2009 Florida Camp Shopbot

With Winter being SO long in the North this year we were all thinking about heading down to Gary Campbell’s shop in Tavernier,FL for a chance to thaw out, while chilling out…Sometimes the best laid plans of ‘Botters, etc. however. A cold snap dropped South for a few days and we just happened to catch most of it for our visit. Instead of the ’70’s we had ’40’s. Instead of clear blue skies, we had clouds, etc. Probably just as well since more than a few of us were in town early to maximize our thermal exposure, and instead we wound up having a extra day or two of sessions at Gary’s shop !
David Buchsbaum and John Ming rolled in from Atlanta around Wednesday. Dana and Beverly Swift drove in from Tulsa, OK just about the same time. And Bill Young’s camper rolled into Gary’s yard about 15 minutes before I showed up.So we all spent the Thursday and Friday before the Camp interrogating Gary about all of his latest upgrades, while showing off some ideas, and projects that we might not have seen at just the one day event.
Between the skull sessions, dinner, and just dodging the Northeast wind we heard ;
David B. describe some of his latest cabinet techniques, as well as giving a very good survey of the new cabinet building software system he’s using in his shop.
John described the nuances of how to safely dry wood in ways that will keep it from destroying itself during the drying process.
Dana showed us a couple of parametric programs he is writing to perform various functions around a ‘Bot Shop.
The Garys (SR & JR) explained some of the issues involved with working in an area such as the Keys (including a lack of local resources for many materials needed in a production shop, and a limited population base…).
And Ted Hall came in on Thursday with some previews of the latest Beta software.
We also got to see how a spindle control board is installed into a control box and programmed.
As the weekend got closer, the temps slowly warmed up a little (very little actually as Dana and Beverly had by then resorted to buying a hair dryer as a heat source for the hotel room they were staying in which was devoid of any other heat source. I was wrapping my window air conditioner with towels to minimize air intrusion, etc., etc…).
Friday afternoon was when the ” weekend campers” started to show up. By then we had thoroughly dissected Gary’s upgrades, Ted Hall had written two new versions of the Beta software back at the hotel, and we had consumed large amounts of warm coffee, and baked goods…
We covered a bunch of what is generally considered ” universal” topics as we had new, old, and prospective ‘Botters in attendance. Gary’s vacuum experiments were a large part of this segment, as well as his reasons for automating much of his machine’s capabilities. His machine is ” heavily modified” and he showed us HOW he made the changes.
Ted described the latest ( at least at that point in time) version of the Beta software, and what the new tools would allow us to do. This in turn sparked a ” side discussion” regarding the idea of having Shopbotters collaborate on large projects, or distributing work loads around the country, etc.
Dick Morgan showed off a number of the pieces he’s been doing that involved extensive experiments with the Sculpt Nouveau coatings, and patinas.
Dave Rosenbleeth also showed some of his metallic coated work, as well as a lithophane he did of his grandfather.
Bill Young explained some of the latest work going on in the software end, as well as where the new ” WIKI”, and web page was starting to head, etc.
And I couldn’t let those in attendance think that all Gary did was to ” tinker” with the hardware on his machine. It took a few days but I was able to chase down the cannon (carriage) he had cut out for me while he was in the process of redesigning his shop layout (see above…). Now that it’s sealed and painted it’s turning heads all over Key West…
Lot’s of good information, for all levels of expertise !!!

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