, and can print with both filament and resin. It maps its work area and carries out bed levelling automatically so you don’t have to. Plus, it has a huge work area of over 30 inches.
Milling/Carving: Makerarm features high-speed (light duty) desktop milling and carving. You can mill at speeds up to 20,000 RPM (at 300W) in a variety of materials including plastics, wood, and soft metals right on your desktop. You can even hook up heavy duty flex shaft tools such as the Dremel Fortiflex to Makerarm for power-carving, grinding, or shaping applications (with speeds up to 23,000 RPM).
Laser Engraving: With Makerarm’s high power 500mW laser head (405nm), you can engrave and etch your favorite materials including plastics, wood, leather, cardboard, and more.
Pick-and-Place: You can choose from vacuum pump coupled suction cups, electromagnetic heads, and grippers to carry out pick-and-place operations.
Assemble: Makerarm’s assembly tool heads allow you to automatically place and fasten screws, carry out gluing, and perform pick-and-place functions to assemble parts.
PCB Fab & Assembly: With Makerarm’s PCB fab and assembly suite of tools, you can iterate within hours instead of weeks and months. PCB milling, drilling, solderpaste dispensing, automated soldering for THT (through hole components), and pick-and-place assembly for SMT (surface mount components) takes the hassle out of prototyping.
Makerarm is still working on the Makerarm.io control software, but it will ship free with the arm. Makerarm.io is browser-based software that connects to the arm remotely via Wi-Fi on any device view and control the device, train it to perform certain applications, load designs, and connect third-party apps and/or custom scripts. The software will automatically detect what tool head is attached, and the company says you can also use your choice of CAD/CAM and tool path generation software.
Pre-production units, which should be received in April 2016, will be shipped to beta backers for testing and feedback. The Makerarm team will incorporate user suggestions into the final design, which should be available in Fall 2016.