Extreme finger painting with a router

Most of the time, CNC machines are used for very precise and exacting. There is another way that allows for a more “hands on” approach to routers and mills that allows for a lot more creativity and freedom. The touchCNC these guys whipped up allows anyone to finger paint with a friggin router.

From the forum post the guys sent in, they wrote a simple Android app for a tablet that allows for router control via a touch interface. There are three parts to the software. An Android app sends finger positions to a java server running on the CNC computer. This server dumps gcode into a text file. A vbscript inside the router software keeps reading from the specified file. With all this, finger movements are translated directly into machine movements.

The controls are fairly simple, like a real-life representation of Microsoft Paint. Of course there’s a ‘tap GOTO’ command that moves the router to a specified position. The router bit is lowered onto the work piece with a ‘long tap’ and stays lowered until the finger is released.

You can check out the code for touchCNC, but the guys are working on a few additional features like converting the tablets gyro output to gcode. Until then, enjoy the videos the guys posted after the break.

12 thoughts on “Extreme finger painting with a router

    1. I’m with Josh on this one,
      hook up an old vacuum cleaner with the mouth next to the drill :) much better for cleaning things up in the end.

  1. Quite right. The next addition we’ve got planned for the machine is a dust collection system. For now, we all wear masks when doing any significant cutting.

  2. So…. reading the headline I feared this would be some sort of horrific “Scared Straight” or “Blood on the Highway” story about router safety.
    Thankfully I was wrong. I would much rather do this type of “Extreme finger painting with a router” than what my imagination conjured up.

  3. Great project, by the way. I bet if you’d used the Amazon Kindle you’d get a different outcome (Not happy with mine at all).

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