- Getting Started with the WhittleCNC & Optional Upgrades
- 3D Printing, Drivers, Steppers and Lasers!
- Aluminum! & Stretch Goals
- A quick update with a 3D Heart!
For years, I looked for an affordable CNC machine that was compact enough to fit on my desk, but high quality enough to let me actually build some of the clever designs I have in my head. I could never quite find the right balance of low cost, quality, and practical footprint that I wanted.
So I decided to design and build my own. After a couple of years of trial and error, this is the result, and I’m excited at how well it has turned out. And now I want to share it in this Kickstarter project.
Using your computer and open source software, you can command the WhittleCNC to give life to your ideas right there on your desk or your workbench. Or if you have a larger project in mind, it takes only a few minutes to drop the replaceable cutting bed. Just mount the machine on a broader surface (like a wall or a blank for a sign) and you can cut much larger designs, moving the machine along as needed.
A CNC router is a computer controlled cutting machine related to the hand held router used for cutting various hard materials, such as wood, composites, plastics, and foams. It's essentially a very accurate computer controlled Dremel that can make repeated precise cuts.
Over the past two years I've designed and modified the parts for the best possible result. Here are just a few of the prototype parts.
The shield didn't take as long to perfect. A shield is the main board that all the other electrical components will be soldered to. Here are a few of the pcb designs tested.
Traces are routed more uniform for the final design.
The cutting bed is removable! With this unique feature you can cut objects much larger than your machine. You can cut large signs by doing 1 letter at a time and moving the machine to the next position. The possibilities are endless. This will also allow you to easily replace the bed if you were to damage it. We will be selling replacement beds at WhittleCNC.com.
You could even mount the WhittleCNC on a vertical surface and cut on an existing wall.
With the provided 20mm spacers you can easily and quickly increase the depth of your machine, allowing you to cut taller objects.
If you need even more depth we will have longer screws & spacers available at WhittleCNC.com.
The frame is made of 1/2" Phenolic which is extremely strong and durable. It's the same material that is used for bowling lanes.
I had a coworker stand on the frame spanning between two chairs just to show how strong it is. He weighs 190 lbs (86 kg), and he is only standing on one side of the frame.
Working Area: 228mm x 356mm x 50mm (9" x 14" x 2")
Overall Dimensions: 356mm x 483mm x 203mm (14" x 19" x 8")
Movement Accuracy: .025mm (0.00098")
Shank Diameter: 1/8" or 3.175mm (The same as most Dremel tools.)
Control Board: Custom Shield Using Easy Stepper Drivers, and connects to the PC using a CH340 (No FTDI).
G-Code Interpreter: GRBL
PC Connection: USB
Rotary Tool Power: 110v (Not included with all reward tiers)
The Rotary tool is 110v, If you need a different voltage or have you own please select the appropriate reward without the Rotary tool included. All WhittleCNC rewards (that include the WhittleCNC) will include the flex shaft.
There are many software options to use with the WhittleCNC.
Here are a few of my favorite free options.
My favorite program by far is Inventables web based Easel App. You Can create designs, import svg files, and then you can even run the code from your browser, directly to the WhittleCNC.
https://github.com/winder/Universal-G-Code-Sender Sends G-Code to the WhittleCNC
http://pycam.sourceforge.net/ Converts Stl Files to G-Code
https://code.google.com/p/heekscad/ You can Import models as well as create them, and then generate G-Code.
As a full function, 3-axis CNC machine, there are few limitations to what you can make with the WhittleCNC. As long as the bit can reach it, the WhittleCNC can cut whatever shape you can dream up. It can cut foam, wax, wood, plastic, aluminum and more. Here are just a few examples.
Objects larger than the WhittleCNC:
Create a shape in wax using the WhittleCNC, then pour in silicon (readily available on line and it cures in hours) to create a mold that can be used for projects with multiple identical parts. These silicon molds can even be baked!
And a few More Ideas
The WhittleCNC kit is easy to assemble, with fewer than 50 parts (not including screws and zip ties). If you have a Phillips head, hex key and scissors, you can be up and running in less than two hours.
- 25k - UNLOCKED! Additional 3cm Spacers
- 35k - UNLOCKED! Pen Attachment - Draw or Paint with Your WhittleCNC!
- 50k - More Powerful Stepper Motors
Risks and challenges
Every unique part we make ourselves. For the rest we have distributors lined up. Even if a distributor falls through, the parts we need from them are readily available and it should not hold back shipping.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)