'Apple' CNC

A sarrus linkage drawing machine constructed from reclaimed cardboard. 

This 'Apple' CNC expands upon the Cardboard mMTM Project and utilizes the Gestalt Machine Control Framework. The Apple CNC machine is a multipurpose linear motion stage that requires significantly less hardware than previous instantiations and utilizes a globally available material, Apple IMac boxes. 



The goal of the Modular Machines that Make project is to enable people worldwide to create personal automation tools. Machines that address a particular need, personal interest, or curiosity. Our hardware and software are released under Open Source Licenses and made available online, but these projects have not yet been universally available because of limited access to hardware. Simply put, it is hard to find the same parts in different locations. 

Inspired by the work 'Foldafab' by two friends Sam Calisch and Will Langford. Above: sarrus linkage machine prototype

Using cardboard was our first approach at universal availability because it is at its roots a democratic material. Cardboard is cheap, recyclable, easily modified with simple tools, and available everywhere. Two problems remained with the earlier machines, they required numerous hard to find parts (shafts, bushings, etc) and the composition of cardboard around the world varies WIDELY. With Apple CNC I worked backwards; "begin with a material that is globally available then utilize a mechanism that can be made from that material alone". The Apple CNC machine coopts Apple's global supply chain and quality control strategies, to deliver a simple CNC tool worldwide.


So dig around in a dumpster or linger behind an Apple Store, there's bound to be an IMAC box ready to be reincarnated! 

Geometric transformations of the sarrus linkage when actuated. 
Sarrus linkage combined with a rotary table to create a simple drawing machine.

Follow the below instructions to make a sarrus machine. Look here to learn more about the control system, electronics, and actuators. 

Step one
Step two
Step three

Download the parts for the Sarrus Drawing Machine here

Remember dashed lines are scored lines, and solid lines are cut all the way through.
Carefully cut parts, it is possible, just takes patience! 
Apple CNC assembly steps. Each part should be glued, clamped, and cured before proceeding.
Geometric transformations of the sarrus linkage.
Since this is a 2 axis machine, there is no way to raise the pen off the paper. Using TSP optimization I found ways of drawing images with a single line. 
Single line drawing of a goat! 

The Modular Machines that Make project is a collaborative project born out of the 'Machines that Make Project' inside the Center for Bits and Atoms at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Current research also sponsored by the MIT - SUTD Collaboration and International Design Center.

Your turn! Make a machine!

Single line drawing of Nadya!