Judah Sher’s invention sounds like a Thai chicken stir fry dish, but its potential impact is far more dramatic.
It’s called the “Kikori,” a relatively low-cost CNC machine made out of wood instead of metal that is designed to help more small businesses do their own manufacturing. CNC (Computer Numeric Control) routers carve patterns — ranging from simple flat 2D cutouts to elaborate 3D shapes — out of wood, metal, or plastic.
CNC routers are one of the workhorses of manufacturing, but they don’t come cheap. Though prices widely vary, it is not unusual to have to invest more than $20,000 for a new one. By using more affordable raw materials and making the design open source, Sher thought he could slash that entry-level cost by 75 percent.
Now, with the help of a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for seed money, he’s done it.
The Kikori machine kit, which sells for $4,000, is assembled with MDO (Medium Density Overlay) board, an inexpensive plywood coated with resin-soaked paper. It is a “self-replicating” machine, which means that it is capable of making its own replacement parts (or cloning itself, but with human help).
Sher says he wants to “bring the means of production to garages everywhere” and bring more manufacturing jobs to American cities and towns where they otherwise would have no chance of sprouting. Read More