Leading up to our trade show period we decided it would be great to have a mini CNC on our stand to use as a pull to attract people to the stand, and to also demonstrate how our software can connect to CNC machines (even little machines built in a shed in an Australian backyard).

Building the mini CNC used many maker technologies, including open source software to control the machine, open source control boards, small education PC and 3D printing. It was a great learning experience for me.  I have worked on commercial CNC’s for years and that helped with the build, but the access to all this great open source tech and the forums and videos on how to use and implement it was great.

So what does all this mean for commercial use?

Well, for Soft Tech it gives us the ability to demonstrate how our software can interact with physical objects, not just displayed as an image on a PC screen. So commercially, this is a great marketing and technical tool for any business.

For the window industry?

I would not recommend building a CNC yourself to process material at a commercial level. But there are many other smaller opportunities for this kind of tech. Raspberry PI’s are very cheap simple PC’s.  They could be used as simple PC’s when receiving goods or for other simple PC tasks.  Check out this article on how to install Windows Software on Raspberry Pi using Wine.

Arduino’s are also great little electronic platforms that can control motors and other objects. I could see these being used to convert old hand operated length stops into automated length stops. And, 3D printing is another great little advancement in additive manufacturing. They are great to validate design concepts before spending big money on getting a final product manufactured. For example fixing brackets, lugs, gussets and so on.

Like everything there is a place for everything and everything should be in its place. But having all this technology accessible really opens up ideas on how you could improve your business with introducing little bits of tech.