About this project
The idea behind Limitless came to us when we saw a need for a high quality CNC that was smaller in size, but not small in features. We then also saw the capabilities of the 3D printer and how rapidly it is becoming a standard part of engineering tools. Then we thought, let’s put the two together. Behold, Limitless was born.
Limitless is a revolutionary new automated multi-tool. With Limitless, projects and ideas can be brought to life using one of many methods. Inventors and engineers can bring projects to life using the milling machine, 3D printer and other tools we plan to add such as a laser cutter. Limitless is a dynamic platform which is always changing to suit the needs of its users.
Unlike all other personal platforms, Limitless uses a robust controller, similar to the ones found in industrial machines. We do not use all-in-one controllers for our automation. Each one of our large stepper motors has its own motor driver with separate power supply. We also provide the largest work space out of any other brand! With a gantry clearance of 14 inches and a table size of 23.5 x 33 inches, we are the largest, most versatile CNC combo tool one can buy!
We didn’t like that all small CNC machines and small 3D printers used all in one stepper drivers/controllers to save money. These type of controllers are limited on feature and upgradeability. Limitless uses a high quality state of the art controller that is user configurable. Not all the inputs and outputs are being used on the controller, which allows for a lot of flexibility for the user.
Pictured, Limitless’s Controller
With Limitless real prototypes can be produced! Since we have such a large work area, projects often do not need to be scaled down. By upgrading to our 6 axis controller, a lathe option can be added as well, adding even more versatility to the platform. Also, all of our tools (Spindle, 3D printer and potentially a laser) are always installed on the “Z” axis, so there is no need to swap out tool heads. You just choose the profile you plan on using then, you are good to go!
Limitless comes with a spindle vs a router. The main difference between the two is, a spindle has a variable speed control. A router is fixed and usually has a slower rpm. With a spindle you have more control over the speed at which material can be cut and a much higher rpm can be achieved as well. Currently Limitless has a spindle with an rpm of 16,000. The other thing I really like about spindles are, they're very quiet. Spindles are usually found on higher quality machines, as they require a controller and usually cost more. Spindles are standard on our systems. We also include a semi-auto zero on our systems as well. What does this mean? When you have to change tools on the spindle, you simply put the next cutter to be used in the collet, set the zero plate on top of the material to be cut and click the auto zero button on the screen. The machine will touch the zero plate and enter the values in the software automatically.
Another great thing about a CNC machine is its versatility. We often find ourselves needing to cut gaskets. Sure we could buy a laser cutter, or maybe a water jet. But that would be expensive! A better option is to buy a drag knife. A drag knife is simply another tool that is inserted into the collet of the spindle. With a drag knife many types of material can be cut and offers another use for the machine. Other things a CNC is commonly used for is, printed circuit board making, engraving glass and embossing.
Limitless will eventually be configured to have multiple extruders. Currently it comes with one extruder, however, the plan is to have four to six, depending on customer’s needs. We also have our own extruder that is in development. With our new style extruder, many types of material will be able to be extruded. Such as HDPE, PVC, PVD and polypropylene. With these materials, much tougher prototypes can be made. Also this new extruder will use powder or granules instead of filament rolls. This means that any prototypes that get scrapped can easily be ground down and immediately be used again with little effort. Currently, we are using a standard extruder which operates on 24 volts.
Another issue we saw with the 3D printers is the filament storage and how the filament can get tangled while the machine is working. To solve this, we simply made Limitless strong enough to carry its filament around where ever it is working. Limitless has storage enough for 4 - three pound rolls or many smaller rolls. This also means, when the multi-extruder option is available, there is no need to worry about where to put the extra rolls of filament.
Limitless does not come with a heated bed, but is instead offered as an option. We are trying to keep the price for this high quality machine as low as we can, so we offer the heated bed separately. We feel that some customers may want to buy their own and this may allow for a cost savings. However we offer a heated bed for Limitless, but at an additional cost of $400. Our heated bed is a seamless 24” x 24”, very high quality bed. It is made from heated silicon, G-10 and aluminum. Shown below unfinished.
With Limitless, you get many features that would be considered extra in other table top machines. We offer an extra high gantry (about 14 inches), semi-auto zero, vacuum control, regulated compressed air (controlled by Limitless), automatic spindle control and a large work space (23.5 x 20 inches workable), plus many others. Below, we have many pictures for you viewing pleasure.
Risks and challenges
We don’t feel there are any risks to this project, however it is a challenging project. The main thing we would like to continue to improve on is intergrading the milling side of the platform to work better with the 3D printing side of the platform. Also, we would like to instigate further development of the 3D printing software for tool path technologies. Let’s not forget that this is a dynamic platform and we are going to be adding a laser cutter and multiple extrudes to the mix in the near future.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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