Here is an example of what can be done with Cybercut.

What is Cybercut?

Cybercut, in brief, is a system for rapid designing and virtual prototyping that is web based. You create a 2d or 3d object through your browser and then submit it to a manufacturing facility that creates it. This reduces processing times and costs.

Charles Smith and Paul Wright do a good job at summarizing what Cybercut does. Below, are excerpts from their Abstract entitled "Cybercut: A World Wide Web Based Design to Fabrication Tool."

Design Environment

In order to guide the user in designing parts that are readily manufacturable on a milling machine, CyberCut uses a feature based, constrained destructive solid geometry (CDSG)6 design environment. This means that instead of building up a part incrementally from “nothingness” (constructive solid geometry, or CSG), the user starts out with a prismatic stock, and remove primitives or “chunks” of material. Instead of allowing arbitrary removal, the user is only able to remove certain shapes of material, referred to as “features.” These features take the form of pockets, blind holes, through holes, and face-off operations. In addition, the user can only place features on one of the stock’s original six faces. This design methodology is used to make the problem of process planning a solvable one. The rational for imposing destructive “features” upon the designer is this: Each of these features can readily be mapped to a standard CNC milling process. It is easy to see that these three restrictions -- six access faces, CDSG, and feature based design -- limit the set of parts that can be designed. However, the key advantage of this design environment is that the design-to-manufacture process is more deterministic than conventional methods relying on unconstrained design, and looser links between design, planning, and fabrication.

The Cybercut Architecture

The external client enters the design interface over the web, while the planner and manufacturing system reside on the U. C. Berkeley web server. The client then proceeds to design the required component, using the interface pictured below. The user enters the design feature by feature, and is given different options on how to enter the data. Each design decision is communicated automatically to the planner. The process plan, cost, feasibility, and estimated time to manufacture the emerging component are communicated back to the user automatically. When the design is successfully completed, the designer clicks on an order part button. The part is placed in a fabrication queue, and when previously ordered jobs are completed, manufacturing is initiated at U. C. Berkeley, and the part is shipped to the designer through a mail carrier of his or her choice.

Here an example of the interface used to design.

Regarding Costs and the like:

A typical CyberCut user will be interested in creating single prototypes or small batches of parts, with good tolerances, and from a variety materials. We are also assuming that the users will not have access to a large corporation’s prototyping facilities, nor have the desire to invest in their own rapid-prototyping hardware. In order to build a small batch size rapid-prototyping cell from start to finish, machining is one of the cheaper methods, in terms of capital investment, when compared to stereolithography,22 selective laser sintering,23 three dimensional ink-jet forming,24 or casting. Nonetheless, a machining-based prototyping cell is a significant investment. To assemble a rapid prototyping CAD/CAM facility using “off-the-shelf” components, the approximate equipment list and associated costs are outlined below:

Milling Machine (Haas VF-1) $45,000
Computer $3,000
3D CAD Software (AutoCAD) $3,000
CAM software (SmartCAM) $3,995
Total $54,995
In addition, personnel costs are needed for skilled technicians to set up, maintain, and operate the hardware and software. Of course, today’s conventional option is to invest in only the computer and CAD software, and send schematics of the part to a machine shop that will only charge fifty to eighty dollars per hour. However, this leads to over-the-wall manufacturing, which we deem ineffective. Alternatively, when CyberCut becomes available commercially, the costs needed to become a CyberCut user will be:
Browser Software $35
Computer $3,000
SLIP/PPP Account (1 year) $360
Total $3,395
There would be an additional charge for access to the CyberCut service, based on batch size, part size, and material.

Here are some links to more Cybercut sites:

  • Berkeley's
  • Cybercut pictures
  • Cybercut England
  • Back to Rapidproto