Fitting a CNC machine, 3D printer, and vinyl cutter in a suitcase

Maker Faire NY is awash with new and interesting computer controlled tools, but the most unusual so far appears to be Popfab, a combination router, 3D printer, and vinyl cutter able to collapse down into a suitcase.

Popfab is the brainchild of [Nadya Peek] and [Ilan Moyer] of the MIT CADLAB. With interchangeable heads for routing PCBs, 3D printing, and vinyl cutting. A conventional machine of this capabilities would have motors all over the place, but [Ilan] used a CoreXY system to make the stepper motors stationary relative to the frame of the machine.

The electronics are standard Printrboard and Pronterface fare, but it’s still a remarkable build that also fits into a suitcase.

Pictures of the machine, the XY system (good luck wrapping your head around that, but I can tell you it relies on the differential movement of the two motors) and the lovely [Nadya] holding up the plastic extrusion head. We’ll get a video up tomorrow. after the break


25 thoughts on “Fitting a CNC machine, 3D printer, and vinyl cutter in a suitcase

    1. having suitcase filled up with electronics and digging through it on the airport may not get you biggest fan club amongst the TSA grunts…

  1. Such a device interests me.

    Really have been wanting/needing a 3D printer as of late and the idea of one (assuming it has a decent print quality) that can also etch circuit boards fills me with happy :)

  2. Such a device interests me.

    Really have been wanting/needing a 3D printer as of late and the idea of one (assuming it has a decent print quality) that can also etch circuit boards fills me with happy :)

    Edit: hopefully won’t doublepost forgot the C :P

  3. Not come across that CoreXY/H Bot cartesian setup before – really neat & elegant – the guts from a handful of old inkjets (including, it looks like it, the bronze linear bearings from the printhead carriages) & yr just about in business..

  4. I am wondering why that platform was chosen. Maybe I am not understanding it but doesn’t it limit the useable build space. If the head moved instead of the platform couldn’t you make larger objects? idk. Other than that this is an excellent idea. A portable cnc and 3d printer would be enormously useful to many many people. They should kickstart this thing.

  5. Wow like a 3″x5″ work area…thats amazing. What decal is this gonna cut? A sticker for your hand after you get a shot, better not be using a drag knife because they dont cut small details.

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