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.


  1. Jeremy says:

    There’s another demo video that shows off a much more refined version of the app that supports shapes, etc, found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLpZSTjCVJE

  2. Bergo says:

    a bit of a better video showing what it can do: http://youtu.be/vLpZSTjCVJE

  3. Th3badwolf says:

    awesome app,what tablet is that?

  4. Bergo says:

    Samsung galaxy tab, from google io

  5. jaded says:

    So how does “shake to undo” work on that thing? :-)

  6. josh says:

    Sweet project!

    I’d avoid breathing that MDF dust, the stuff is pretty toxic.

  7. Ryan says:

    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.

  8. JP says:

    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.

  9. KanchoBlindside says:

    Engrish again…*sigh*

    Oh well, its a sign of a good coder if you screw up your sentences or can’t spell.

  10. KanchoBlindside says:

    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).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96,615 other followers