About this project
The Creation Station
CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control. A CNC machine is a computer controlled router that can cut shapes out of whatever material is placed in it. The Creation Station is a low cost CNC router kit designed to be high performance and high quality as well as simple to use.
We've reached our goal! Thank you!
We've updated our stretch goals because we want to give them to you!
$100,000 - 3-LED Work Area Light: Mounts on the bottom of the spindle holder and lights up the work area - very useful. *** UNLOCKED ***
$150,000 - 'Soft' Emergency Stop Button: In addition to the 'full' emergency stop button which kills power to the Creation Station, we will provide a "soft emergency stop button" that will stop the machine through software which will preserve the machine's coordinate space and will allow you to easily continue your job without the need to reset the machine. This is useful if you detected a problem and need to stop the machine quickly but it's not a full emergency - huge time saver.
$200,000 - Electronic Touch Off Strip: We will include a precisely machined stainless steel strip and connections to the Creation Station for easily setting the cutter depth.
The High Performance CNC For The Rest of Us!
We developed the Creation Station for makers like you - like us. We are makers — we developed the Creation Station with all the features and capabilities that we wanted to see in the CNC machine on our workbench. We made a tool that we love and now we want to share it with you — we know you'll love it too.
Our goal was simple: create a high performance, high quality CNC machine that the average person could afford. After over a year of research, development and testing, we did it. The Creation Station is loaded with features usually only found on machines costing thousands of dollars, but costs less than a good laptop. We are sure this will become the most useful tool in your workshop!
We have over 20 years of experience in engineering, development and product testing. We've studied every part of the Creation Station to ensure durability, reliability and performance while making it one of the most affordable CNC machines on the market. Hundreds of hours were spent sourcing components and studying samples so we could make the Creation Station the best CNC machine in its class.
What can you do with the Creation Station?
As a full function, 3-axis CNC machine, there are very few limitations to what you can do with the Creation Station. If the router bit can reach it, the Creation Station can cut whatever shape you can dream up. The Creation Station can cut foam, wood, plastic, aluminum, brass, stone, ceramic, tile, glass - anything softer than steel! We made the Creation Station as versatile as possible so that it will be limited only by your imagination.
* not actual speed. This image was cut from a 6" x 12" x 1" piece of oak and took 1.5 hours. Artwork provided by vectorart3d.com.
Easy to Build:
The Creation Station comes as a kit, but don't let that put you off. The Creation Station is easy to assemble and can be put together in a few hours. Only simple hand tools are needed - the kind that everyone has in their tool drawer. Each part is labeled and detailed instructions (including video instructions) on how to assemble the Creation Station will be provided.
World Class Software:
Making things on your Creation Station (or any CNC machine) takes three steps: 1) design something to make, 2) convert that design to G-code and 3) run the G-code on your Creation Station.
For the first two steps, we've partnered with world class CNC software maker, Vectric. Our Maker Bundle includes the versatile Vectric Cut2D software (a $149 value), while our Creator bundle include the powerful Vectric VCarvePro software (a $599 value). These applications allow you to design your creation (or import designs from other design applications) and specify the cutting tool paths that the Creation Station will use to cut the shape. Finally, this software will generate the G-code needed to run the Creation Station.
Cut2D Features include:
- Automatically converts CAD drawings and Graphic designs to G-Code / CNC Toolpaths.
- Accepts most industry standard 2D vector drawing formats DXF, EPS, AI & PDF file formats.
- Pocket Machining with either raster or offset machining patterns, plus the option to ramp the cutter into the material.
- Profile Machining-running the cutter around the outside, inside or on the selected geometry, with the option to ramp the cutter into the material.
- Automatic cutter diameter compensation for toolpaths ensures parts are cut to the required size. Simply select the shapes and Cut2D compensates for the cutter diameter and shape.
- Interactive Tab / Bridge placement to ensure parts are securely held in place when cutting from sheet material.
