Makerspaces in Education: Becoming Comfortable Using Your ShopBot and Other Digital Fabrication Tools

Showing off projects created on a ShopBot CNC and a laser cutter

Do you own or have access to digital fabrication equipment such as a ShopBot CNC machine, laser cutter, or 3D printer, and an interest in education? Do you want to know more about the software and machines available for digital fabrication in education? Are you a facilitator of a digital fabrication lab or makerspace who would like to join a support network of other educators to discuss project-based learning, lesson plans, and how to address standards? Then this hands-on workshop is for you! ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle will be facilitating a multi-day “Digital Fabrication in Education” workshop at ShopBot headquarters in Durham, NC.

This 2½ day workshop will begin with ShopBot CNC machines. Using VCarve Pro CAD/CAM software, we will design and prepare files for machining on a ShopBot. The sessions will then move to cross-platform training—demonstrating how designs originally intended for one digital fabrication tool can be prepared for use on another platform (example: CNC to laser or vinyl cutter, 3D printing to 3D Carving on a CNC machine). Topics will include design flow, 2D vs. 3D, computer aided design (CAD) and machining (CAM) software, and how to evaluate which digital fabrication process is best for a desired outcome. The final half day will return to ShopBot tools, providing more advanced information for those charged with installing, maintaining, or getting the most out of their CNC machine. If there is sufficient time and interest, we will have a session with an introduction to Fusion 360 CAD/CAM software and/or using a Rotary Indexer on the ShopBot.

While you do not have to have CNC or CAD/CAM experience, familiarity with some aspect of digital fabrication would be helpful. There will be opportunities for show and tell, and at least one round table discussion, so you should come prepared with questions and/or examples of how to use digital fabrication in education. Working in collaboration with your fellow attendees, you should leave the workshop with hands-on projects and ideas to address topics related to STEM, CTE, the Arts, Common Core, and/or Next Generation Science Standards.


Summer Session 2018 • June 14- 16, 2018

On-site at the ShopBot facility in Durham, NC

  • Thursday: 9am–5pm
    Thursday evening open hours to work on your own project (optional)
  • Friday: 9am–5pm
  • Saturday: 9am–1pm
  • 2.5 days total (2 CEU credits)
  • Cost: $400 per computer seat (we can have up to 2 people per computer)


How to Sign Up

If you’re interested in attending the workshop, send us an email at with your name, contact details, and a couple of sentences about your experience level. And of course, questions are welcome!

For more info on the event, check out the blogs that describe previous workshops in July 2017 and 2016. To learn more about local accommodations and other things in Durham, see the visitors section of our website.

About the Workshop Leader

Sallye Coyle is experiencing how rapid advances in computers, software, and technology have changed the way education is served by digital fabrication spaces. She has traveled extensively in the US and the world, working with schools, Fab Labs, and makerspaces to “train the trainers” in how to use the digital fabrication technology, as well as how to build, maintain, and use ShopBot tools.

Special guests

In addition to ShopBot CNC tools, Handibot® Smart Power Tools populate the ShopBot Training Area. We are working on making a suite of other digital fabrication tools (and their handlers) available on-site for the workshop. These tools include: a vinyl cutter, laser cutter, and an Ultimaker 3D printer.

1 comment to Makerspaces in Education: Becoming Comfortable Using Your ShopBot and Other Digital Fabrication Tools

  • Swapan Majumdar

    I am based in Dubai and want to engage myself with Digital Fabricarion tools , SW , education etc. please advise me on this.