Remember this demonstration of what a modern 5 axis milling machine could do? Suppose you could downsize that mill and put it in your garage, … ah, the possibilities. Well, PocketNC is out to build just what you need, a personal size 5 axis CNC milling machine.
Marketers have a term for the dedicated hobbyists fueling the demand for high end equipment, “Prosumer,” or professional consumer. High end cameras are a great example, but of more interest to many of the readers here, machine tools previously found only in the really high end shops are moving down to the garage hobbyist who wants to stretch his abilities. The biggest difference is usually size, you can’t turn out some work because the machine simply isn’t big enough, but given time, those prosumer level machines, will begin to grow and the work you’ll be able to do will grow with it.
Husband and wife, Matt and Michelle Hertel are working on PocketNC. They’re machinists and mechanical engineers with the goal of bringing 5 axis milling to the dedicated hobbyist market. There’s a growing number of enthusiasts working with CNC at home, we’ve covered some great examples before, but instead of having to assemble everything on your own, they’re working to sell the machine as a finished piece.
While some guys will look at this and say, “yeah, but what about the software,” I think the open source possibilities may very well begin to offer solutions once a mill is available. It’s just a matter of time.
While many are still waiting for the 3D printing revolution to become practical and useful, we may see hobby level machines like this making bigger inroads into the home shop. This mill is too small to turn out big pieces, but when you have a mill, programmers can write software, hobbyists can learn how 5 axis milling works and the whole field begins to grow rapidly. It’s the foot in the door to the 5 axis world. Very cool.