2013 Summer Camp at Colby College, Waterville, ME

In all the years we’ve been holding Camps we have never done one in the Summertime. SO when we were offered the chance to use the Strider theater at Colby College we jumped at the opportunity. John Ervin has been using a 4’by 4′ PRS  Shopbot in his capacity as technical director/instructor and he arranged for us to have the complete run of their beautiful 250 seat theater.

Our timing was pretty unique as it turned out that we were holding the Camp on the biggest weekend of the Summer at Colby. They run an extensive series of programs for young adults, many of them also called “camps”, so once you entered the campus there were signs for different “camps” everywhere! We just happened to be the only ones dealing with CNC machinery. And Saturday was also the day they were dedicating a new wing of their art museum so the campus was a very busy place !

OUR Campers were a mixed group. Contractors, cabinet builders, crafters, people doing production runs, a sign maker,and one CAD programmer who had already built a machine of his own, but was looking to move up a notch so he came by to learn about the Shopbot.

John showed us the facility, and what he does with his machine. That can range anywhere from creating scenery for theatrical productions, to making various signage when needed by the college. He also teaches a class for Colby students called “Stage craft” in which he gets some of the students to design, and build various projects on the ‘Bot.

We watched a short video on the Donek drag knife, and the new Shopbot Handibot.

We did some demos on using a vacuum system , and discussed how various techniques would work on different people’s machines ( we ranged from a 5′ x8’ to a few Buddys, and  Desktop.)

We spoke about the techniques used by various  people to create different effects in sign building, and that included finishing with the Sculpt Nouveau system.

I gave a short talk about the technique of “slicing files” so people could build objects larger than their machines, and then we went over some of the different materials people are using to create their work.

I had various samples of HDU, PVC, Color core, and some engraved marble to go over.

We also went into John’s shop and did some discussion about grounding a machine, and dust collection setups. What worked, and didn’t. And we had John show how he’s plumbed HIS large vacuum system through the floor of his shop to minimize noise, and heat while still maintaining good airflow, and holding power.

One thing we didn’t have a lot of this time around was Show and Tell pieces ! Some people had come to the Camp from vacation locations and hadn’t brought any items on their vacation..

But what people DID bring  was information to exchange! Sources of Trupan, and names of distributors for everything from plastics, to shop insurance! How to buy LED’s and run them in shop built frames. What type of dust collectors were working better than others, etc., etc. And a number of business cards were exchanged for later follow ups.

A beautiful venue for a Camp, and a good day for all who took a little time out to make the effort to be there. Hope we can do it again sometime!



Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.