2012 Rosharon, TX Camp Shopbot

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Troy Carlson let us know that he had a shop with plenty of space, and pointed out that we hadn’t had a Camp in the Houston, TX area for quite awhile so we worked out a date and on Saturday the 13th we held our first Camp Shopbot in Rosharon, TX.
Scraped ice off my windshield to get to the airport, and it was about 90 degrees in Texas, ahhhhhhh…….
Troy’s got some interesting things going on at the shop. He owns one of the first generation Shopbot automatic tool changer machines along with a hot rodded, dual Z axis ” PR” model ‘Bot (they are part of a ” fleet” of five Shopbots he has had running in his shop over the years) . One of the more unique projects he has been working on is developing a way to build some of his custom window dressings and shutters out of a cement board material so it will last forever….. … Both machines serve separate purposes as Troy produces products on one machine, and prototypes files, and shapes on the other.
He also has a great arrangement with some local friends in the lumber business and he is getting large ” sinkers” ( old logs recovered from the bottoms of local rivers that have been submerged for many, many years ) to work/play with. Due to their sizes they are too large to plane on most conventional bed planers so Troy does the face milling for the log mill, and in return has access to some very beautiful logs.
As the day went on Troy explained some of his different setups, and processes for milling everything from louvered shutters, to live edged mantle piece carvings. He’s been able to work out a variety of shapes that can easily be resized for custom work, and that lets him run more than one job at the same time. And he does custom templating for a custom furniture designer who is then able to “test” his designs full sized before committing to them as products.
Terry Jones brought in a number of nice pieces for the Show and Tell session. Terry has made a few Camps this year and he’s been able to bring one project from Camp to Camp so we could see his progress in the carving, and coating phases. He’s been doing a lot of foam carvings with metallic coatings. And he uses both Sculpt Nouveau and Modern Masters materials along with their respective patinas, so we could see some variety in the results. He also ran through the painting process of a beautiful foam salmon he created, including the hard coating process to make the foam more durable.
As a group we went over some of the more “general” topics including a pretty good session on various router bits, and software packages. A number of people had good sources for plastics, MDF, etc. in the area, and we went over a few of the newer ‘add ons’ such as the swiveling blade holder that cuts very thin material cleanly. There was a LOT of interest in rotary carving , and how to set up the fourth access as well.
Troy did a demo file with the Automatic Tool Changer and 6.5 HP spindle package he’s running so people could hear what a large spindle sounds like in operation ( and it sounds pretty good…). This was a BIG eye opener to more than a few people…
Interesting products, and conversations all day. Thanks Troy!

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