Opendesk marketplace side-by-side with the 100kGarages fabrication facility outfitted with a ShopBot Desktop MAX.
During the last weekend in Sept, 2015, 100kGarages and Opendesk collaborated on MakeLocal, a demonstration of local manufacturing at the World Maker Faire in New York. It evolved from a conversation at the Bay Area Maker Faire with Josh Worley of Opendesk about how we might present the concept of distributed and local manufacturing to attendees of events like Maker Faires…people who have come to think that everything has to be made in a big factory, far away! We wanted to make two main points: that these new digital tools make it practical to have the kinds of things that we all need for everyday life made locally again, and that for this to work there has to be a business model where both designer and fabricator are paid for their work.
We strongly feel that the combination of digital design and local digital fabrication enables opportunities for production that can help return manufacturing to our communities. Since it’s always better to show people something than to just tell them, we decided to create a small scale demo of how local fabrication works, with an Opendesk storefront and a 100kGarages fabrication facility right there at the New York Maker Faire. Shelter 2.0 supplied one of its new 8’x8′ shelters to use as the example workshop (“garage”), outfitted with a prototype ShopBot Desktop MAX. Opendesk set up their marketplace experience with computers to browse and purchase products. Assembled and flat-packed samples of each design were displayed to help attendees see what was available, with much of the booth fabricated by a local New York shop.
The weekend started on Thursday with both Josh and myself participating in a Makercon panel on Distributed Making. Hosted by Dale Dougherty, the father of the Maker Movement, the panel also included Andrew Grevstad from Tormach, David Ott from the International Red Cross, and Brian Garret from 3dHub. Lots of interesting perspectives on the future of manufacturing. Friday was a mad scramble to get set up and by the end of the day we had the “garage” up, the tools running, and the Opendesk showroom outfitted with the samples and display pieces. Josh had selected a subset of items from their catalog that both showed the range of designs possible and that all could be fabricated from the material we had selected…24″ x 30″ blanks of 5/8″ Baltic Birch. You can browse and download the 6 designs we fabricated, created by designers from around the world, at https://www.opendesk.cc/make-local
Our plan was for visitors to start in the Opendesk marketplace, where Josh, Will, and Joanna would explain how digital technology has made local manufacturing possible again and let them browse the range of designs available for purchase. The hope was that they would find a design that they couldn’t live without and order it instantly through the Opendesk marketplace. The 100kGarages fabrication shop next door would cut it and “deliver” it to them, with the parts still tabbed in the sheet. Although local manufacturing has real environmental benefits from things like reduced shipping, this might have been the shortest shipping distance ever…about 10 feet!
In the Opendesk marketplace explaining the concept to a Maker Faire attendee.
We didn’t know for sure if Maker Faire attendees would grasp the concept behind MakeLocal and would actually purchase plywood furniture at an event like Maker Faire, but we were overwhelmed by the reception it got. Along with some great conversations, by the end of Sunday we had sold almost 40 pieces of furniture and had to stop sales because we had run out of fabrication time! It was great success and won us an Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon.
Bill Young with one of the satisfied customers of MakeLocal.
Ted Hall (ShopBot CEO) had a chance to continue his art project that combines CNC carving with an interest in images of shoreline and sky as seen from from the water. It’s been several years since Ted’s last foray into painted carvings of seascapes and time was short, but an opportunity to spend 2 weeks at the Haystack School of Craft on Maine’s Deer Island was too good to pass up – and it was a great opportunity to test out a Handibot in a beautiful and creative setting. Click here to read his blog on the Handibot website.
Jim Lile has quite an impressive background in professional theatre. He earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama in Technical Design and Production in 1999. Over the years he has been the Technical Director, Stage Manager, Lighting Designer or staff member for a variety of theatrical and dance companies: Norwegian Cruise Lines, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Pensacola Opera, Nashville Opera and The Des Moines Civic Center. Prior to arriving at FSU, Jim was the Production Manager for Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a position he held for over seven years. He continues to work as a freelance Production Manager, Technical Director and Consultant for several regional opera companies around the country.
Jim Lile is a professional theatre technician and technical manager who also serves as Assistant Professor at the School of Theatre, College of Fine Arts, Florida State University, Tallahassee. Late this summer I met Jim when he was attending the USITT Master Classes at Playmakers Rep on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill, where ShopBot presented classes in CNC technology. (The United States Institute for Theatre Technology is an organization devoted to advancing the skills and knowledge of theatre, entertainment and performing arts professionals in the areas of design and production.)
I spoke with Jim recently about his experiences using CNC in his work and his teaching.
“CNC tools have had a hugely positive impact on theatre set production,” said Jim. “When it comes to set design and production, in many ways we’ve been playing catch-up with lighting and sound design, which have used automated processes for many, many years.”
