Personal Manufacturing Robot Made in Michigan Makes Almost Anything

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Houghton-based Phidias LLC has created a personal manufacturing robot developed from 3-D technology that can produce virtually all components required to make complete, finished products including printed circuit boards, 3–D printing with plastics, and vinyl cutting.

“Research showed that open-source 3-D printers had incredible value, but it was clear that they were woefully underutilized robotic systems,” says Jerry Anzalone, a spokesman for Phidias. “The trick was to figure out how to make an inexpensive machine and software that could fully exploit the complex motion control systems that drive them. We’ve done that.”

Alzalone says the machine, called Athena, comes as a kit and can produce all most anything. He says it mills printed circuit boards and other soft materials, prints with pastes like silicone and ceramic. It can cut vinyl stickers and fabrics, and it even draws.

He says Athena can handle both light and heavy tools. Magnetic joints are used to connect the moving parts together, securing different tools to perform a variety of tasks. He says Athena is now available as a kit, starting around $600.

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