To prevent unauthorized usage of shop tools. The system will check the users credentials with a MySQL database to ensure that the user has the appropriate shop training for use with the most dangerous tools. We currently interface with Drupal/CiviCRM database with some custom fields, but this can be adopted to other database schema. Tools will not receive power until the requesting user has been authenticated. We also try the best we can to prevent tampering with the system in order for nefarious users to override Tooltron.


Tooltron is a project developed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club to enable permissions on their machine shop tools. It was designed by undergraduates over the course of several years. The first iteration controlled only two tools with a PIC microcontroller. The club then moved and the system was dismanteled in 2005. The second iteration was started shortly afterwards but had several issues, leading to a long development time. These problems have now been overcome and the system is now capable of handling n tools and runs on top of AVR Microcontrollers. The system is currently being deployed by the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club to control 6 tools.

Other Use

We hope that other people find the Tooltron system usable. To facilitate this we decided to release the entire Tooltron system, the code, and circuit schematics, under the LGPL. We just ask that any changes made will be shared with the rest of the community.


Current maintainers of the project are Kevin Woo (kwoo AT cmu DOT edu) and Brad Neuman (bneuman AT cmu DOT edu).


Memeber Year Team
Austin Buchan 2009-2010 Mechanical Mounting
Paul Desiderio 2009-2010 Mechanical Mounting
Aaron Johnson 2006-2007 Electrical/Firmware
Rich Juchniewicz < 2005 Mechanical
Brad Neuman 2008-2010 Firmware/Software
Suresh Nidhiry 2007-2008 Software
Steve Shamlian < 2005 Electrical/Firmware
Kevin Woo 2007-2010 Electrical/Firmware