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Diatom's Piccalo Arduino-Based CNC Robot

Gareth Halfacree


Computer numerical control, or CNC, is frequently viewed as an extremely complex topic - a fact not aided by the high cost of CNC-based manufacturing equipment, putting it out of reach of most hobbyists. A couple of years ago, London-based design house Diatom partnered with members of the CoDe Lab to create a solution: the Piccalo, a CNC robot based on low-cost servos powered by an Arduino microcontroller. The project has now borne fruit, creating a permissively licensed design suitable for construction using low-cost off-the-shelf hardware, laser-cut body parts and an Arduino-compatible controller. The designs and software are available on GitHub for makers interested in building their own, and if you don't have a laser cutter try asking at your nearest hackspace.

The Piccolo project includes Arduino and Processing libraries, to use Piccolo in a variety of ways such as moving autonomously or responding to sensors and data, whilst providing an accessible educational tool and a new output for Processing sketches.

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