Ted and Bill’s Excellent Euro Adventure: A Travel Story (Part 2)

Here’s the second part of Bill Palumbo’s report about Bill and Ted’s trip to the UK camp:

On the first day of the Camp we weren’t sure of who would be attending, or even how many people would be there, as there had been some late cancellations. But by the end of the day over 15 people had been in the shop for one session or another, and they had driven from various places in England (as well as 6 Campers who took the ferries over from Ireland !).


Ted began the Camp with a history, and overview of Shopbot’s first ten years. Then we did some of the more standard sessions which are universal issues for ALL Shopbotters; vacuum hold downs, cutting tools, materials to work with, etc. Paul Amos brought in some commercially made “pucks” for us to consider, and we all tried to determine local sources where owners could buy some of the materials we had been discussing.
After a great lunch provided by Robert’s wife Liz, Tony Mckenzie of V Carve Pro give a full demo of what their program is capable of. As well as showing us some samples of work produced by a number of Shopbotters with the program.


Robert then gave us a demo of how he uses his vacuum hold down system to cut a variety of the ply lining panels, and explained some of the issues they deal with in getting quality plywood in the UK.

I gave a short session of some of the modifications other Shopbotters have done with their machines, and we showed images of how different Shopbotters have used their machines to start businesses, and generate income.

That evening 8 of us went to a local Indian restaurant for a meal (Robert graciously drove Ted and me so we couldn’t get lost again…), and we spent almost 4 hours trying just about everything on the menu. In addition to the weather being SO good England had just won their first match at the World Cup that day so every local restaurant and pub was overflowing with “enthusiastic” supporters of their national team (and breweries…).

Our second day of the Camp was VERY relaxed. Some of the first day Campers had gone back to Ireland on the morning ferries, and we started out the day by asking those in attendance what THEY wanted to cover. The consensus was that they wanted some “hands on” sessions so we took our time and covered the following: …
Robert set up his probe and we showed how to do 2D edge probing of panels.
Tony M. and Brian Moran of Vectric drew up some part files to let us see HOW their program was able to start with a photo, and generate Shopbot cutting files. We did a large face in a product similar to what we would call “Dibond”(aluminum facing on a foam interior substrate), and then we did the same file in a piece of MDF. Robert demonstrated how his vacuum system was able to accommodate both of these materials with little issue.


Paul Smith of Delcam came by (he had a schedule conflict on Saturday so he was only able to attend on Sunday) and he made himself available to go over the new features in Version 9 of Artcam Pro.

We got to hear some experiences of our ex-patriate American Campers (Vicky O’Brien, and Glenn Acker) who shared their stories and thoughts about now living and working in Ireland (in short, they LOVE it there…).

We did a short session on using a variety of foams to make “3D”signs and objects. In our travels we didn’t see ANY 3D signs and we were told that there are very few of them locally, partially because there didn’t seem to be any sign supply houses outside of the Metro London area. And it therefore seems like a good business opportunity for some local ‘Botters to explore.

By the end of the two days, we were all pretty exhausted. But, it seemed to have been a useful, worthwhile, and fun get-together for all. And, we all really appreciated Robert and Liz’s wonderful hospitality and his willingness to put on the event. He and his shop were very interesting, and Robert was a terrific host.

To ensure that we’d be able to find our way back to the airport and railway station in the early AM we purchased a REAL road map of England as we refueled the car (by the way if you think gasoline is expensive here, it’s around FIVE dollars a gallon in England, which is why they ALL drive smaller, more fuel efficient cars which we don’t get to see very often in the US).


Throughout the weekend we hadn’t had any internet access (which was actually kind of nice for a change as it let us concentrate on where we were all of the time..), and the hotel hadn’t entirely caught up to the present with in room wireless access, so we logged onto the web at a “wi fi hot spot” in a pub and caught up a little Sunday evening.

Monday AM just as we had finished breakfast and were loading the car for the trip back to Manchester it started to rain heavily, but it stayed warm. Ted eased into Monday morning rush hour traffic while I called out the exits we needed to follow to get back to the car rental place, and we arrived with just enough time for Ted to catch a train, and for me to catch my flight. It still took us two hours to go 40 miles, but this was because of the heavy traffic, not our touring instincts…

It was a great weekend, and everyone we encountered went out of their way to make us feel at home. We’d like to think that all of the Campers took home some new ideas to work with, as well as some new acquaintances to stay in contact with. Again, many thanks to Robert and Liz for their time and efforts on everyone’s behalf !

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.