Frank the CNC Router

IMG_0070
Frank is a CNC router.

A Shopbot by brand. A tireless worker, he's the cornerstone of our fabrication studio.

Technically he's a PRT96 4G with a 2.2 HP spindle, in-house designed metal base, and complex eight-zone vacuum hold-down system. While he's one generation behind the PRS, due to the 4G brain transplant he received he cuts just as fast as his younger brother, the newer PRS. He's a Gantry Style Three-Axis CNC Router with Stepper Motors on a rack-and-pinion system with a 4' 6" x 9' x 6" range of travel.

IMG_1668

'CNC' stands for 'Computer Numeric Control', an old term that comes from automation efforts left over from WWII. That's right, Frank's great-great-great grandfather traced metal templates to guide a cutting torch through plate steel for the War.

It's called a 'Gantry' style due to the fact that the whole top rolls back and forth, like a gantry crane, over the top of the cutting bed. The Steppers are huge, powerful precision electric motors that 'step' a hundredth of an inch per pulse of power sent to them. They drive Frank's cutting tool in the x, y, and z directions at up to 16 inches per second, and can do so in all three directions at the same time (so it's full 3D motion).

If we took the length of all the edges of things Frank has cut out since he went to work for us in late 2005, and measured that out on the ground, he would be more than halfway to LA by now. But we're glad he's here instead, working tirelessly to make the world a more interesting place.