Makerarm - A Digital Fabrication Tool to Make Anything
The 3D printing area is the biggest selling point for me. With a 31.5 inch diameter and a 15.7 inch reach the Makerarm expects a build area of around 378 square inches as a semicircle. The arm can build up to 10 inches tall. ABS printing can be done but will require a heated bed, all current testing has been done with PLA. An option can also be purchased to have a full 360 degrees of motion to create a larger build area. Resin 3D printing can also be done with a 5 x 5 x 10 inch build area, 50-100 micron resolution and a 3000 to 8000 millisecond curing time. The arm also levels so that you can print or build on any flat surface – the campaign video shows the arm working on a tilted piece of acrylic.
A 500 milliwatt laser is shown etching into a leather wallet in the video and plastic, wood, and cardboard can also be engraved. Gripper arms, magnets, screw driving bits or suction cups can be used to manipulate objects and assemble components.
Using the Makerarm as a CNC mill shows a 20,000 rpm spindle speed and a 0.2 mm pass depth to mill into aluminum. Chucks up to 5/32” can be used. A soldering attachment runs at 60 watts, feeds between 14 and 35 millimeters per second and can use solder between 0.8 and 1.2 millimeter diameter.
It’s great to see inventors who need a product create the product. As makers in Austin, Texas Zaib and Azam worked with several fabrication tools that they felt were bulky, expensive and not intuitive to use. I really like the idea that the arm can be used as an industrial assembly robot as well as a fabrication tool. Negatives for me are the fact that each operation requires its own head ($49-199 per new head), and the fact that units won’t be available until October 2016. This is a well presented Kickstarter of a great product that I hope will meet its funding goal and ship units before next Christmas.