build a cnc drawing machine


Prerequisites: None, but must bring laptop with following software downloaded: Arduino IDE, Rhino 5 Evaluation (available through MIT).

Load: Daily 6-hour classes over one week.

Time Outside Class: None


Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machines are everywhere. Since the invention of the first CNC milling machine at MIT in 1952, engineers are able to automate different “tools” with speed and precision - CNC laser and plasma cutting, milling and turning, welding by robotic arms, sheet metal bending, spinning, punching, fiber placement, assembly line pick and place, etc.

Theory lectures combined with lab sessions introduce the mechanical and electrical systems in a typical CNC machine (i.e: a laser cutter). Students (in groups of two) will build a 2-axis CNC pen plotter and program the machines to make drawings that will be exhibited. Students are encouraged to come up with ideas to modify the machine for other novel applications, such as CNC milling, rotary axis, paint brush etc.