Affordable CNCs For Brazilian Makers: The Protoptimus CNC Router

CNC & Machining
Affordable CNCs For Brazilian Makers: The Protoptimus CNC Router

Last Version The cost to import and ship CNC routers to other countries can be very expensive. Jeferson Simões is trying to lower those costs for the people of Brazil. Using a Kickstarter-like site called Catarse, Jeferson has set out to raise funding to build two models of CNC routers; Protoptimus P1 and P2. The site is in Portuguese, use Google to translate.

Jeferson Simões and Protoptimus

As it’s very expensive to import CNC machines into Brazil, Protoptimus’ mission is to make CNC machines available to the Brazilian people at a cost that is comparable to machines available in other countries. Unfortunately for all you CNC lovers out there, the current Catarse campaign only allows Brazilian backers.

Both Protoptimus P1 and P2 feature the same rigid chassis and a work area of 360x360x100mm (14.2×14.2×3.9in). An Arduino Duo and CNC shield combination handle the motion control using GRBL. The major differences between the machines are the included spindle, X/Y resolution, and the size of XYZ stepper motors.

Here’s some photos of the prototyping in progress:

For those of you who don’t read Portuguese (the specs on the crowdfunding site are in an image) Jeferson Simões has provided the specs in English:

Protoptimus P1 Protoptimus P2
Footprint* 520x520x430mm
Cutting Area 360x360x100mm
structure / linear motion OpenBuilds V-Slot System, with custom plates and brackets.
Motor Size (4) Nema 17 – 68 by sparkfun (4) Nema 23 125 by sparkfun
tractions XY GT2 2mm belts by OpenBuilds GT2 3mm belts by OpenBuilds
traction Z Leadscreew by OpenBuilds Leadscreew by OpenBuilds
Controller Arduino Uno + GRBL Arduino Uno + GRBL
Power Supply (4) A4988 by Pololu (4) DRV8825 by Pololu
Fonte 24V 4A 36V 9A
Cut 130w rotary tool 500W DC spindle
Collet Size 1/8″ ER11
*Footprint with the ganrty at the Y ends of course: 520x560x430mm. For the users that choose build an enclosure

Machining with the Protoptimus:

The P1 is primarily aimed at hobbyists. As such, the P1 spindle is a smaller 130w Dremel. The P2’s stronger X/Y motors combined with a 500w spindle allow it to make most cuts in about half the time compared to the P1. The P1 leadscrews, on both the X and Y axis, have slightly different pitch which results in a lower X/Y resolution (.007 difference).

Protoptimus P2
Protoptimus P2 CNC Router

Both machines will allow the user to cut through light metals without too much trouble. If you plan to do lots of metal work, I’d personally opt for the P2 with the more powerful spindle. The Dremel on the P1 should have no issue cutting through softer materials like as wood, plastic and foam quickly.

Protoptimus P2 CNC cutting metal
Protoptimus P2 CNC cutting metal

Jeferson originally created this machine to make positives for vacuum formed candy molds for his mother.

My mother and my aunt make sweets for parties and weddings, and their customers were asking for personalized chocolates. For this, they needed a way to create a custom template in chocolate form, for use in the manufacture of a forminha, which would then be used to shape the chocolate itself.

The project looks promising and Jeferson’s campaign still has a few days left to hit the target funding amount. Hopefully he will be successful in making this exciting tool available to the people of Brazil!

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I'm a maker living in Ann Arbor, MI! I enjoy listening to music, playing disc golf, and experimenting with rapid prototyping tools.

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