Woodworker Nick Buchholz’s ShopBot helps him explore new areas of design

This Art Nouveau building in Belgium is an inspiration for Nick Buchhholz

This Art Nouveau building in Belgium is an inspiration for Nick Buchhholz

Nick Buchholz has been an amateur woodworker for many years, maintaining a shop in his garage while working as a computer programmer for the National Observatory in Tucson, Arizona. He retired from his programming career in 2012 after 25 years with the Observatory.

“At that time I decided to purchase a CNC tool to add to my shop, and see what new projects and processes I could develop,” said Nick. “I purchased a ShopBot Buddy tool with a cutting area of 24″ x 48″; I would have liked a larger tool, but the limits of my garage prevented that!”

Nick’s design interests are varied, and he says he enjoys pursuing all of them. “My original intention for the ShopBot tool was to create art nouveau and art deco dollhouse doors and windows, as well as model railroad buildings in various sizes.” So far, Nick reports, he’s designed and built a door, several signs for local businesses, parts for a marimba, a lot of storage shelving (“That’s so easy with the ShopBot”), and has been delving into making wooden flutes in the Native American style.

“My goal with purchasing a ShopBot was to be able to do more precision work more easily, and to figure out ways to generally work more efficiently with materials. It’s a process, and I’m enjoying it,” says Nick. “I’ve found that with the addition of the ShopBot tool, I haven’t used my table saw in a while.”

Some examples of Nick’s work…

Sign for model railroad club

Sign for model railroad club

Framework for model railroad buildings on the ShopBot

Framework for model railroad buildings on the ShopBot

Model building frames

Model building frames

Finished Red Cross tents for model railroad scenery

Finished Red Cross tents for model railroad scenery

Nick has designed unique signage for local businesses…

yoga sign 1

“The casters and handle make it easy for the sign to be folded up at the end of the day and stored.”

Close-up of yoga studio signage

Close-up of yoga studio signage

“Lately I’ve been doing quite a bit of work making Native American-style flutes,” Nick said. “I’ve been using walnut, creating the flute in halves, and doing all of the hole bore work with the ShopBot. There are some very useful links to flute design plans that assist you with correctly adjusting the flute to make the acoustical physics work.” One such site is the Native American “Flutomat” online design tool.

Below are some shots of the flutes that Nick has been making. “I just love the calming sound of the Native American flute. I want to share it!” Nick noted that a friend of his hand carves the bird-shaped additions to the flute that you see at the mouthpiece end.”

flute 1

 

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