As seen on BoingBoing!
What is the Kikori?
The Kikori is a 4’x8’ open source CNC gantry router designed to be a solid, adaptable, entry-level machine for small businesses. It is made out of Medium Density Overlay board, or MDO, which unlike MDF is both very strong and highly resistant to swelling due to moisture. It’s essentially a robot capable of milling complex three-dimensional shapes out of wood, soft metals, and plastics.
The goal of this project is to refine the Kikori design as well as design a line of open source CNC machines to complement it. This line will consist of a smaller gantry router, a fourth axis module, a 3D scanning module, and a space-saver 4’x8’ design with a much smaller footprint.
As an industrial design student I’ve been exploring the potential of CNC technology for years. I’ve spent a lot of time researching various CNC gantry router designs, even building a couple, but I was never completely satisfied with any of them. Either they were too small, not rigid enough, or much too expensive for my budget. Finally, I decided that the only way to find a machine that I really liked was to design it myself.
My design requirements for the Kikori were as follows:
It must be able to make its own parts (self-replicate)
It must have a milling area of at least 4’x8’x6”
It must be very rigid to maximize speed and accuracy
It must cost under $5,000 to build
After months of design work and building I have a design that fulfills all these requirements! However, I need your help to refine it and get it off the ground.
Due to the versatility of CNC technology, the Kikori has a very wide variety of potential uses. Here is a short list of possible applications:
- Wooden sculpture
- Custom engraving
- Stencil cutting
- Sign making
With the addition of a rotary axis and a 3D scanner, the Kikori would gain the ability to reproduce almost any three-dimensional shape that would fit inside its considerable milling area, allowing for the duplication of things like antique woodwork and sculpture.
A Good Foundation
Another problem I wanted to address with this project was how difficult and time-intensive it is to build a flat and level surface on which to mount a large gantry router. The current method is to build a torsion box on a surface that has either been painstakingly leveled and flattened with shims that can be dislodged with one careless bump, or to spend hundreds of dollars pouring a slab of self-leveling concrete. My solution was to design a torsion box made of CNC milled parts that will pull itself into a perfectly flat plane through the nature of its construction.
Why Open Source?
I’m a big proponent of the open hardware movement as exemplified by Arduino and the RepRap project. As I stated in my video, my main aim in designing this line of CNC machines is to encourage local manufacturing. To this end, I would much rather create an open system that encourages people to not only copy, but also improve upon my designs, because that will cause them to spread and improve far faster than if I tried to retain exclusive rights to the designs.
Be sure to check back here often! I’ll be adding more rewards as I finish new designs; currently I’m working on an updated version of the standing computer desk and a waterballoon launcher. Don’t see anything that tickles your fancy? Let me know what you’d be interested in, and I’ll do my best to make it a reward! All the rewards listed will be made on a Kikori. In keeping with the open design philosophy, each reward also comes with its own design files so you can modify and/or make them yourself as well. Additionally, every reward above the $15 dollar level will also receive copy of the current version of the Kikori design files.
Please note: shipment of rewards outside of the continental US will be extra; please message me for an estimation.
Want to learn more about Sindrian Arts and the Kikori project? Check out our blog at SindrianArts.com!
- (30 days)