Coolest thing I have seen all week

A group from MIT is working on developing “Smart Tools”. Watch this video of what is essentially a handheld CNC router

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Aaaaaand I want one.

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Yes, this is amazing. Love it!

The web site says they will be for sale next year. They do not have any cost information yet.

It apparently reads those domino looking shapes on the work space to know where the tool is in space.

Yeah, I was reading their site. That looks really cool. :smile:

This thing turns the person using it into the dumbest stepper motor connected to the device.


This is pretty cool, but what about z-axis depth control? Can I cut a pocket here? Varying adjacent pocket depths? I think this is nice technology, but I want more!!!

From what I can tell it looks like the user sets the depth of cut (the details are a bit vague). If you need multiple depths then you have multiple patterns.

I remember seeing an article about the MIT team that created this about 3 years ago.
I’m glad it finally made it to market.,378164

It has improved a lot of the last 3 years. That team has sure put a lot of time and effort into making the tool great. I hope the price point is low enough that it can be a successful product.

It looks a lot sleeker than the Handibot.

Not sure what I would do with it either. But I would not let stop me from buying one.

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It does look pretty awesome! I did a bit of searching and they show using it for inlays! It would be great for large stock that would fit on your CNC.

I can think of quite a few things, it’d be the most awesome thing ever for cutting PERFECT mid-board mortises, etc.

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Because that wouldn’t be HALF as cool. If I just wanted a good joint, I’d just use a Domino. :joy:

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I wouldn’t be so quick to call it a stupid idea. With this technology you basically have no limit on your work area. You could do huge embellishments on lets say a dinning room table. I think there is a lot of potential with this product and will be eagerly awaiting updates and I’m excited to see what people do with. There is definitely more talented and clever people out there and will do amazing things with technologies like this.

I can imagine that being used to do custom carvings on kitchen cabinets and drawers after installation, or when there isn’t an actual workspace to do it on a big level surface. It could also be used to make custom cutouts in walls for outlets. I can see a dozen times where I would have loved to have used it during my recent house overhaul, when the garage was full of junk and the only work surfaces I had were plywood sheets on sawhorses. It may have required taking the microwave and coffeepot off the plywood though…

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I can an application where after the hardwood floors are laid you could take this thing and route out a perfect star shape 3 feet across in the floor and insert an inlay shaped like that star. Currently most of the large inlay work must be circular or rectangular since those are the only shapes a human can cut reliably with a hand router.

Very narrow market but it would revolutionize the hardwood floor inlay business.

I am sure there are similar applications for counter tops, patio decks, boat decks …

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We all know how much force is applied to that cutting tool as it cuts, and it this case it would be cutting a 3/4 inch depth of cut in one pass. So how could those little feet hold it against that force? You would need to screw something into the floor to anchor it, then you would have long X and Y rails and you are right back to a CNC frame.

It would be sooo cumbersome though! Think about the setup time on site everytime, and then if you need to move it. Then you’d need to re-calibrate evertime you set it up. With this product you’d be done and gone before a “portable CNC router” even took it’s first cut.

I’m sure when CNC routers first came out there were a lot of people you didn’t see it’s usefulness. Even if this technology doesn’t seem worth while know, it could be a stepping stone to something even more amazing.