SAN MATEO, CA (Maker Faire 2014) - Your own personal CNC machine could sit on your desktop and cost $300.
The Cricut was cutting patterns in paper at MakerFaire -- and attracting a crowd, both at its own booth and in space it shared in the Autodesk Instructables booth. What essentially like a bigger than normal desktop printer, albeit much more attractive, uses a very sharp, thin carbide blade (a pen is included, too) to cut intricate patterns in paper, cardboard and a variety of other material. The Circut's original reason for existence may have been scrapbookers, where it was no doubt a godsend, alleviating scissor-fatigued fingers and bi-focally corrected eyes straining at intricate patterns. Possibly because of that market, the Cricut was made to look so good and sit on top of a table -- and be very inexpensive. Laser cutters and industrial cutting machines don't come anywhere near the Cricut's $300 retail price -- or look as nice.
But frilly patterns and good looks aside, the Cricut is really a CNC cutter at a price no one can touch, and is begs for application in architects and engineers model shops.
Free Your Interns
If a primary activity for interns at your architectural firm is making models, you may consider incorporating a Cricut. Your interns will gladly drop their scissors and Exacto knives to run one. Granted, big building models and models for final presentation would still require skills, material and and tools closer to carpentry than scrapbooks, but a Cricut can cut shapes out of cardboard and up to thin balsa wood with its carbide blade. It could offload some parts of a bigger model or be able to cut patterns for all of a small model. Or you could get used to making small model yourself for the the first show and tell.
Paper architectural model that would lend itself to a desktop cutter, like Cricut (picture originally appeared on Pictures Collection )
Another application that would be well suited for Cricut would be a topograhic model, such as the one below, where each contour be exported from a CAD application, cut on a flat sheet, then glued together to make the model.
Contour model of landscape, the type that could be made on a personal cutter. Picture courtesy of Jim Leggitt, originally appeared here.
For More Information