Designing a self-replicating milling machine

For his senior design project at Swarthmore College, [Julian] decided to build a metalworking equivalent to the RepRap. [Julian]‘s final project is a self-replicating milling machine, and hopefully giving some serious metalworking power to all the makers with CNC routers and RepRaps out there.

At first glance, [Julian]‘s mill doesn’t look like something you would find in a machine shop. The machine is built around a tetrahedral machine tool frame, giving the machine an amazing amount of stiffness with the added bonus of a degree of self-alignment. The spindle and motor are off-the-shelf units, but the entire bed assembly is made by [Julian] himself.

Right now, [Julian] still considers his project a very early prototype; there’s still a bit of chatter issues he’s working out, and the cost of the finished machine – about $1200, not including many hours of fine tuning – means it isn’t as competitive as other options. Still, [Julian] made a mill from scratch, and that’s nothing to scoff at.