Jim explained that ShopBot CNC is used for every production at Florida State, whether to create 90-degree cuts for large items such as walls and flooring, or intricate carvings in every set-piece in every material imaginable. “With CNC, you’re only as limited as your imagination,” said Jim.
CNC can provide efficiencies not just in production of the work, but in their storage. “Once you build pieces, you have to figure out where you’ll keep them,” said Jim. “CNC allows you to very resourceful. A recent production of La Boheme, for example, required 30 chairs on the set. How cool would it be to do a flat-pack design and CNC the chairs, then disassemble them for storage?”
CNC enables set designers to have their visions executed faithfully, with a rapidity that was not imaginable before this technology came into being:
Jim expained, “We used our ShopBot 96 x 48 tool to create this rhino for an FSU production of James and the Giant Peach; it’s about 6 feet long.”
Jim noted that in the professional theatre world, a small percentage of set designers provide their work in hand drawings, which then need to be translated in to CAD to be readied for the production process; but about 70 to 80% of designers are working in Vectorworks, Sketchup or AutoCAD.
At FSU, Jim teaches the next generation of theatre designers and technicians. He works primarily with graduate students but also a handful of undergrads. “One of the key pieces of the training here is to encourage collaboration,” Jim said. ““In any given project, the scenic designer will draw all the scenic elements, and then provide the design files to a student technician to execute. The student who is going to cut the work on the ShopBot is asked to check and redraw the design files to ensure that they are ready for machining. You have to know every step of the process inside and out. By drafting everything in 3D, we know that our cuts on the CNC will be accurate.”
Jim commented that students coming up in this digital age have some tremendous advantages. “When you are working with CNC, you know that the design you draft is exactly what you will get. A student was recently working and re-working a 1/6th scale model of an antique chair for a production. He was able to prototype the piece quickly, rework the design as it was needed, and rapidly bring it to a stage where it’s ready to be cut full size.”
This rabbit was designed and built for a production of Spamalot, and is approximately 12’ tall.
“The arch was used in a production of Summer and Smoke. It is made out of MDF and white pine, and the cornice is made from white bead foam we had custom cut. The curl detail was cut on the ShopBot.”
Jim said that working with ShopBot has been very positive. “Here at FSU, we’ve got a 96 x 48 tool that is about 10 years old,” Jim explained. “Randy Johnson came down and led a ShopBot Camp here about 2 years ago, during which he performed some needed maintenance work on the tool and provided us with some very useful operational tips.”
Jim continued, “We appreciate our relationship with ShopBot. Randy was on my panel last year at the USITT national conference. Thea Eck will be on my panel at the conference in March 2016 in Salt Lake City about rapid prototyping in theatre. Their knowledge and expertise is very valuable and they do a great job educating members of USITT about how CNC machines can change how we approach the construction process.”
Along with its basic training courses, ShopBot has been working on adding training sessions geared to the needs of specific applications. This led to the company’s participating at the USITT Master Classes at Playmakers Repertory Company. The group of theatre professionals who signed up for classes were at varying levels of CNC knowledge and practice, so ShopBot provided a ‘basic’ training as well as some more specialized training to those with more CNC experience.
ShopBot COO Randy Johnson led a workshop….
…walking participants through some of the nuances of working with V-Carve Pro
ShopBot’s Thea Eck and Al Nyonteh were onhand to teach at the USITT classes.
Randy Johnson assists a student carving a wood project with the ShopBot Desktop.
People have been asking us for some time to develop a means to quickly and precisely zero to the corner of a piece of material anywhere on the table.
This 3-Axis Zero Plate works much like ShopBot’s Z-zero plate, but is able zero the x, y, and z axes simultaneously. It comes with a special routine that touches off multiple points and uses those points to calculate the corner of the plate. It works for both outside corners and inside corners, so you can zero to the outside of a board or to the pocket of a jig. It will even tell you if your workpiece is parallel to the x and y axis of the machine!
SB Production Support Matt Schmitz Mexicali Mexico & Pleasant Hill, California
ShopBot owners are increasingly using their tools in production settings, trying to save time and increase output with the power of CNC. ShopBot has a Production Support Team dedicated to helping customers get the most out of their tools. This includes phone support and remote services, as well as site visits for training and tune-up.
Triumph Group, a leading aerospace component manufacturing company, recently purchased two 5-axis tools to cut plastic parts at one of their facilities in Mexicali, Mexico. To help them get up and running and ensure they were getting the most out of their tools, I travelled across the border and spent three days working with their engineering, manufacturing, and maintenance teams.
