Project image
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$25,893
pledged of $120,000pledged of $120,000 goal
75
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 1 2017 6:59 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated February 13, 2018

The Buildbotics Open-Source CNC Controller

Reliable, High Performance, Open-Source CNC Control ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

The Buildbotics Open-Source CNC Controller

Reliable, High Performance, Open-Source CNC Control ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

$25,893
pledged of $120,000pledged of $120,000 goal
75
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sun, October 1 2017 6:59 AM UTC +00:00
Last updated February 13, 2018

About

Beyond Kickstarter

Our Kickstarter didn't work out.  We made some mistakes but learned a lot.  Our plan now is to build 50 Buildbotics controllers using our own money. We will sell these directly, first-come-first-serve, to early adopters in January, 2018. To be apart of our initial production run, send us an email now and join our mailing list.

A Special Thanks to Our Backers

We would especially like to thank those of you who backed our campaign. You took the time to understand why the Buildbotics controller is not just more of the same in a fancy box. You saw a significant step forward in ease of use, functionality and state-of-the-art motion control and ultimately trusted us with your money.

The Buildbotics controller may not be the overnight success we hoped for but we believe it will grow as the community gets to know its capabilities and gets to know Buildbotics LLC.  Here's to the future.

Sincerely,

Joe & Doug Coffland

About the Buildbotics CNC Controller

The Buildbotics CNC controller controller achieves record breaking speeds on existing DIY hardware while setting a new bar for reliability. This controller's flexibility makes it easy to construct CNC mills, 3D printers and LASER cutters, opening the world of high performance benchtop-scale manufacturing to many new Makers.

While many Maker tools have advanced at a rapid pace, CNC builders have come to expect Open-Source CNC controllers to come as unassembled kits, often with exposed circuit boards. The Buildbotics controller is different. It is protected by a rugged aluminum box and comes with it’s own cables for connecting stepper motors and a wide array of cutting and extruding tools.

Reliable

In CNC control applications, reliability is a huge concern. Yet, many inexpensive CNC controllers were designed with little or no attention to electrical safety. The Buildbotics controller is protected from short-circuits, reverse voltage and current overloads. Thermal protection was also considered. Due to the careful selection of high-quality electronic components, the controller does not need a fan to cool itself, even while driving 6 amp motor loads. Going fanless not only eliminates noise but also avoids sucking in dust and debris.

Printer port not required

The typical lack of electrical protection in previous Open-Source CNC controllers has earned them a poor reputation. For this reason, CNC builders often still rely on decades old stepper motor drivers which, although robust, lack modern features or even basic programmability. Such drivers are tethered to a dedicated desktop PC over a printer cable. Just finding a computer with a printer port is difficult these days and tuning a PC to produce stepper motor pulses which are both smooth and fast is a black art.

Wired or WiFi Networking

The Buildbotics controller, on the other hand, offers a modern Web interface accessible from a browser over a local network or WiFi. It’s dedicated hardware is able to achieve smooth step rates in excess of 250,000 per second, with no tuning. CNC programs, even gigabytes in size, can be uploaded to the controller and run without further support from the remote computer. Whole networks of Buildbotics controllers can be managed from a single laptop computer.

Manage a shop full of tools with Buildbotics controllers.
Manage a shop full of tools with Buildbotics controllers.

Camera, Gamepad, VFDs. . .

A whole slew of features are now available in one package, including:

  • Remote monitoring by USB web camera.
  • Tool head positioning via a USB gamepad.
  • Spindle speed control with PWM.
  • Full control of high-speed VFD spindle drivers over built-in RS485.
  • Heated 3D printer bed or coolant system control via two 15 amp switches.
The Buildbotics controller is the brain at the center of a CNC machine.
The Buildbotics controller is the brain at the center of a CNC machine.

Software Included

Supporting software includes the impressive Open-Source CNC simulator, CAMotics. CAMotics displays 3D previews of the cut workpiece. After sending GCode directly to the controller, it shows continuously updated tool position and time estimates. Compatible software like FreeCAD, LibreCAD and Inkscape provide a completely Open-Source toolchain for designing, simulating and running CNC jobs.

CAMotics Open-Source CNC simulator
CAMotics Open-Source CNC simulator

RaspberryPi 3 Included

Inclusion of a Raspberry Pi 3 running Linux and a 16GiB microSD card is particularly exciting. This platform has massive potential for integration with existing Open-Source software. For example, a high-speed pick-n-place machine with camera support could be quickly realized through integration with the OpenPnP project. Integrations with Octoprint and LaserWeb are also on the horizon.

