It’s a bit late – though not as late as our actual machines are for being ready (they should have been drilling PCBs in time for last August’s BuildBrighton Guitar Stompbox Workshop) – but we’ve had an exciting last-minute entry from Robot Steve.

Steve’s taken the simplicity of our design but coupled it with the super-low cost option (and ease of construction) of a 3D printed solution. We think it looks amazing.

Using a servo for the drill plunge, this design keeps things about as simple as they possibly can be. The rails are structural as well as functional (carrying the carriage for the x/z axes) and the tiny steppers are mounted directly onto the moving parts. Rather than mess about with linear bearings, Steve has gone for the simpler (and cheaper) design used in many inkjet printers – greased rails and precision cut nylon blocks sliding along them!

We think the best thing about this design is the relatively low part count. Once you take away the cutting bed (a piece of cheap acrylic or some mdf) and the rails, you’re left with a handful of cheaply produced 3d printed parts.

Steve sent over some early prototype photos. It actually looks better in real life!