2009 San Mateo Camp Shopbot and Maker Faire


It’s pretty hard to imagine a better venue for Shopbotters than a weekend which combines both a Camp and the Maker Faire. This year both events were full of new material, and I think everyone found something which amazed them on one level or another.
The Friday Camp started off with Ted Hall going over many of the latest developments coming out of Durham. He spoke about the latest version of the software, and the new features it includes. That software is now out of Beta stage and ready for download from the Shopbot web page.
Ted then discussed the new Automatic tool changer add on for Shopbots for those people wanting to go into higher production. There will be 6 and 8 tool options available.He then spoke about the ” 100K garages” project which is an exciting concept that will give all machine owners a larger window on the world in terms of the way they are now doing business. The web page
( 100kgarages.com) is up and running and you can get more detail there.
There is also a new program being set up for people who have purchased ” pre-owned Shopbots” and this will offer training, and warranty privileges. Call Shopbot for more details.
The afternoon sessions were led off by Roger Kirkpatrick who ran us through a demo of the new ” E-Cabinet link” which is a software collaboration between Shopbot and Thermwood. He explained how the software can actually take our input and ” improve” on our strategies to get the maximum potential from our machines. The software is actually capable of reading our input and developing more efficient cutting strategies than any software previously available to us.
Brian Moran followed that talk with the latest developments being conjured up at Vectric. He showed a bunch of new tools which will be added to Aspire and their other programs in the next version, and explained some of their ideas for even more add ons down the line.
A great example of how fast things are moving in both the software and hardware worlds was shown when we went over to the Show Barn Saturday to start our display for the Maker Faire. In order to insure that the spindle on the Alpha Buddy machine was perfectly aligned Ted used the latest application for his I-phone which was a ” plumb bob” tool to get the spindle perfectly vertical ( see above) .
And this year’s crowds at the Maker Faire were shoulder to shoulder ! We were constantly surrounded in our booth , not only because of the interest in our machines , and carving projects but because Bill Young had come up with (yet another) idea that was the biggest hit of the Fair; he created a group of wooden pieces with ” dogbone” joints that allowed them to be connected in a variety of ways. Since an older generation of this concept had been called “Lincoln logs” the buzz at the Faire was that these should be called ” Obama logs” . EVERY kid in the area HAD to stop and play with them, and they created some pretty spectacular structures/creatures/vehicles, etc. (That is when they could elbow their parents out of the way because they too were playing with the logs…). Best story came from Sallye Coyle who said a parent came up to her and said ” my Daughter just came up to me and said ” Dad I need a 30 degree log piece to finish this building” and she’s only in the second grade” !!!
As with all Maker Faires there were the usual flame breathing insects, steam powered bicycles, and robotic bands all over the place as well. So if you couldn’t find something to keep you interested, you probably didn’t have a pulse. …

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