Ken Sherrif, Alistair Milne, Tim Hatch, and I have been working on an open source, self replicating cnc designed for producing wikihouses as a 20% project. Our goal is to produce a full size version that a user can feed in sheets of plywood, that will spit out ikea style flat pack houses that slot together and do not require construction experience or power tools to build. We are shooting for building these as kits an order of magnitude cheaper than the lowest cost competing cnc. Wikihouse.cc is a very cool idea, but it occurred to us, that no one has a CNC with an 8X4 ft cut envelope. Upon researching the cost, the cheapest option out there is the blackfoot at $3200 for a kit. We have done our research, and although the prototypes will cost closer to 400-500, we think that if we build lots of kits, we can get cost down to $300-400. We are sacrificing precision, and lifespan in order to get the cost down to this level. It is designed to be shipped as a kit to a disaster zone along with a couple pallets of plywood, and operate for a few months. If daily operation/precision was ones goal it would be wise for that person to use a higher quality router, and use some screws.
We are going to open source everything. Check out our progress on github
Next week our plan is to install the electronics, and get it moving, and perhaps tackle the z axis.