Recently, I saw a video online about a new piece of technology that made me wonder at the possibilities that might suddenly be available if this were to come to the woodworking industry. What was it that I saw? A robot.
I know robots are nothing new, especially in manufacturing, but there are always new ways to apply robots. Additionally, there is still so much untapped potential as far as what robots can be capable of.
This particular robot is a spiderlike contraption called the Hexapod Robot. Its metal frame is equipped with a router bit head and is operated through CNC technology, enabling it to move about a larger piece and carve out different shapes. Take a look at what it can do.
Granted, it takes the robot a long time to carve out that face, so this particular application would not be very effective. However, if you think about how quickly technology changes today, how quickly technology becomes smaller, faster, then some time in the not-too-distant future, these Hexapod Robots might be a real help to woodworkers.
Let’s say a custom woodworker with a small operation is in need of a CNC to do some detail work on a piece. Instead of having to purchase a large, multi-thousand-dollar CNC machine or farming that part of the job out, that woodworker could utilizes one of these robots to do that work and easily store it away when he’s done. Or perhaps a woodworker, meeting with a client, comes up with a prototype design that the customer would like to see. The woodworker could retrieve his Hexapod Robot from his vehicle along with a piece of material and create a prototype of what the customer had requested in just a few minutes.
Technology is everywhere in woodworking and robots are slowly becoming a little more commonplace (see Web Editor Mike Wilson’s upcoming article in January). Technology has brought woodworking a long way from its roots, when there were nothing but hand tools available. How far will technology take the woodworking industry in the next five years or ten years? In what ways will woodworkers influence the changes in technology?
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