3D printing technology holds the amazing potential to change the way we make things – however most 3D printers are limited to creating objects out of plastic. Enter the Mebotics Microfactory, which it claims to be the world’s first machine shop in a box. The new Microfactory lets you 3D print to your heart’s content, but it also includes a mill to carve and etch different types of materials – including wood, metal, and printed circuit boards – into any shape you please.
The Mebotics Microfactory is a customizable device from a team of makers out of Boston’s Artisans’ Asylum. The unit is a bit larger than your usual 3D printer, but it’s still small enough to fit on top of a table or desk. It includes a 3D printer that can fabricate objects as large as 12 by 12 by 6 inches at a 0.35 millimeter resolution.
The real star of the Microfactory is its CNC mill, which is a computer-controlled shaping machine. It’s basically an automated Dremel that can accurately etch wooden creations and even mill metal into shapes you would normally need heavy machining tools to achieve. The Microfactory is also equipped with a miniature shop vacuum to catch all the sawdust and flecks of etched material from flying around, making it a safe, closed work environment.
The Microfactory also has an on-board computer that runs open-source Linux software that connects to a phone or tablet. This enables you to remotely send the machine designs via Wi-Fi and come home to a completed project without having to lift a finger.
Of course, all this functionality comes with a big price tag – $3,495 to be exact. The Mebotics Microfactory is certainly an ambitious project but it’s not completely beyond the realm of reality, as it uses all preexisting technology. If you want to pick one up or help to realize the project you can fund Mebotic’s $1 million Kickstarter.
Images © Mebotics