ShopBot’s CNC Village Came to Life at Bay Area Maker Faire


The 10th Annual Bay Area Maker Faire was extended to a 3-day event this year, May 15-17. With over 130,000 visitors, the Bay Area event is the largest of its kind. ShopBot’s 40’ circular tent was chock-full of CNC tools continuously cutting, carving, and sculpting, making everything from flat-pack stools to picture frames to stormtrooper ornaments.



We were excited to share the next step in the evolution of the Handibot open-source motion control system called FabMo that we’ve been developing (check out for technical info). FabMo allows users to run digital fabrication tools wirelessly from any device. ShopBot’s Ryan Sturmer was interviewed by MakeZine and was invited to speak on a Beagle Bone Black panel at one of the MAKE stages during the faire.


ShopBot offered two tool sneak previews at Maker Faire. One of those being the Handibot 2.0, which brings together many features that have been requested on the community website and forum by early adopters of the tool. ShopBot’s Brian Owen talks about the enhancements underway in this short video. Visitors also got to see the Handibot’s new accessory base and rotary axis cutter making candle sticks out of acrylic cylinders. Read Brian’s summary post on the Handibot Blog.


The other sneak preview was of the Desktop MAX, a much anticipated 24″x36″ bed tool that is modeled after our very popular Desktop 24″x18” machine. Stay tuned for release dates and more information on this innovative new machine.

MF_AutistryA special shout-out and thank you to Janet Lawson and Dan Swearington of Autistry Studios. This amazing duo cut out gear pieces, made a mini version of a playhouse, and shared their experiences with thousands of visitors and educators at the faire. We saw firsthand the successful work that Austistry Studios is doing with autistic teens and their families, and how they use the ShopBot as a featured tool in their programs. These kids start with simple projects that help them gain skills and confidence and move on to create and design complex projects that motivate and inspire them to keep learning. For more information on Autistry Studios, read this article on the ShopBot blog.

We were glad to have the Vectric team demo-ing the new VCarvePro ShopBot Edition v8.0. If you haven’t upgraded you may want to do so. It’s loaded with new features but still maintains its easy to understand interface and flexibility. If you’ve never tried VCarvePro, you can download a free trial version.

A thank you to John Coker of Hobby Rocketry who brought by some of his rocket components and to Russ Wood who helped out as he has for many years – and even designed a train themed table on the fly. ShopBot’s Bill Young introduced a new approach to custom fit plywood furniture, which proved quite popular to weary faire-goers and to potential ShopBotter’s alike. Quite a few people stopped by to show off what they’ve made at the California TechShops.


Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA made a portion of their booth with carved foam panels, had examples of ceramic slip molds, and a beautiful adirondack inspired chair made on the ShopBot. We’ll be keeping an eye out for what other inspiring work comes out of this group!

One of our favorite things about Maker Faire is the endless creativity and exploration of new technologies and products – there’s never a shortage of interesting things people create and share at Maker Faire.

Comments are closed.