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Contraptor is a DIY open source construction set for experimental personal fabrication, desktop manufacturing, prototyping and bootstrapping. Various сartesian robots can be assembled from Contraptor and used as a prototyping platform for projects such as XY plotter, mini CNC machine, 3D printer etc. You can make components of the Structural + Basic linear motion subsets of Contraptor at home for about $300 in parts and materials, plus shipping, taxes and time. Sketchup models of Contraptor components are hosted on Google 3D Warehouse while the DXF exports and SVG templates are hosted on Thingiverse, a cool new site for sharing hardware designs. If you like the set but don’t want to make it, we’re working with Hines Design Labs to fabricate a small quantity of Contraptor subsets, and then release the design/manufacturing files under an open source license, so that anyone with Shopbot could do the same. The initial kits are planned to be sold at or below cost – $150 to 250 depending on the subset. We need 10 committed buyers for Structural subset kit ($200) and 10 for Basic linear motion subset kit ($250).

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  1. This is pretty cool. Thanks for the post.

  2. How do we commit to buy?

  3. Detail: I want a quality adafruit product like I’m used to. I want a fully documented system that allows me to assemble a complete X-Y fab (say with a standard dremel as the only external component) with full software and hardware support. Can you deliver that for $250????

  4. steven, it looks pretty cool so far! please note we arent involved with this project, so you may want to ask how to buy of the project admins at the page we linked to!

  5. Just a note: The image in this article shows a controller board and stepper motors. The “Structural subset kit” and “Basic linear motion subset kit” do not contain these items. They are kits for the frame/structure only (what do you expect for $250?). Looks ace, btw!

  6. Building a “full” contraptor 3-axis CNC machine requires 3 subsets:

    Basic Linear Motion
    Electronics & Motors

    Pre-order costs for all of that in beta form is $575. The CNC design won’t use all of the parts from the Structural subset (which is a typical erector set, scaled up).

  7. Limor,
    Thanks for the kind words! And true ladyada is not directly involved in this project. But I have used her hardware to power some of my contraptions in the past 🙂

    Steven, David and PaulBo,

    We have pre-order paypal links up on the site. As far as instructions on how to build different contraptions etc. Well, we do not have step by step build instructions yet. However, I have talked to Vitaly (co-founder) and I have imagined a cool lego flip book that shows how to build stuff page by page. However, we are not there yet 🙂

    Cost, In the spirit of openess we hope to show the community that while these prices might seem high, we in now way are making much / any of a profit to start :). Right now we have an shopbot owner fabbing most of the parts for it. The plexi-glass parts I myself invested in a Epilog laser cutter and am cutting the parts directly for the kits.

    Our shop bot fabber has agreed to released the tooling files under open source as well. So what does that mean? If you have access to a shopbot you can download the plans and cut them on your own. Or perhaps you think you can do it cheaper? Well then be our guests.

    A thing to realize is that Vitaly nor I have ever had the luxury of CNC fabbed parts! (until recently) That being said if you don’t have the money get out there and make it! We have tutorials on youtube and on how to make this stuff!

    We are two guys both of us have day jobs and one kid each. We love the open source movement and community. We build because we enjoy it and we hope others can build cool stuff with our framework too.

    Thanks for your guys support!


  8. thanks for the update ril3y. please let us know as it progresses. this is one of the best projects ive seen this year and it is really exciting. 🙂

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