Feed workpieces into CNC automatically with robot arm

Hey all,

now that you have a CNC machine, a kind of “robot” that does the work on its own that you have programmed it to do, is there someone here who also feeds the workpieces automatically?






Tools used in this example:

The video shows how the e-term Handels GmbH in 6020 Innsbruck (Austria) got a custom solution made by MIMM engineers GmbH in 6175 Kematen (Austria).


Since we are sharing…perhaps we can use this to package the hardware …


While there’s certainly noting new about a robot arm loading CNC machines (I ran one in 1985 where a robot loaded and removed parts to/from a Mazak turning center), the amazing part is that this technology and machinery is now within reach to the serious home ‘cottage industry’ or hobbiest looking to automate production.

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Hey Bill,

yes, and that is so wonderful!

It has always been this way: When you had the things that were available today, and you looked at what was possible with them, then you knew exactly what would be possible in ten or twenty years’ time! That was the case with computers: If you had a C64 or a ZX Spectrum, then you knew not only what you could do with it, but also what you could do with a computer in ten years’ time, or in twenty years’ time, when computing power, memory and graphics capability would have become cheaper and cheaper (what is always to expect), what will be possible then! Video editing, photorealistic image display, 3D image processing, video telephony, multi-track hard disk sound recording with editing capability – if you were dealing with the things of today, you knew what you would be able to do tomorrow, and it’s always so bad to have to wait for it!

Similarly, like we saw the change from computers being big, expensive machines available only to big enterprises and universities, to the small personal device on your tabletop, to this piece of cake in your pocket with eight cores, we saw what we could achieve with a FANUC at work, which meanwhile changed to little machines that you build together from cheap parts at home at a low price, that allow you to CNC-mill things on your own! At home! With CAD/CAM software that is free and open!

And it still goes on. But we have now finally reached a stage where things are here and will stay. A stage where someone like me, i.e. someone who is always willing to get stuck in and acquire the knowledge, can live among what used to be considered supercomputers and superfactories! At home! It is really a wonderful world that we live in now, if you are a creative person.

And yet, the best things are those that were not foreseen: Two things were not foreseen:

  • The WWW, that it is available to everyone thanks to the CERN making it roalty-free and a public domain gift to the world, and that the ARPAnet became a technology available to every household like telephone, called “Internet” today, and even over mobile connections,


  • The breadth of available Free and Open Software.

It’s in fact the not foreseen things that are the best.

Just look at “Back to the Future II”: In 1985, no one envisioned the existence of Internet for the future! They thought there would be several fax machines in every room and a wall full of TV channels at home – but no internet!

Today young people can’t even imagine what it was like when there was no WWW and no mobile computer with access to it. If I wanted to know something in 1985, I had to drive 30 km and go to a library! Really! And the telephone was tied up in the hallway, you could not take it with you! And of course you couldn’t take photos with it!

And it still goes on. Even if some things that seem possible today cannot be viewed as joyfully and uncritically as technical developments in the past.

Just once I’d like to see today’s youth have to write a report longhand, use a hard copy encyclopedia, a card catalog in a library, go through an operator to make a phone call or even use a phone booth!

Recently I was telling my grand nephew (14) that we had no cell phones or computers when I was growing up and the look on his face said it all!

Kinda dating myself!


Hey Bill,

[OT] I followed “cottage industry” and also found the german version of the article

There they say:

There is practically no larger putting-out manufacturing system in Germany today. One exception is the protective mask production of 2020, which involved home workers, cottage industries and contract sewing[17][18]. In the Heuberg area, this system with entrepreneurs of small businesses and cottage industries in the basement of their homes is jokingly referred to as “the basement manufacturers”. These were often very modest Seldner houses[19] with two rooms and, for example, sewing machines in the basement[20].

From a global perspective, it still exists, as large companies produce their components in third world countries, be it in the area of component manufacturing or in the textile industry. In Hong Kong, paper flowers and toys are often produced using the putting-out system. The putting-out system is widespread in China’s toy industry and in the jewelry industry in India and China. In Ecuador, wooden crates are produced in a decentralized domestic process. In Germany, some beer wholesalers still traditionally call themselves “Bierverlag”.

Instead of the outdated term putting-out system, there are now forms of decentralized work organization that incorporate the essential features of the putting-out system. These include working from home, teleworking, telecommuting or home office. What they all have in common is that workers create products or services in their own homes on behalf of an entrepreneur in return for payment, which the entrepreneur markets at their own risk.

– Source: Verlagssystem#Heutige Situation – Wikipedia

Hey Pony, hey all,

The saddest thing is also one that was not foreseen. When the WWW and the Usenet and so on came up, and search engines and finally online encyclopediae that made that there exist no more printed encyclopediae anymore today, most people said, now there would be knowledge and education available to all, the whole mankind, but in reality people do the opposite, they lock themselves up in non-free gated internet communities (called social media) and instead of rejoicing in the tons of knowledge now instantly available to everyone, move in bubbles where they create, nurture and worship their alternative versions of knowledge :(.

This is like if you open the prison doors and offer total freedom and people say: Oh nice, now I can get some beer on the other side of the street and come back then.


Hey all,

this machine goes one step further: The robot arm is not used to feed the workpieces into the CNC machine, here the robot arm IS the CNC machine:

Thought about getting a robotic arm instead of a CNC, but an arm to reach out one meter (hehe) with a spindle mounted, capable of withstanding the forces is not a trivial machine and would weigh too much for my shop floor.