2013 Florida Camp Shopbot

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Our host Dave Rosenbleeth decided that for this year’s version of the Florida Camp, we would do a Friday session on sign making that would include info on specific skills, materials, techniques, etc. He displayed a wide variety of sign making supplies which were provided by Coastal Enterprises, and then had the South Florida rep for Onsrud Tools, Bob Schwartz come in and give a talk about tooling for these kinds of materials.
Bob cut through the “voodoo” about choosing the right bit for different types of cutting, and he was able to give people a lot of info in terms of flute types, suggested feeds/speeds, and ways to extend a tools working life.
Kit Hajczewski is a Shopbotter who runs a sign shop in Upstate New York ( and therefore tries to attend the Florida Camp in the Winter….). She was able to answer some “real world” scenarios in terms of running a sign business, as well as suggesting a number of tips and tricks that help when building signs on a production level.
And Dave had designed, and cut a sign specifically for the Camp so he described how he had created it, and then we all got into various options for making similar pieces.
Even though it wouldn’t probably qualify as a traditional “sign” it was very hard to take your eyes off of the “rolling advertisements” brought in both days by Andrew Mcclary. On Friday he drove his Electric powered GT 40 sport car to the Camp and he spent some time speaking about how he has morphed his CNC interest over the years from signs, to custom furniture, and now electric vehicle conversions.
On Saturday Gary Campbell did a great AM session on the maintenance of a Shopbot, and the Production Support program. He walked us through a few daily, and monthly “check lists” of things to DO, and be aware of. He described specific setups for different machines. And he answered numerous individual questions to help people do some self diagnostics when they got back to their own shops. Gary used Dave’s “PRT/S” Shopbot conversion to show some of the different components, and their specific properties. It was a good demonstration platform because Dave runs his machine on a regular basis in his cabinet shop so it does work hard.
Mike Wright brought in a few pieces for the Show and Tell session. He showed everyone how he’s been doing prototypes for a customer out of 2 pound EPS foam. Mike described the design and cutting techniques he used, as well as getting into HOW his prototype was used in the final production process for his customer. He also went through some carbon fiber tricks that they used with his molds. Then Mike showed a technique he’s been playing with where he is doing what amounts to a “poured inlay”. He showed a sign he had cut in which he “area cleared” a piece of solid surface material and then filled in the cut areas with a substance he mixed, poured ,and then sanded to produce a very clean, great looking sign.
Andrew Mcclary followed up the GT 40 by driving his “Electrovaire” to the Camp on Saturday! It’s a converted 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Monza that he’s now running off of a lithium ion battery pack similar to the one in his GT 40. Andrew showed us how he is using his Shopbot to help do the conversions on his cars with a hefty chunk of aluminum he’s cutting to enable him to mount his electric motors to the conversions. He also spoke about his experience in cutting aluminum, and how he can quickly make adaptations to his designs by doing his test cuts “in house”.
During the Show and Tell local ‘Botter Max Showker brought in some long boards, and explained how he’s been trying a variety of materials, and cutting techniques to create a stronger, lighter “vehicle”. He brought a few of his boards made of aluminum, plyboo, and laminated veneers. Max and Nate Mc Murtrie also showed off some aluminum bottle openers they have been designing , and building and we got into the varying methods of doing products in volume, as well as discussing other options for building similar pieces.
Debbie Jones brought in a number of samples from her product line. She creates miniature horse jumps, gates, awards and numerous equine related pieces, and she does it on a full production basis with over 200 outlets for her products. Her products are a great example of using CNC technology to rescale existing objects in a way to make them a marketable item that can be enjoyed by multiple age levels. We spoke about numerous methods of doing this through scanning, making mold masters, and the pros/cons of off shore production.
And while all of these sessions were going on Andrew and his Son had plugged their Electrovaire into a socket on Dave’s shop wall and recharged their vehicle’s battery pack…And then as the Camp wound down they climbed in and ghosted down the street…

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