CNC Routing Comes to the Jobsite

ShopBot’s Handibot—the first portable CNC “robot”. Note the Makita rouer motor that is used to do the cutting.

The Handibot is controlled via the user’s tablet computer which is carried onboard when the machine is in motion. The latest build of the Handibot has the tablet slot located on the front of the unit for easier access (instead of on the back as shown). In the future, the tool will also be able to be controlled wirelessly with a variety of devices.

The yellow plate and outboard motor attached to the Handibot constitute the “crawler” device which moves the unit along a toothed steel track. The track is available in lengths up to 20 feet which makes the tool capable of precision cutting on some pretty big work pieces.

The Handibot is shown here cutting out a stair stringer. To keep the waste pieces from coming loose and possibly jamming up the machine’s movement, small tabs of material are left in the kerf so the pieces can be separated after the machine finishes its cutting path. [27] ShopBot’s stationary Desktop CNC machine is shown roughing out a violin back. When the board is flipped over, the machine will rout out the inverse of the profile, leaving a very thin curved piece of even thickness.

ShopBot’s stationary Desktop CNC machine is shown roughing out a violin back. When the board is flipped over, the machine will rout out the inverse of the profile, leaving a very thin curved piece of even thickness.

With an indexer —a lathe-type work holder—attached to the desktop unit, this violin neck was cut out in-the-round without the need for a more complicated 5-axis CNC machine.

Here's what the drag knife looks like when it's chucked into a CNC machine. Instead of spinning (like it would when it contained a router bit) the machine cuts by "dragging" the knife across the surface of the material to be cut. It can turn on a dime and make extremely precise cuts.

A Donek Drag Knife fitted into a CNC machine’s router or spindle allows a user to cut wood veneers, plastics, paper materials and more with high precision and ease. Useful for custom or production cutting of any material you can cut with a utility knife or fine-pointed hobby knife.

Four models of Donek Drag Knives are available in different shank sizes and cut-radius capabilities.

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