We hadn't heard from the fellas at Diatom since they sent us their Kickstarter project, the Open Source Sketchchair, last spring. Eleven months later and one world tour later, the dynamic design and digital fabrication duo from Down Under (and less-alliterative London) have partnered with a couple of collaborators at Carnegie Mellon's Computational Design Lab to present "Piccolo," a purportedly "pocket-sized stand-alone CNC platform for under $70."
It's essentially a kit to turn your trusty Arduino into a very basic, very small CNC machine. The video below illustrates its functionality (including but not limited to drawing tiny pictures):Ok so there's clearly a bit more to it than that:Be it plotting a quick graffiti, printing a one-off business card on the fly, or multiple Piccolos working together to create a large mural, this kit provides a platform for experimenting with 2D or 3D digital fabrication at a small scale.
We are currently refining the Piccolo prototype into an open-source design that is simple, quick to assemble, and easy to use, and is entirely composed of digitally manufactured components and inexpensive off-the-shelf hardware.
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.
No word on the release date, but interested parties can sign up for updates here.