…Matt, Michelle, Gary, Duane and Bannor from Pocket NC have always been tinkerers and enjoy pursuing projects from their homes. After searching long and hard for a personal desktop mill, Matt and his team turned to the Sitara-processor-based BeagleBone Black to design and build a milling machine for themselves. Thus, the Pocket NC P5 was born!
“We saw an amazing opportunity for creativity that could open up if we had the ability to make real parts for projects and prototyping from our house,” said Matt, the ‘inventor captain’ from Pocket NC. “Three and a half years ago we embarked on the journey to bring a sophisticated milling machine to the masses.”
The Pocket NC P5’s subtractive manufacturing process starts with a solid piece of material and carves out the desired part according to computer generated tool paths. Compared to 3D printing, milling offers a much wider variety of possible materials to use (including metals and wood), which produces stronger finished parts.
Pocket NC P5 is driven by the LinuxCNC distribution Machine Kit running on a BeagleBone Black. The 5-axis machine utilizes precision linear and rotary bearings, stepper motors and an NSK spindle with quick change capabilities and brushless servo direct drive.
“We chose the BeagleBone Black for its compact size and functionality,” Matt said. “It’s powerful enough to drive all five axes of our machine; and it offers many GPIO pins and fast PRU pins. The features on the board gave us hope that we could bring desktop machining into the 21st century.” …
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