Jan 24, 2014

MTM Multifab multitool desktop manufacturing machine

MTM Multifab is truly multifunctional desktop manufacturing machine that was very innovative and ground breaking in the field of  DIY 3d printing when it was developed. Ultimaker, very well known and powerful 3d printer,  is based on this machine.
Multifab has several replaceable tool head options:

  • MACHINING SPINDLE, A high-speed (20K RPM) spindle supports light subtractive machining. The spindle can be constructed entirely from off-the-shelf compoents.
  • VINYL CUTTER, A razor blade tool which allows 2D cutting of sheet material. Some applications are flexible circuit boards, stickers, silkscreen masks, and more.
  • REPEATING PIPETTER, This fluid dispensing toolhead was created in collaboration with MIT's Innovations in International Health program, and has uses in automated biology research and disease diagnostics fabrication.
  • PLOTTER HEAD, A pen attached to the multifab can allow easy labeling of objects, caligraphy, etc...
  • 5 AXIS TRUNNION, This attachment permits 5-axis machining of components on the Multifab. Potential applications include variabl-helix screws, impellers, and 5-sided machining operations.
  • PLASTIC EXTRUDER, Based on the Rep-Rap project, this extrusion head will enable additive manufacturing in plastics such as ABS.



MTM Multifab 3d printing






























Here are some videos of Multifab in action writing and pipettering:





Demonstration of the MTM Multifab fitted with an auto-pipetting toolhead. The toolhead was designed with Amber Houghstow and Jose Gomez-Marquez of the MIT Innovations in International Health program, with the goal of automating production of XoutTB diagnostic assays. Perhaps it can also find a use in the DIY Bio community.
The MTM Multifab is part of the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms Machines That Make project.

Here is overview of Multifabs components, tools and development status:


http://mtm.cba.mit.edu/fabinabox/devmultifab.html

The instructions, plans and BOMs should be available for anyone who wants to build it, but all the files and documents links I tried on the site were broken. I hope it will be repaired soon, the public could benefit greatly with this machine.

Fab-in-a-Box


The Multifab is core machine of FAB in a Box framework system that should provide full digital fabrication environment that user could make at their home from simple parts. It contains:

Infrastructure. All of the key services which allow Fab-in-a-Box to be a cohesive toolset. These include the network, the box itself, power distribution, etc. It consist of the:

  1. VIRTUAL MACHINE ENVIRONMENT, The flexible Fab-in-a-Box machine control and interface environment.  
  2. THE NETWORK: FABNET, An RS485-based network is the nervous system of the toolset, which connects the "brain" - a laptop running control software - to the tools and sensors comprising Fab-in-a-Box. 
  3. THE SUITCASE, The suitcase is the heart of the matter. It is what contains the entire fab in a box project.

Multifab. A computer-controlled multipurpose fabrication tool. Work includes integration into the box, the xyz motion stage, and multiple toolheads to perform various fabrication tasks. Multifab has many subsystems, components and parts:

  1. XYZ GANTRY, The key component of the multifab tool is a high-speed and rigid xyz gantry capable of accomodating a wide range of fabrication processes.  
  2. 3-AXIS MOTION CONTROL, The multifab gantry is controlled by a networked controller board capable of controlling three stepper motor drivers simultaneously.  
  3. H-BRIDGE, This module is able to control the average voltage across a load, such as the spindle's DC motor, using a technique called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).  
  4. RC SERVO CONTROLLER, RC servos, typically found in radio controlled airplane models, use feedback to control the position of their output shaft. This controller can set the position of up to 8 servos, and is used in the auto-pipetter toolhead.  
  5. MACHINING SPINDLE, A high-speed (20K RPM) spindle supports light subtractive machining. The spindle can be constructed entirely from off-the-shelf compoents.  
  6. VINYL CUTTER, A razorblade tool which allows 2D cutting of sheet material. Some applications are flexible circuit boards, stickers, silkscreen masks, and more.  
  7. REPEATING PIPETTER, This fluid dispensing toolhead was created in collaboration with MIT's Innovations in International Health program, and has uses in automated biology research and disease diagnostics fabrication.
  8. PLOTTER HEAD, A pen attached to the multifab can allow easy labeling of objects, caligraphy, etc... 
  9. 5 AXIS TRUNNION, This attachment permits 5-axis machining of components on the Multifab. Potential applications include variabl-helix screws, impellers, and 5-sided machining operations. 
  10. 1-AXIS MOTION CONTROL, Additional axes can easily be simultaneously controlled by adding them onto the network. The disadvantage as compared to a multiple-axis controller is increased network load.
  11. PLASTIC EXTRUDER, Based on the Rep-Rap project, this extrusion head will enable additive manufacturing in plastics such as ABS.
  12. JOG DIAL, The multifab can be positioned by hand using a networked jog dial. This interface can also provide more complex control of parameters typically adjusted on the computer such as feed rate.

Other Fab. All other tools needed to make something. Examples are the soldering iron, hand tools, and programming interfaces.

  1. SOLDERING IRON, A soldering iron with temperature adjustment over the network.
  2. AUTO BINS, Parts bins which light up to indicate where a needed component is located. This could be part of a computer-assisted-stuffing project.
  3. FUME EXTRACTOR, A fume extractor with a ring of LED lights around its intake.
  4. IN-CIRCUIT PROGRAMMER, A network-attached microprocessor programmer.
  5. NETWORK BOOTLOADER, A bootloader which fetches programs over Fabnet.

Measurement. Networked instrumentation such as a multimeter and oscilloscope. This is one area which will hopefully expand greatly on the road.

  1. MULTIMETER, A multimeter which displays and records its readings on the Fab-in-a-Box laptop.
  2. OSCILLOSCOPE, An oscilloscope which displays and records its readings on the Fab-in-a-Box laptop.

Autodoc. Everything related to making it possible to document a project "without thought".


  1. EYE-FI CAMERA, A camera which wirelessly tranfers its time-stamped images to the Fab-in-a-Box auto-documentation software.
  2. RFID READER, Keeping track of which hand tools were used, and when, is made easy with an RFID reader.


Some of the components were never developed, and most of the building related file links can not be opened. Probably all the files are somewhere on the internet, it would be terrible if they get lost forever. I REALLY hope someone publishes them as open source soon.


Here is the Fab-in-a-Box website:

http://mtm.cba.mit.edu/fabinabox/

PDF presentation:

http://mtm.cba.mit.edu/fabinabox/fabinabox.pdf