- Automatic calculation for Outside and Inside cutting when multiple shapes are selected.
- The option to Ramp the cutter into the job is very important when cutting hard materials because it reduces the load on the bottom of the cutter.
- Drilling with option for Peck drilling cycle.
- 3D Colour and 2D wireframe toolpaths Previews shows exactly what the part will look like when machined
VCarve Pro Features include:
- Complete set of 2D Design and Layout Tools
- Layer control, Guide lines, Snap Grid
- True Shape Nesting maximizes material usage minimizing waste
- Text Editing + Single Line Engraving Fonts
- File Import - DWG, DXF, EPS, AI, PDF
- Image File Import - BMP, JPG, TIF, GIF
- Vectorize images to create vectors for machining
- Robust V-Carving
- Raised 3D Prism machining
- Auto-Inlays with multiple options
- 3D Random Texturing Toolpath
- 2D Profiling with Interactive Tabs / Bridges, Lead and Ramp options
- Pocketing with optimization for 2 cutters
- Drilling with option for Peck Drilling
- Beveled Letters
- Custom Molding and Form Cutters
- Wrapped Rotary Axis Machining
- Multi-color Toolpath Previews
The last step requires "machine controller" software to actually run the G-code and control the Creation Station. We recommend LinuxCNC on a dedicated computer to act as the "machine controller". The requirements for LinuxCNC are very low so it's easy to find a computer - very likely for free - from friends, your local MakerSpace or craigslist that will do the job - see www.creationstationcnc.com for details. LinuxCNC, is free, open source and very easy to install; no unix/linux experience needed! We will include complete instructions on how to install, set up and use LinuxCNC.
Video Examples: In addition to the massive video training library provided by Vectric, we will produce one "sample project" video per week demonstrating how to use the Creation Station throughout this project. If there's a particular project you'd like to create on the Creation Station, send us a note at email@example.com. Feel free to send us your original design files too, and if we like it, we'll make a how-to video!
Other software options: We offer a Creation Station option without software. This option is perfect for someone on a tight budget, who prefers to use any of a multitude of free, open source software: e.g. Inkscape for making 2D designs and makercam.com for generating G-code from those designs. Or Blender, which is a powerful 3D design package, and is also free and open source. There is even a CAM version design specifically for CNC that can generate G-code directly. As for machine controllers, we love LinuxCNC. There are a limited number of other free options but there are also commercial options such as Mach3. We will provide a moderated forum at www.creationstationcnc.com for users who have chosen this route to exchange how to's and answer questions.
Our Production Schedule:
All design and sourcing work for the Creation Station is done and a production plan is in place — all we need to do is pull the trigger. As soon as we hit our goal we will start placing orders for long lead-time parts and order the remaining parts at the end of the campaign to ensure we hit our shipping targets.
What You Get:
You get a complete Creation Station Kit which includes all parts and electronics along with detailed instructions and a video assembly guide. The kit will take just a few hours to put together. If you selected the option with a spindle (router), you will also get a Bosch Colt 1HP router and world class Vectric, Inc. software. If you opted to go without a spindle, we will include a spindle holder designed for a rotary tool, which you can then use to cut a holder for whatever spindle you choose.
With each Creation Station you will receive a 25% off coupon for the purchase of 3D art from vectorart3d.com.
Risks and challenges
We are determined that our project not become another "really late" Kickstarter project and that it ship on time. We have experience in manufacturing several different types of products and have done a lot of planning. While there is always a risk of unexpected delays, we are confident that we can ship on time.
We have contacted several contract manufacturers and suppliers who have assured us that they can get us onto their production schedules and deliver on time. Therefore, in all but the worst case scenarios (fire, natural disaster, vendor failure) we do not foresee anything but minor delays.
Whatever the situation, we promise to give frequent updates on the status of the project to keep you in the loop. We feel that good 2-way communication is an important part of our project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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