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The Grow CNC, a portable CNC router system:

I am the James Dyson Fellow at the Royal College of Art’s InnovationRCA. I have developed a new type of portable full scale flat bed CNC router. The design is aimed at professional power tool users and maker/hackers alike. The design is modular in nature, and can be bench or material mounted, bridging the gap between stationary CNC machines and portable hand-held power tools. I have built a fully working prototype that features its own intuitive software and iPhone app.

John Baichtal

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

  • J. McGirr

    It’s a neat concept. What is the holding torque? I am concerned with the hanging armature there may be some warping under stress, not sure how well that aluminum extrusion and whatever bearing block you are using will handle it?

    Great choice in music :)

  • RickJesmer

    I’d like to buy that CNC but I don’t have much money & you probably wont a lot for it so i like it.

  • Michael Warren

    HI. Im the designer of Grow. I will try and answer some questions.

    J. McGirr – Grow is designed for routing woods, plastics and other similar materials. I have cut Aluminium but you need to use an appropriate machine strategy (I found .25mm cuts at 1500mm/m works well) . Like most CNCs machining strategy affects the end quality. I have tested the machines and it can cut 12mm deep with a 16mmø cutter in hard wood (beech)
    But accuracy of .1mm can be achieved with smaller cuts.

    The machine adopts a well known high quality brand of precision profile bearings and ball screw.

    RickJesmer – My aim is to sell the machine as a complete kit for around £4k (About $6K)
    It is designed to be a professional tool and is well built for daily use

  • Geoff Maddox

    This is really clever, and impressively built. Well done, Michael!

  • Ron Johnson

    The video is choppy here with my bandwidth. Noted in your summary someting about an apple product being involved? That’s definitely a strike. Have you considered something along the line of the Raspberry Pi? I mean if you wanna sew up the software in this system you can still do so, but supporting Apple is bad news.

  • Michael Warren

    Hi Ron. Im the designer of Grow. I half agree the control software only runs on windows at the moment. It is almost impossible to use a CNC with a Mac at the moment because no CAM or hardware supports it. The pendant app is for the iPhone but I will be providing an android version as well. I currently run the machine off bootcamp on my a MacBook Pro. I love Pi, but If I go down the integrated route I would probably go for a dedicated CNC motion controller.
    All the best

  • marcuswolschon

    So where are the plans to make one?
    Isn’t this MAKE magazine?

  • sean

    How do you learn howto use one of these?

  • Michael Warren

    Hi marcuswolschon and sean
    Im the designer of Grow Michael. This design is is not open source. It is a commercial project that aims to bring CNC to as many people as possible. I think John Baichtal thought his readers would find it a interesting as a tool not a Make project. But I don’t want to speak for John.

    The software I intend bundle with Grow will be very intuitive and easy to learn. But Its top secret at the moment.

  • sean

    Hello Michael, thanks for the reply!

    I have been thinking of all kinds of cool uses for something like this. for 6k i might even be able to buy one.

    I am very nervous about the learning curve on this machine though. Is there a website or news letter for this project?

  • Michael Warren

    Hi Sean.
    Yes there is some information.

    The software and interface I am developing is very intuitive and easy to learn.

  • Juan José pareja

    Estoy interesado en comprar este Ruter cnc portable, como me puedo poner en contacto con vosotros?