About Buildbotics LLC

Buildbotics LLC is a garaged based company located in Petaluma, CA. It’s founders Joe and Doug Coffland are related as Nephew and Uncle. They founded the company in 2014 and began work on the Buildbotics controller in 2015. Both have extensive engineering experience.

Doug Coffland

Doug earned a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Idaho, graduating cum laude in 1979. He recently retired from more than thirty years service at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where he earned five patents and managed approximately 100 scientists, engineers, and technicians.

Joe Coffland

Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Boise State University in 2000. In 2002, he founded the software consulting company Cauldron Development LLC through which he has developed embedded systems under contract with companies such as Hewlett Packard, Wabtec and Ugobe. He has extensive experience with simulation systems having developed a hardware/software simulator for the University of Amsterdam, a cell simulator for the University of Notre Dame, the Open-Source CNC simulator CAMotics and acting as the lead developer for the Folding@home project for more than ten years.

Risks and challenges

We’ve heard from a lot of people who are really interested in the Buildbotics controller but let’s be realistic, building CNCs is not something just anyone does. Reaching potential backers and convincing them that this is a good idea is our current biggest challenge. We are doing everything we can but we need your help to get the word out. Reach out now and let other makers know. If we don’t fund, we will be sad but this project is 100% Open-Source so the Buildbotics controller will live on.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $475 or more About $475

    CNC control base kit

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x I/O breakout board
    1 x DC power supply cable
    4 x 10ft motor cables
    2 x 15ft load cables

    You will also need a 12 to 36 VDC power supply.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 9 backers
    $

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $650 or more About $650

    CNC control 12v kit

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x I/O breakout board
    4 x 10ft motor cables
    2 x 15ft load cables
    1 x 12V 220W Meanwell power adapter
    1 x USB gamepad
    1 x USB video camera

    This kit is suitable for driving smaller NEMA 17 stepper motors for light weight tool heads such as LASER cutters or 3D printers.

    The power supply works from standard single phase 110V or 220V AC power.

    To build a CNC machine you will also need the machine itself, stepper motors and a cutting tool. You may also want to add limit switches and other accessories.

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    $

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $675 or more About $675

    CNC control 24v kit

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x I/O breakout board
    4 x 10ft motor cables
    2 x 15ft load cables
    1 x 24V 280W Meanwell power adapter
    1 x USB gamepad
    1 x USB video camera

    This kit is suitable for driving NEMA 23 stepper motors for medium weight tool heads for CNC milling or routing or for larger tool heads.

    The power supply works from standard single phase 110V or 220V AC power.

    To build a CNC machine you will also need the machine itself, stepper motors and a cutting tool. You may also want to add limit switches and other accessories.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 5 backers
    $

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    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $3,850 or more About $3,850

    Buildbotics/Taig CNC vertical mill kit

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x Taig CNC Mill
    3 x NEMA 23 stepper motors
    1 x I/O breakout board
    1 x USB gamepad
    1 x USB video camera
    1 x 24V 280W Meanwell power adapter
    3 x 10ft motor cables
    1 x 10ft load cable
    1 x Spindle on/off control switch (SCR)
    1 x Emergency stop switch

    This is a complete CNC that is capable of milling wood, plastic, aluminum or steel. This machine is really awesome and comes at a great price.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 0 backers
    $

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $450 or more About $450

    Earlybird: CNC control base kit

    A special deal for our early backers.

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x I/O breakout board
    1 x DC power supply cable
    4 x 10ft motor cables
    2 x 15ft load cables

    You will also need a 12 to 36 VDC power supply.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 18 backers
    $

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    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $640 or more About $640

    Earlybird: CNC control 24v kit

    A special deal for our early backers.

    Includes:

    1 x Buildbotics CNC Controller
    1 x I/O breakout board
    4 x 10ft motor cables
    2 x 15ft load cables
    1 x 24V 280W Meanwell power adapter
    1 x USB gamepad
    1 x USB video camera

    This kit is suitable for driving NEMA 23 stepper motors for medium weight tool heads for CNC milling or routing or for larger tool heads.

    The power supply works from standard single phase 110V or 220V AC power.

    To build a CNC machine you will also need the machine itself, stepper motors and a cutting tool. You may also want to add limit switches and other accessories.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 5 backers
    $

    By pledging you agree to Kickstarter's Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and Cookie Policy.

    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)