This week, San Francisco-based robotics company Shaper launched a handheld CNC router, Origin. The portable tool features automated controls, suiting it for use by design professionals and handy individuals alike.
To operate the router, users must map out their design on the desired surface with the company's ShaperTape, a visual marker system from which the router's camera spatially orients itself. Once the router has this baseline information, it can read the established path of an uploaded design file in the context of what is being cut. The user then begins to slice through, guiding the router along the lines; when the router deviates from the planned path (we can't all have a steady hand), it either self-corrects the mistake by continuing to move along the pre-defined route from the design file, or retracting its blade to avoid making unwanted cuts.
Origin comes with a 5-inch touch display, a variable speed router, and a dust extraction port that can be attached to an external vacuum. The tool—about the size of a toaster—has a standard 1/4-inch shank router blade that is capable of cutting through a variety of materials, including wood, plastic, and soft metals. Users can upload design files from Autodesk AutoCAD or Adobe Illustrator, as well as Shaper's online library, ShaperHub.
Currently on pre-sale, Origin will officially be launched and shipped Sept. 2017, along with ShaperHub.
This article is part of a series of weekly spotlights covering the latest in innovative products and materials. Read more of ARCHITECT's Object of the Moment coverage here.