2013 Austin,TX Camp Shopbot

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New Camp Year, and we started off in Austin, TX at Wayne Locke’s shop.
As mentioned in prior Blogs the Austin Camp is our oldest ongoing event, and it’s always interesting to see over the years how people are using their machines as they gain more and more experience, both with their hardware, and software.
We kicked it off on Friday with a brief talk about what’s been going on in the Shopbot universe over the last year including some info about the 3D printer and also the drag knife attachment from Donek snowboards. A lot of interest in the knife as people had many ideas of what they could do with it.
Then J.E.Johnson did the first presentation with a great description of how he and the staff of the University of Texas Visual Arts center collaborated with artist Diana Al-Hadid to build a large, complex art piece which they cut from REN board . He went over the stages of working with 3D scans, developing techniques for cutting a large surface area which was broken into many smaller pieces, cutting the individual pieces, and then doing the full assembly with much of this work being done remotely between Texas and New York. A very good example of how well CNC is becoming integrated into the arts.
Ron Matherly attended the Houston, TX Camp back in October and has since ordered his own Shopbot. He brought in some of his first efforts and we all got into some tips and tricks to help him get up and running.
Steve Glassel did an excellent session on “V carving”. He gave some great examples of how different tooling can achieve a variety of effects. he also went into some of the tool pathing strategy involved for specific “looks”. And he had some very good illustrations prepared to document his talk.
Our host, Wayne then spoke about how he has used his machine over the years to develop new shapes for the type of clientele he works with- high end pieces for various religious facilities. He also spoke about his methods of using the Shopbot and his shop built indexer to carve beautifully turned pieces that are then incorporated into his pieces.
Then he brought out a bench he built which shows off both his talent, as well as his sense of humor…
Tim and Mona Maroney had to leave early, but they brought in a few plaques they had carved to display.
Right after lunch we had some Show and tell presentations;
Will Leonard of the Alley Theater in Houston showed us a project they tried where they used the Shopbot probe to scan and cut some molding for stage scenery. This kicked off a discussion about various ways to obtain data to carve. He also explained how they use their machine to create the framework for a variety of projects which have to be done on the shortest of deadlines.
Terry Jones brought in a couple of pieces he has been working on over the last year.
At the 2012 Austin Camp he brought in a Styrofoam carving of a fish and explained his cutting technique. This year he brought back the same fish, only now it’s painted, and finished off nicely. Terry also had a number of other foam pieces where he has been experimenting with a variety of coating techniques and we spoke briefly about some of the products/coatings which are now available to make foam a viable material for various projects. He also brought in a clever jig he has created for holding his plaques in place while carving them.
Gordon Hendley brought in a few plaques, both wooden and foam he has been working on, and we went into some of the options of using different bits for cutting text, and then techniques of coating similar projects. This prompted a discussion about different types of bits, speeds, etc. to use with some of these materials, and a few people had recommendations of their favorite tooling.
First session Saturday I did a talk about the maintenance of a Shopbot. We went over a basic schedule of planned maintenance as well as realistic expectations of longevity to expect with some relatively easy, inexpensive procedures. Monty MaGill chimed in here about the recent Production Support Service call made at his shop to get his machine back into optimal operating condition, and he pointed out the real value of such a visit to those using their machine in a business/production capacity .
David Lemke showed a technique he has developed to make “female wooden molds” out of MDO for the building of light, fast fishing boats. Over the last few years David has been showing a variety of different boat building techniques at this Camp, and his latest system incorporates the ability to his machine to create accurate panels quickly. He then uses his Shopbot to build the framework, and any other supporting members needed to produce a very sleek, and accurate mold in a fraction of the time more traditional methods would take.
Brett Dickinson had just returned from yet another highly successful competition at the high school state level in which his students won 9 out of the 10 categories they entered! He showed some recent shots of this year’s students and their projects which keep getting better, and better every year. He’s also been great about sharing his program with other teachers in Texas, and he certainly has proven the motivational value of giving his students a real skill they can USE after they graduate…
Brooke Davis gave an update of her shop where she does everything from contract cutting, to teaching CNC classes. She showed a portion of her CNC portfolio and brought in some work to pass around. Of particular interest was her version of “wooden alligator skin” where she did a great job of developing a truly reptile feel to a large piece of spalted wood ! In addition Brooke spoke about the CNC process AS a designer and explained how it’s helped her add to her bag of tricks.
Scott Cox brought in some of his turned pieces which he’s created using his indexer, and he gave a short talk on methods of creating a variety of shapes using the tool. He brought in a carved football, and baseball bat to show the final results.
Santiago Laverde brought us up to date on some of his work. He showed pictures of an assembly he did recently down in Colombia where he set up a Five axis Shopbot for a University . He then showed a video of the machine in action after it was installed and he answered a number of questions about the five axis machine, and software.
The he showed some pieces he had created using a recently acquired “toy” a new 3 head 3D printer which gives him the ability to “shoot” a variety of materials. There was a LOT of interest about 3D printers and we also had a few MakerBot owners present who chimed in with even more info. So now everyone wants yet another piece of equipment in their shop…
Another great effort on behalf of Wayne to host the event and make everyone’s time both informative, and enjoyable….

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