The FabSpace tool set is based on the FabLab model pioneered by Neil Gershenfeld at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms. It consists of a CNC router, a laser cutter, a CNC milling machine, a 3D printer, a mini-milling machine, a vinyl cutter, and the computers and software to drive these tools. The thought is with these tools, you should be able to make most anything. Below are the specific models of tools that we will have at FabSpace. Click here if you would like to learn more about how we chose these tools for FabSpace.
CNC Router – Camaster SR-48 Stinger III
The Stinger III CNC is an Industrial Grade CNC Router that can cut up to 4′ x 8′ sheets of plywood. The Stinger III is constructed with a welded steel frame and industrial quality precision bearings with hardened steel rails on each axis, giving it a smooth and rigid travel at top speeds. The Stinger III open table design of the machine gives the operator unrestricted access from multiple sides of the router.
Each Stinger III comes with a control PC that runs Windows 7 PRO and has a 19” flat panel monitor. This control PC is preloaded with WinCNC (an industrial grade control software) and is tested with the machine it will be shipped with. The Stinger III also comes with Vectric’s V-Carve Pro design software, complete with nesting, making it a truly turnkey solution. In addition, Camaster routers have a very active community forum where users can get great advice. Click here to learn more about the Stinger III router.
Laser Cutter – Epilog Fusion 40 – 60 Watt Laser
The laser cutter is probably the most popular tool in any makerspace. With the ability to cut and etch a wide variety of materials, the projects that can be made with a laser cutter are limited mostly by the users imagination. Epilog has been making industry standard lasers for years. The Fusion 40 is both their latest and largest laser cutter with many advanced features – but most importantly, it has a 28″ x 40″ cutting bed which greatly increases its usability for large projects. Click here to learn more about the Epilog Fusion 40 laser cutter.
If you would like to see examples of all the cool things people are making with a laser cutter, check out The Laser Cutter blog for inspiraton.
3D Printer – Makerbot Replicator 2
3D printing has made great advances in the last couple of years and represents technology that will quickly grow more powerful. Think of what inkjet printers were like when they first appeared and compare that to the photo quality printers we have now. Consumer level 3D printers are like the early inkjets now, but in a few short years what you will be able to do with them should be nothing short of amazing. It is a technology everyone should become familiar with.
There are many competing designs for consumer 3D printers – we have chosen the Makerbot Replicator 2 because it is a well developed platform with users all over the world. In addition, Makerbot also has a marketplace, Thingiverse, where you can find pre-existing 3D designs to download and print. You can modify these designs to suit your need and even upload your designs to share with the Thingiverse community. The Makerbot Replicator 2 has a print area of 11″(x) x 6″(y) x 6″(z) and a 100 micron print resolution. Click here to learn more about the Makerbot Replicator 2.
Beginning in Sept. 2014, FabSpace will host a monthly 3D printing meetup. Click here to learn more!
CNC Mill – Roland MDX-20 Milling Machine and Scanner
Unlike a 3D printer which creates items by adding material, a milling machine creates items by removing, or subtracting material. This makes it ideal for a variety of product design tasks from model and jewelry making to molds, rapid prototyping, small lot production and package design. It can also be used to engrave custom pcb boards for circuit design.
The Roland MDX-20 is capable of milling items up to 8″(x) x 6″(y) x 2 3/8″ (z), and it can work with a number of materials including jeweler’s wax, resins, chemical wood, acrylic, and even light metals such as brass and aluminum. If you replace the cutting head with a probe, the Roland MDX-20 can be turned into a precision 3D scanner, capable of scanning almost anything including soft objects like clay and fruit, even glass, that conventional contact scanners find very difficult. Click here to learn more about the Roland MDX-20 Milling Machine.
Vinyl Cutter – Roland GX-24 Vinyl Cutter
The vinyl cutter is a general purpose machine that cuts material with precision. It can be used for any number of projects – signs, stencils, decals, patterns, copper traces for circuit design, graphics for your car, and more. The Roland GX-24 can cut material 24″ wide and as long as you want. Click here to learn more about the Roland GX-24 Vinyl Cutter.