While the origins of the company can be traced back to conversations in 2009, the microfactory project really got going in Febuary of 2012 with the creation of the V1.0 machine. We thought it would be cool to look at the company history through the lens of the progress over the past 2 years. We scoured our archives for old videos and photos to share a little bit of the process behind making the microfactory with you.
The very first iteration of the machine - before we had coined a name - was a small open mill. You can see some of the early design features which survived to later models, including the use of the table for the "Y" axis and the general form factor.
Really grainy picture of the first design (believe it or not this is the most in focus of the surviving V1 shots)
Still from CAD of V1
The second iteration was far more rigid than the first and designed for heavier milling operations. To this end, it had cross-bracing ribs throughout the structure.
Picture of the V2
Still from CAD of V2
The third iteration of the machine was a leap forward - it was fully enclosed. This reduced the mess generated by the machine when it was in operation but created a need for self-cleaning. In response, a vacuum port and custom filter cartridge were added.
Picture of the V3
Still from CAD of V3
See a video of early V3 test of the mill and the vacuum system
The fourth generation was another big leap - the right side of the machine was extended to make room for an integrated electronics compartment. The compartment allowed for a full computer as well as mounting a front facing control panel with state light indicators and a large emergency stop button. The bearings were also upgraded for smoother operation.
Picture of the V4
Still from CAD of V4
See a video of early V4 test of the microfactory milling the company logo in foam
The current microfactories are all 5th generation units. This generation features upgraded spindle and print heads as well as a number of changes that make the machine more user friendly.
Picture of the V5
Still from CAD of V5
Footage from the very first print on a V5 machine
Footage from the first multi-color print on a V5 machine
Footage of a V5.3 machine milling a walnut production part for our friend Erik
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