I did mention that I'd be unveiling the name of the machine so here goes. The acronyms HD and HDX (Heavy Duty & Heavy Duty Xtra) were originally supposed to be tacked onto the end of the Shapeoko name, but out of respect for Edward Ford and his wishes I will be giving these machines their own names.
The HD is now called the Routakit, and the HDX is now the Routakit HD. This frees me up to release a possible HDX model in the future which would be even more robust then anything I've made so far.
The name Routakit is simple and straight forward. It describes in one short word in a semi playful way what it is that we (my team and I) will be selling, Router Kits. I will be honest I wasn't too fond of the name at first but after a while it grew on me and I have come to really like it. Love it or hate it, that is the name that I'm committed to.
While my website is a huge work in progress and isn't even close to being finalized or done, you may check out what has been done so far at http://www.routakit.com
. Don't judge it too harshly.
As you know I am working on getting my Kickstarter campaign ready for a late February to early March launch. If I raise a substantial amount on there and if it is proven through sales that there is a market for more heavy duty open source machines I'd like to look into possibly investing in a new version of open rail that would be compatible with HFS8 Misumi extrusions later in the future. Openbuilds is interested in this new larger Open Rail and has shown interest in helping me make it a reality but for now the ball is in my court. With this new Open Rail I can make a machine that uses up to a 90x180 extrusion as the gantry for a super rigid machine (you could in theory even double it up, though I don't know why you would need to)
. This would also allow the use of larger double v-wheels which could support even more weight.
Now you may ask why not just make a custom extrusion with the rail built in? Well, I think something like Open Rail is not only cheaper to produce over a large custom extrusion, but is also much more versatile. I (and anyone else) could experiment with various extrusion sizes as well as come up with other future product lines where it would be beneficial to use the more robust HFS8 extrusion, while not being tied down to a particular extrusion size that you have to design around or commit to. I would not have been able to make the machines that I've made without using open rail so while it can be argued that it's not the ideal situation over a custom extrusion with integrated rails, I think the pros outweigh the cons. Now for me to even have a chance at even doing this I will need you guys to help spread the word of my Kickstarter campaign and even support it if you can, even if it's just by a dollar. I don't have a timeline in which I'd be able to make this new open rail into a reality, but if I can start things off with a bang it would bring it that much closer. With that said my main goal for the campaign is to gain exposure and awareness for the machines that I've already made and for the ability to commission a third party to make some of the parts for the standard Routakit in order to keep costs down, which is in everyone's best interest.
Thanks guys for following my thread for this long, it's been a long time in the making and you have been my motivation to keep pursuing this project and see through to the end. I would also like to thank Edward Ford and everyone involved in making the Shapeoko. Their ease of use and low cost to entry is great and it only continues to make CNC machines more popular and accessible. The Shapeoko has been my stepping stone to get to where I'm at now. You guys are all awesome!