Milling a Circuit

evolution of the microfactory

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.

version 1.0

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.

Version 1 pic

Really grainy picture of the first design (believe it or not this is the most in focus of the surviving V1 shots)

Version 1 CAD

Still from CAD of V1

version 2.0

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.

Version 2 Pic

Picture of the V2

Version 2 CAD

Still from CAD of V2

version 3.0

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.

Version 3 Pic

Picture of the V3

Version 3 CAD

Still from CAD of V3

See a video of early V3 test of the mill and the vacuum system

version 4.0

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.

Version 4 pic

Picture of the V4

Version 4 CAD

Still from CAD of V4

See a video of early V4 test of the microfactory milling the company logo in foam

version 5.0

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.

Version 5 pic

Picture of the V5

Version 5 CAD

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