Makers have a lot of choices when it comes to fabrication tools, but a CNC router is usually the best option for cutting large sheet material. The problem with most CNC routers is that they’re massive, because they have to be larger than the material than they’re designed to cut. Considering most material comes in 4×8 foot sheets, that means your CNC router is going to take up most of a single-car garage. The new Yeti Tool SmartBench CNC router skirts that issue with a collapsible, semi-portable table.
The SmartBench is still pretty bulky in its collapsed state, but it’s compact enough to fit in the back of a van or SUV, or to tuck away somewhere in your workshop. When you’re ready to use the SmartBench, you can assemble it in just five minutes. After assembly, you’ll be able to cut plywood and other sheet material up to 4′ x 8′. There is even a “feed-through” mode that will give you the ability to process material of any length.
Yeti Tool is charging £3495.00 (about $4,377 USD) for the SmartBench, which puts it roughly on par with other entry-level, full-sheet CNC routers. And the SmartBench is packing quite a few features for the price. The spindle — which looks like it may just be a mounted handheld router — is variable between 5,000 and 24,000 rpm and has an ER16 collet. The power of the spindle motor, however, isn’t mentioned. Accuracy is specified as +/-0.125mm, but that should probably be taken with a grain of salt.
The SmartBench comes with a tablet-like touchscreen interface, which you can use to cut simple built-in shapes or custom designs transferred via USB or WiFi. Yeti Tool says it has seamless integration with Autodesk Fusion 360, though it’s not clear exactly how that works. It also has an included Z-probe, so you can precisely set the height of your work surface.