I just got back from a meetup of Machinekit developers hosted by Tormach, a maker of professional CNC machines. There I got a glimpse into the future of personal CNC machines and 3D printers. Building on the long successful LinuxCNC project, Machinekit has added support for additional platforms, including BeagleBone Black, and additional real-time Linux strategies, including Xenomai and stepper motor driving using the on-board PRU microcontrollers.
What struck me is that software running on BeagleBone for controlling machines is the same as what CNC companies use in real (read expensive) CNC products... and it runs on some very remarkable (and personally affordable) machines in development I got glimpses of at Maker Faire Bay Area and elsewhere. Building incredible machines out of BeagleBone Black just got a whole lot easier and expect to see a lot more examples in the near future.
These examples include the PocketNC who recently spoke about their testing with BeagleBone Black on their blog. Type A Machines has also mentioned use of BeagleBone Black on their FAQ regarding their 2014 Series 1 3D Printer. And don't forget the Lasersaur open hardware laser cutter.
All of the sessions at the meet-up were recorded on YouTube for those looking to catch up on the development of this project.