Troy Cundy, the founder of Toolbotics, is an inventor with a passion for all things CNC. With 15 years as a maker, he’s helped design and build a variety of CNC machines from 3D printers to 5-axis machining centers, and now with Tooli, he’s built a robotic device capable of airbrushing, laser engraving, dispensing material, and pen plotting.
While it’s not technically a 3D printer – except perhaps for the dispensing feature – it is a superb complement to a maker’s tool kit.
Now Cundy is looking for funding to bring the Tooli into production via a Kickstarter campaign, which seeks to raise $65,000 AUD (just under $50K USD) before August 9th.
Working out of Brisbane, Australia, Cundy says the Tooli is “an intelligent and versatile creative desktop tool for artists and makers.”
He says he built the machine to demonstrate the versatility of CNC technology, and Tooli can execute sketches, cut decals, stamp patterns, laser engrave detailed photos, cut fabrics with precision – it can even dispense chocolate and pick and place objects.
According to Cundy, Tooli was designed from the ground up to be scalable and easy to use. It’s available in three sizes — up to 84 x 60 cm, or 33’’x 24 — and runs on the company’s Art2Gcode software package.
As for painting, he says Tooli can paint on nearly any surface and automatically activates airflow and controls paint flow from an airbrush with extreme precision using a stepper motor. The setup means it’s possible to control the application of paint density for each pass. The Tooli achieves multi-color results by automatically pausing for changes of color, and the non-contact airbrush attachment means paint can be accurately applied to cloth and uneven surfaces.
The Tooli also laser engraves on a wide variety of materials from wood to leather via a 2500 mW laser powerful enough to cut through thin wood, cardstock, and fabrics. Software and hardware control the power of the laser and it can be set for 0-100% output. The Tooli also monitors the temperature of the laser and can automatically shut down and pause a job if the diode overheats.
The Art2Gcode software supports all the various Tooli capabilities, and it can run on both Windows and Mac operating systems. Using it is convenient as well in that artwork can be created in your favorite graphics software such as Inkscape and import an SVG-format file for interpretation by Art2Gcode.
Cunday says the Tooli is now in pre-production, and he adds that when the development and funding is complete, he and his team will release all the necessary Tooli data to the open source community.
An Early Bird commitment to the Kickstarter nets supports a Tooli + Laser in either small, medium or large sizes, and it includes a Tooli with touchscreen, the laser attachment, and accessories for about $1,169.
A package which includes a large size Tooli, the laser, the plotter, the airbrush and the dispensing head will go for a commitment of $1564.
What do you think of Troy Cundy’s versatile Tooli CNC machine? Let us know in the Tooli forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the Kickstarter video below to see Tooli in action.