While not UAV specific, CNC and related tools play a large part in the industry both with manufacturers and also operators for creating custom parts and pieces. We make extensive use of out MakerBot Replciator 2 3D printer for various mounts and components on our systems and couldn’t imagine living without it.
On episodes #14 of the Multirotor Podcast the guys mentioned a new and interesting Desktop Manufacturing Systems from Stepcraft. This is a very unique new take on desktop CNC and the product is really a core system that can be utilized as a traditional CNC for plastic, wood, and soft metals such as aluminum, but also can be setup as a 3D printer, vinyl cutter, engraver, plotter among a few other uses as well.
Become an expert and customize computer based workpieces to real models. With a suitable drawing program, such as CorelDRAW ® or the open source software Inkscape, you can create a work file with which you then control the desktop CNC/3D-System: Accurate, efficient and reproduced as often as you want. The workpiece materials are virtually unlimited: Using the STEPCRAFT system and optional accessories/tools, materials like wood, (balsa and plywood as well as hardwoods), thermoplastics, polystyrene such as Styrofoam ®, EPS and Depron, ABS, polyethylene, polypropylene (EPP), Lexan ®, Plexiglas ®, some elastomers / thermosets, mixed materials, such as DIBOND ® or electronic boards, to carbon / carbon and non-ferrous metals (aluminum, brass or copper) can be processed.
The quality looks to be very good and it is a nice clean design, not your typical cheap Chinese level, and pricing seems competitive compared to similar systems, staring at around $900USD. The unit comes in a few different sizes with approximate working area from 300mm up to 600mm.
The parent company is based out of Germany and currently looks to be expanding to resellers in the US and other regions.
We have not used or seen the system first hand so cannot speak to specifics on it, however it definitely looks like an interesting product worth investigating for those in the market for a new CNC setup.
If you have seen or used the Stepcraft we would love to hear your comments.