It’s billed as “the world’s first machine shop in a box”, and it very well might be. The Mebotics Microfactory is an enclosed unit that holds not only a CNC cutter but also four (yes, FOUR) extruders on its 3D printing head.
The idea is to produce a portable, safe-for-the-office small manufacturing facility. With the Microfactory you’ll be able to not only produce 3D printed objects, but also cut and etch materials, meaning you can make circuit boards, for example.
Made by four makers from Massachusetts who wanted to solve the problem of owning making equipment without having a workshop. The Microfactory’s strong, enclosed housing enables use of the device almost anywhere you have power.
CNC machines are inherently dangerous; if they can cut material, they can cut you, too. Mebotics recognizes this and has included a variety of features that should make the machine safe to use, such as door lockouts, covered belts, integrated vacuum ports, etc.
The Microfactory’s 12″x12″x6″ work volume should be sufficient for many projects. While the milling spindle is a healthy 300W, there aren’t many specifications for the 3D printing component. We understand they have two heaters, each associated with two extrusion paths. In other words, you can print up to four colors in sequence. One restriction is that because the pairs of extrusion paths share heaters, you must match the material type within each pair. We’d imagine a typical configuration could be Red/Blue PLA in one pair and Black/White ABS in the other, for example.
While the initial version of the Microfactory is very capable, they designers have plans to add a variety of additional features in future versions, such as: wireless network connectivity, food extruder options, interactive machine control and even metal 3D printing.
The Microfactory is now available on Kickstarter for USD$4500.