Cube Spawn

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= "CubeSpawn: An Open Source, Scaleable, Modular FMS (Flexible Manufacturing System)".



0. James Jones:

"Localized open source manufacturing everywhere, has the potential to impact a number of significant social, technological and environmental challenges in ways that favor individual’s, increase independence , and impart some immunity to central economies fluctuations.

A distributed network of digital, template based, manufacturing machines could allow highly flexible short run production, lowered costs through automated maintenance, improve quality through fully quantifiable processes and could potentially convert recycled materials into goods with minimal losses over and over, reducing the demand on sources of raw materials, while optimizing the recovery of materials from the waste stream,through continuous improvement.

Further, this could induce rapid propagation of new innovations, without the typical barriers currently associated with creating new products, since upstream design could be purely digital and simulation based.

If manufacturing followed a model similar to personal computers (inexpensive, modular, standardized, networked, distributed, upgradable) physical goods could take on some of the beneficial characteristics of software. (easy, cheap duplication, rapid location independant adoption of best/fastest/most efficient solutions, etc)

By bringing the cost of duplicating a design to materials and energy, removing or reducing the labor, freight and many of the environmental costs inherent in the current practice of creating and distributing goods, substantial benefits can be realized for individuals, communities and society.

CubeSpawn is an open source framework for automated manufacturing machines embodying all of the goals mentioned." (fb, May 2016)


"This is how “James Jones” describes the project in the above context:

“Initially a 500mm 3 axis milling cell is being built, to be followed by a toolchanger and a head changer, this should allow transition between subtractive fabrication and a Rep Strap type additive fabber (Rapid Prototyper)

A pallet transporter in the base of the cubes moves the workpiece between stations. As the slow process of completeing the initial machine continues I’ll be adding digital files to either the site or Google’s 3D warehouse, detailing the current design and progress on it.

The Goals are to build a manufacturing system that is:

  • 1) Modular - each cell should do one (or more) things well.
  • 2) To the degree practical, Self Replicating.
  • 3) Extensible - need a function that isn’t built? add it to the pool!
  • 4) Affordable - keep it cheap, and Recycle!”



"CubeSpawn is an Open Source project to build a small, affordable, bench-top scale manufacturing system out of modular parts.

An additionally goal is to completely automate the production of objects from digital templates.

“Recursion” is also a goal, that is: making many of the systems components on the system itself!

Starting with a basic set of machines, it should be possible to substantially duplicate the system, allowing anyone to make new machines, upgrades, or spares for the machines they have.

Think of it as a 21st century version of Star Trek’s matter replicator. Except, of course, matter replication is not yet available, so maybe its a “matter pattern-er”

Using a combination of conventional machining, lathe turning, 3D printing and other techniques, it should be possible to create complex objects, parts and assemblies, Even without meeting the above goals completely."