The Biggest CNC Machine Can Build A House


If it’s true that those with the biggest toys win, a few lucky engineers over at EEW Maschinenbau in Germany just earned a gold medal; they have access to a gigantic CNC machine that is large enough to machine a house.

This machine was originally built to manufacture molds for fiberglass wind turbines that are over 50 meters in length. Because building a 50-meter-long CNC machine wasn’t overkill enough, engineers at EEW Maschinenbau settled on a design that is 151 meters long, or almost 500 feet. Of course the HSM-Modal, as this machine is called, can only make parts 151 meters long in the x dimension. The y-axis has a span of 9 meters while the z-axis goes from 0 to 4.25 meters off the ground. Large enough to build cars, ship hulls, and even houses out of a single block of material.

There’s a bunch of technical documentation on the EEW website and a PDF going over the specs. Not only can this gigantic mill machine molds much like an embiggened desktop CNC router, this thing can do drilling, sawing, grinding, plasma cutting, and even extrusion just like a Makerbot.

If you’ve got the cash, EEW Maschinenbau will build you one of these gigantic machines. We can’t imagine how much that would cost, though.

via the Adafruit blog

34 thoughts on “The Biggest CNC Machine Can Build A House

  1. That’s great, but where do they get the 150m x 9m x 4.5m solid block of aluminum? :P

    If they’re carving a ship, do they laminate a bunch of rough-cut lumber into the general shape of the hull and then let the CNC machine carve it out to smaller tolerances?

    I seem to remember seeing a large 5-axis CNC machine for prototyping car bodies a couple years back. It would carve the shape out of a huge block of styrofoam, then apply a layer of some sort of resin (in a manner quite similar to a 3d printer), and then machine the resin to the final shape. The results were pretty impressive.

    (a search for “cnc car” on youtube raises a number of results)

      1. Everything if you are willing to pay twice or three times as much when it comes to raw materials.

        I suspect though that one could cast a block of aluminum this large given the right timing and access to oh, an entire aluminum refinery and a very large heated ingot casting mold.

      2. “Everything if you are willing to pay twice or three times as much when it comes to raw materials.”

        Sometimes it’s worth it, though, just for their website’s excellent search tools.

  2. Large enough to build cars, ship hulls, and even houses out of a single block of material.

    Cars? You mean the skin of a car. The interior and all working parts cannot be built with this rather impressive in scale machine.

  3. The 150m/min (5,905.5 in/min) feed rate sounds impressive, but I needed to put it into perspective for myself. So I did some math. I have a 39″x25″ CNC. At that feed rate, it would go from corner to cornet in less than half a second. Wow.

    Also, that’s a fairly massive tool head. Changing direction must be an issue at that speed. I can only assume they have some serious ramp up/down velocity limits in the controller.

  4. I already had the opportunity to have something milled on this machine (a 4m long mould for a solar-car fibre-body) and can tell: yep, its impressiv!
    The rough cut for the styrene-mould is done in incredible speed. the milling tool (200mm long) just rushes through the material. At the end we found ourselfes snow-shoveling in mid-june (they actually use snow shovels :) )
    The construction is grat, too. some of the beams are made from solid carbon fiber tubes.
    The moulds for ship hulls are indeed made by building a wooden under-construction, that is covered with a kind of putty / spackle, wich is then milled zu finish.
    a big plus is the modularity: the machine CAN be put to 150m of lenght, by just expending it. the y and z axis are fixed in dimension.

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