Funding Canceled Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on January 5.

Introducing the ShoeboxCNC SB-1, a small robot that can be used for everything from mixing drinks to frosting cookies.

A CNC robot for makers, designers, engineers, and educators.

The SB-1 CNC robot is an experiment in product design and is intended for people who want to automate the little things in life: drawing shapes on objects, pouring a design in a latte, frosting cookies with vector graphics. The machine can do a few of these things "out of the box", but is also made for people who want to make their own 3d printer, or candy sorting machine, or.. whatever you want. The SB-1 is made of renewable materials, but has some fancy technology under the cardboard hood, and is probably fast and accurate enough to do most of the things you would want that require sub-millimeter positioning. more

What can I do with the SB-1 CNC Robot?

The SB-1 comes with a pen holder and stamper, so you can get started with painting, pen printing, and stamping using included parts and software. Since the machine is modular, and Arduino based, you can also make your own accessories. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Add a frosting dispensor and make a robot that can frost cookies with vector graphics. 
  • Add a RGB LED and time exposure camera to render pictures.
  • Add a color sensor and gripper to make a sorting machine for candy.
  • Add a fluid pump and make a drink mixing robot.
  • Add a conductive ink pen and start printing your own PCBs. 
  • Add a hot wire cutter and start carving up foam using g-code.

Below are a couple examples of "custom head" starting points. These are things that could be attached to the SB-1 and controlled by the included Arduino. The frosting dispenser could be used by makers and educators to draw fancy graphics on gingerbread houses.  The foam cutter could be used by engineers and designers to rapidly create foam models with complex shapes. 

Who is the SB-1 for?

Makers:  The SB-1 is made first and foremost for people who make things. People who are excited about process, and want to do things like paint pottery with vector graphics, pour the perfect latte art, and make the perfect cocktail from their iPad using code they helped write. Since the SB-1 is "hackable", it is a great base for making your own creations.

Educators:  Programming for education is now accessible, but in a world of tablets and mobile devices, it is hard to keep students engaged. For teachers of STEM subjects, the SB-1 is the perfect way to take programming technologies like Scratch and Processing, and make them tangible. For teachers looking to teach physics and math, a "make your own SB-1 accessory challenge" can be a great way for students get engaged in hands-on engineering projects.

Designers and Engineers: If you are an engineer, the SB-1 is a "hackable" way to make something that moves. Buy a couple and see what you can make. Designers, want to see what your custom vector graphics look like when using your favorite markers and card stock? The SB-1 is a great way to print on everything you can't fit in a standard printer, using graphics you can make in Illustrator.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The main risk is that the SB-1 will take longer than thought to manufacture. The goal is to have the SB-1 shipped before December of 2014, so you can give it as the perfect holiday gift in 2014.. We will be working hard to reach this goal, and are asking for your support. With your help we can hire the engineers, designers and helping hands needed to make it happen.


  • This is a great question and one of the most common that come in. The SB-1 is Arduino based, and includes an Arduino Uno, which is made in Italy, so a portion of the robot will be made in Italy. The rest of the robot will be made in a combination of the US and in China for certain components such as gearboxes and circuit boards. At the 200K funding level, the SB-1 will be integrated in the US, with cardboard components manufactured locally. As our numbers increase it may be critical to produce the robots in large numbers that quickly outgrow our local capabilities. At this point we will produce the SB-1 with the help of manufacturing partners in China, and design for manufacturing experts in the US such as D2M in the bay area.

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  • The SB-1 is made from a mix of materials which include: wood, paper based materials like cardboard and matte board, and high strength injection molded ABS plastic for critical parts like gearboxes. The goal is to make the SB-1 sustainable, but also to make the robot "hackable", or modifiable. Since the robot is made of cardboard, adding things like LCD displays and emergency stop buttons is as easy as cutting a hole and adding components.

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  • We are working to make the SB-1 as easy as possible to assemble. The main tools you will need are a hot glue gun and a screwdriver. Our goal is to make a product that teenagers can assemble, and younger children could make with help from an adult. Since the machine is made of cardboard, cutting tools like an X-Acto knife are helpful, but because the kits will be laser and die cut, you can get by with a screwdriver and glue gun.

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  • For children who are grade school age and younger we recommended an adult helps with operating and assembling of the SB-1. Advanced middle school students should have no problem using the SB-1, and if your middle school age son or daughter is the resident "tech expert" in the family they should be able to build the SB-1 alone or with the help from an older family member. The perfect age to start with the SB-1 is high school, but we plan to make the robot strong enough to handle an eight-year-old who just had an energy drink.

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  • As part of our product release, we will be making video guides for doing basic things like assembling the robot. We will not be offering live support for the product, but our support solution is also not to just put up a user-form and call it a day. We will be offering a user-form, but also plan to make video tutorials that will cover everything that could go wrong or be confusing.

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  • If you are from MIT, "hacking" might mean doing things like putting cars on buildings unexpectedly, and if you grew up in the 90's, hacking to you might mean speed coding on monochrome laptops in phone booths and having call names like "acid burn" (see Hackers IMDB). To us, "hackable" is simply the process of making it your own, and in the case of the SB-1 robot, means you can modify, change, and in general, make the product your own through modification. This could include adding a button, painting it, and replacing components, to name a few possibilities.

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  • The SB-1 is Arduino Based, so if you wanted to make a robot that draws a circle every time a person walks by, you could do that using only Arduino code, but the real fun starts when using software that has been written for controlling things like CNC milling machines. The industry standard for making CNC mills and routers do the fancy things they do is "g-code". In the past this software was limited and expensive, now there are powerful and free software solution for automated fabrication. Typically a different program generates "g-code", known as CAM software (Computer-aided manufacturing), and a G-code interpreter is used to take a program written in g-code and turn it into robot motion. Below are some popular option that could be used with the SB-1:

    LinuxCNC: LinuxCNC is a software package, and also is distributed as a custom install of the Ubuntu Linux OS, so you can install from a CD just like Ubuntu, but with all the settings configured for you. This is best for more advanced users and typically is used by people with an old computer that can be dedicated to the task of g-code interpreter.

    Universal-G-Code-Sender: This is our favorite option for controlling the SB-1 since it is open source and java based (runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux). There is a decent user group for the software and although it does not do all the fancy things found in packages like Mach3, the software interprets g-code, provides a visualizer, and can send data to an Arduino with simple serial commands.

    Mach3: Mach3 is a windows g-code interpreter that has a large user base and many features for controlling machines that move in X, Y, and Z, which can be applied directly to the SB-1. The software is not free, but they do offer a demo version which can do basic things like run g-code and visualize programs before running them.

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pledged of $200,000 goal

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  • Pledge $15 or more
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    4 backers

    Want to show your support for the SB-1, but not ready to build one just yet? Donate $15 or more and you will receive a stamped thank you card. See full description for details.

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  • Pledge $250 or more
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    10 backers

    Get the SB-1 CNC Robot for your home or office. Each supporter will be sent a stamped thank you card to give this holiday season and the full SB-1 kit as soon as it is ready to ship.

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  • Pledge $300 or more
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    3 backers Limited (97 left of 100)

    Get a limited edition SB-1 CNC Robot, (100 units available) . You will be sent a stamped thank you card and a SB-1 kit signed by the ShoeboxCNC team. You will also receive a poster tube that includes copies of engineering drawings and concept sketches for the SB-1. (to be mailed before your SB-1 arrives).

    Estimated delivery:
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Funding period

- (30 days)