The Piccolo by Diatom Studios is a tiny CNC robot – a huge source of inspiration for me. I first heard of the Piccolo in about February of 2012 when they got a lot of blog and press coverage after they launched an excellent introduction video and website. The award winning design1 features lasercut acrylic parts, three micro servos, and a pen holder. However, since the robot is a 3 axis CNC rather than just a 2 axis CNC with a pen lift, the possibilities for extending, tinkering, and hacking the platform are basically endless.
Although their Piccolo website has been relatively quiet lately,2 there have been several interesting developments. The Diatom Studio crew has posted lots of files, instructions, and code up in their GitHub account, they’ve got a ton of pictures in their Flickr pool that appear to show the design evolution of the Piccolo, and there’s even a LittleBits powered version of their platform.
The latest version shown in their Flickr pool provides a lot of insight into their design process, part choices, and a hit of things to come. The latest Piccolo pictures features an Arduino Pro Micro powered circuit board and three servo connectors upon which the lasercut parts are layered to build up the robot. Unlike prior versions of the robot which appeared to require several different thicknesses of lasercut material, this version seems to require only one thickness of wood, one thickness of acrylic, and one thickness of what appears to be paper. If I were to guess, I would suppose the lasercut paper is used for spacers between the layers to provide clearance for parts to slide through.
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out the video, you really need to do that now. I’m pretty confident that you’ll fall in love with this little robot too.