[757labs] Desktop CNC Machine and Bots for Kids

Christopher Favreau cfavreau at fab-favreau.com
Tue Jan 11 09:40:07 EST 2011

Hi Everyone,
A couple of things...
I purchased the plans and built one of these:
It costs a little over $100 in parts less router, motors and electronics.   I have a $25 Harbor Freight trim router that works well.   The big hang up is the electronics which I have chosen to make.  I tried making a driver that works like the standard parallel port stepper drivers however the firmware isn't working right... so I am going with GRBL an AVR based G-Code interpreter.   I am in the middle of that work.
If you want an inexpensive CNC router this would be a good choice.  I was thinking about getting plans for this one too:
But it's Z travel is much smaller than the 13x13.  2" vs. 5" I think.
On the subject of Bristle bots...   While being small and rather energetic the parts are somewhat harder to come by than their larger versions just called vibro bots.  Basically they are a platform with legs and have a motor with an offset weight.   Make had a great article on how to build them.
Link: http://makeprojects.com/Project/Vibrobots/12/1
I think for young kids these are easier to make, easier to find parts for, and much more fun to customize.   I built 3 of them with my son (age 3 at the time).   Two 4 legged ones and 1 two legged one.   I used what ever I could get my hands on... motors from CD drives (the tray motor) or cheap RC cars or toys, Zip ties and nuts for offset weights... you can use pennies too.  Throw on some LEDs and switches for reversing and a pot for speed and it turns out to be really fun... although not as energetic as the bristlebots.   I found that throwing more voltage at it makes them more energetic though.
- Chris F>
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