2010 Tidewater, VA Camp Shopbot

Bank-side Angus Hines has had a pretty busy year. He’s been doing the rounds of all the Maker Faires, as well as working on a bunch of Shopbot cut projects, and earlier in the year he held a User group for owners in his area.

After everyone attending was suitably screened, and sniffed, by Fabulous Frank, (the 165 pound Pyrenees who seems to hold some sort of management position in Angus’s shop) we started off the day with some catching up of the latest goings on down in Durham, etc. Unlike most Camps this one had a sort of “rolling attendance”as a number of people drove in from some distance so we finished the day with twice as many people as we started. 7 people showed up after 3PM… So a lot of the day was spent going over some machine info, with a bunch of one on one sessions all over the place.

We got into a great discussion about how to cut plastics, during which Howard Everton shared a lot of his expertise about cutting a variety of polycarbonates, PVC’s, etc. Then Ted drove in with one of the latest prototypes of the new Desktop tool and everyone wanted to play….. He got it out of his van, set it up, and then he went over some of it’s features for all of us. This version had a small ( .8 horsepower) spindle, but a small router will also be offered as an option in the final version. The entire unit can be plugged right into a 20 amp, 110 volt circuit. The VFD is small enough to ride on the gantry while the tool is in use ! Obviously this was a lot of fun for all of us…

Fred Fitzsimmons from Centurion Tools showed us some of his latest router bits; a 1/8″ball nosed version for 3D carving, and we chucked one into the Desktop unit and carved a file out of cherry, and maple with it. Nice bit. Then during the day Bill Young, and Angus showed off a few projects they have been working on. Bill brought in a kid’s “bank” made using another, new joint he invented. This time he created multi faceted joints ( see above…) that form a VERY tight final piece. Yet you CAN take it apart, once you know how….

And Angus and Bill worked on a set of “oak plywood puzzle tiles”in which they used a puzzle type of interlocking joint to tie together a “field”of tiles that Angus installed in a hallway of his home. It’s sort of a “puzzle parquet” project, and the concept should give a few people some ideas…Angus served one of his “local food” lunches, and bar b q, ham, muffins, etc. were enjoyed by all…

Much of the afternoon was spent going over some of the new technologies being created in the CNC, desktop printing, and robotic industries with a group of local guys ranging from ex Langley/NASA engineers, to hackers who have an active group/shop in the area, and are familiar with Angus and his work. They came by to hear about the Shopbot, and then before long everyone was trading ideas, tricks, ( and eating bar b q) etc. In fact the Camp seems to have generated a “field trip”next month with a bunch of the guys coming up to the Maker Faire in New York City…!

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