Yep, time for something completely different! Is it? Not for me, although the relation with Domotica might be less obvious. Last Tuesday I attended the 2nd evening of the Mantis workshop which is held at ProtoSpace.
Protospace is not just a standard laboratory; it is based on the FabLab concept of MIT professor Neil Gershenfeld. It’s a typical place where designers, inventors, artists, students and educational institutions can meet and bring their ideas to life.
What we are building is a modified version of the Mantis-9 CNC Mill, which is described in detail here. The workshop consists of a total of 4 evenings, so half of the workshop is already over. Time really flies! The construction still needs quite an amount of work, so that’s why we were given some ‘homework’ in the form of soldering the PCB that will be used to control the Mantis. This leaves more time to spend on the construction during workshop hours. The PCB that will be used to control the Mantis CNC Mill is the Ultimaker Board, which is also used in the Ultimaker project. The PCB and a bag full of loose components should result in the following:
This PCB is in fact a large Arduino MEGA shield, cause that’s what is also needed to control the Mantis – the Arduino MEGA will act as the ‘link’ between the PC and the Mantis.
What do I need this Mantis CNC Mill for?
Nothing in particular, but a lot of things! And I’m sure the rest of the family will come up with enough ideas too, when they get a notion of what you can do with the Mantis. The first thing I want to accomplish is PCB milling. I hate experimental PCB’s and volumes are too low to have PCBs made at an affordable price (tooling costs…). The Mantis looks like a great way to get around this ‘problem’. From there we’ll see what the next focus will be. And the main reason of course why I enlisted for this workshop: it’s lots of fun to build it!