In recent years 3D printers have stolen the low-cost manufacturing spotlight from more traditional machine tools like milling machines. And at the same time, hardware developed for 3D printers uses the same open standards for G-Code and CNC machines. Which has also had the effect of reducing the cost of laser cutters and so on.

Machines like the Pocket NC, for example. Pocket NC is a $4 000 (R63 000) desktop tool that can carve away at metals with the kind of precision that was once the preserve of industrial gear that would take up a lot more floor space. Its robotic five-axis head is so precise, in fact, in can carve out a car engine block.

See?

So, let’s be a bit more specific here. While we could argue the fact that this isn’t exactly working along five axises (actually 3+2 but that’s another discussion), the creator of the video discusses this on Reddit. In essence: the machine has more freedom to move when compared to other machines.

Sadly you’re not going to be replacing the powerplant in your bakkie just yet. The video shows a scale model for a demonstration. Maybe one you could stick in the kid’s pedal car for fun?

I’ve been surrounded by these types of machines all my life, and now I’ve moved away from them to 3D printers for work. Looking back to see there’s still innovation is refreshing, and it’s great to keep an option like this in the back of your mind when you’re considering buying new tools.