The CNC Craft digital workshop is located on the North Coast of Cornwall, surrounded by old mine engines that are the relics of an industrial past. We are committed to promoting accessible digital fabrication technology, and making a positive impact on the environment to secure a more sustainable future.
The workshop was set up in 2008 to make bespoke, and small production runs, of furniture. We strived for quality in craft, and design, with an emphasis on sustainable materials and production. Over the years our interest in sustainable design prompted us to employ more and more digital fabrication technology, allowing us to speed up construction times, and to offer services to other companies. Today, pretty much everything we do has a digital element, and we have changed the type of work we undertake to reflect the climate and biodiversity breakdown we see the planet facing. To put it bluntly we don’t need any more furniture. What we need are new ways of making things. Things that make our lives more sustainable and equitable.
We are advocates for open source software, hardware, and design. All of the computers and laptops in the workshop run one of the Linux operating systems, and pretty much all of the software used is open source, meaning that not only is it completely free to use, but that it can be modified and improved by anyone capable of doing so. The software we use includes: LibreCAD and Inkscape, for 2 dimensional drawings; FreeCAD and Blender, for 3 dimensional models and generating g-code; while LinuxCNC, Arduino, and Openbuilds Control are used to control our machines. All these products are very mature and have the functionality of commercial applications that would cost hundreds of pounds. We use them because they make computer aided design accessible to everybody.
Links to software used in the workshop
Most of the digital tools we use have been built in the workshop. These include a full sized CNC Router, and Laser cutter, a large format 3D printer, and an embroidery machine. This has saved on capital expense, and means that we are able to repair and maintain them easily. It also demonstrates how accessible these tools can be.
Digital tools allow complicated things to be made accurately, efficiently and with repeatability. Products can be tailor-made to an individual’s needs at little extra cost, and because they are bespoke people acquire a personal attachment, making them less likely to end up in land-fill.
Through out this site you will find designs we have developed that you can download and use for free, in the hope that they are useful to others, and any modifications and improvements are also freely available .
Distributive manufacturing, is a new approach to production, and is an idea we aim to promote, as it holds the key to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable future. Rather than huge centralized production facilities, it relies on many small digital workshops making products in, and for a specific location. This decentralized system empowers local communities, promotes self-reliance, and reduces the environmental footprint associated with traditional centralized manufacturing.
The internet plays a crucial role in communicating between geographically dispersed workshops. Digital designs for well-designed and proven products are stored in repositories, and servers for downloading by local producers, promoting innovation and adaptation to specific community needs.
The Maker Space was set up back in 2017 to promote open source software, open design and distributive manufacturing , by giving people in the community access to the equipment in the workshop. Over the years more than 200 people have attended, many have come back multiple times, and some excellent projects have been undertaken. Head over to the Maker Space page to find out more, and sign up to the mailing list to get notifications of future session.