The first day was spent calibrating and fine-tuning each tool to ensure optimal cutting, as well as training the engineers on how to calibrate the tool themselves should they have problems in the future. The next day was spent doing extensive training on the mechanics of the tool, the control software, cut files, and programming.
The team was very interested in reducing cut time and eliminating operator complexity. We went over techniques for optimizing cut files to reduce time and improve edge quality of the finishing parts. We also looked at wiring set-ups to automate dust collection and other auxiliary operations. I wired each tool in such a way that they could restart their file with a single button. We also ran test cuts and optimized speed and ramp values to minimize time and vibration, and adjusted the cuts to the fixtures they were using for mounting parts.
All in all, we were able to get their complete cycle time down to less than a minute. It was a pleasure working with the Mexicali team and I look forward to assisting them more in the future.
Production Support also provides tune-ups and training to schools and hobbyists should they so desire. After my Mexicali trip, I spent two days at Diablo Valley College working with a wonderful group of professors, students, technicians, and volunteers to fine tune their 5-axis tool and train them on 3+2 machining operations. They had already produced some very cool 2D relief cuts in plaster – cuts mimicking, for example, the ripple of a wave – and I can’t wait to see what they produce with their Shopbot 5-axis.
When Grant Wolfe first started to learn how to use the ShopBot Buddy in his Construction Tech classes in school less than three years ago, he likely didn’t realize that he would be helping train Belton High School students on that same equipment today. The skills he developed in operating this equipment was not lost on his Construction Tech Teacher, Craig Sullivan, and when Grant graduated in 2014, Sullivan found himself without one of his best helpers.
Construction Tech classes cover a wide variety of skills and Sullivan’s program excelled in multiple areas, but especially in Team Works competitions – where they received state and national recognition. Because of the amount of time it took to cover all these areas and compete at a national level, Sullivan found that he did not have the time he needed to devote to training students on the ShopBot CNC equipment (although the interest level was very high). Knowing that Grant was still in the area taking classes at Temple College, Sullivan decided that there was no better person to assist him in training current students on the ShopBot. His school district agreed and decided to hire Grant on a part-time basis for the year.
It may seem unlikely for most students to learn so much so quickly that they would find themselves in demand as a CNC trainer, but not in this case. When Grant saw what this tool could do while in his Construction Tech classes, there was no stopping him. When he wasn’t working on the ShopBot at school, he was busy watching training tutorials and working with the Aspire software at home. As soon as he mastered one concept, he was busy learning a new one. In less than five weeks, after participating in a two-day ShopBot training at his school, he found himself featured in a newspaper article in the Temple Daily Telegram (tdtnews.com).
Throughout his junior year, Grant continued to develop his skills on the ShopBot and became one of his teacher’s “go to” students when it came to operating this equipment. In fact, because of the advances being made, and the assistance of Grant and other students, Belton purchased two more ShopBots that year and has since added one more. They now have a total of three Buddies and one Desktop. Throughout the year, Grant continued to amaze his peers, teachers and the entire community with what he could do on this equipment. Before the end of his junior year, the school district approached him and a fellow student, Eric Keis, about building the school’s float for the Independence Day Parade. Keep in mind that this is no small assignment since Belton’s parade has been ranked in the top 10 for the entire country!
With the help of Blender and Aspire to design the project, and the ShopBot to do the machining, a true masterpiece was created. To give you an idea of the size of the project, the Statue of Liberty head alone weighed almost 300 pounds. Other components, including the American Eagle, were also cut to perfection using the ShopBot. To see more details on this project check out this ShopBot blog post.
Although his junior year achievements were a hard act to follow, Grant continued to develop his skills during his senior year. He continued to experiment with 3D as well as 2D design work. From numerous award plaques to intricate millwork for local businesses, Grant showed that he was not content to rest on his laurels. He also started developing his skills with ShopBot accessories such as the Widget Works diamond drag engraving bit and started to learn how to use the ShopBot rotary indexing head.
When it comes to using design software and the ShopBots, you could say that Grant went from first grade to graduate school in less than two years. This year, Sullivan already has at least 30 students wanting to learn how to use the ShopBot tools. If the interest continues to grow, Grant just might find himself in line for more than a part-time position.
The BF himself. Founding Father. Inventor. Tinkerer. Maker. If he’d lived in our time, you know he’d own a ShopBot :)
“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” So said Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers and also one of our country’s earliest inventors / Makers / tinkerers.
Why is wise Ben Franklin on our minds of late? Because it would seem there are some who would like to benefit — unjustly — from the good reputation that ShopBot Tools has been building for almost 20 years. These people, doing business on the internet, would like you to associate their CNC tools with the ShopBot® brand of CNC tools. The tools that these people are trying to sell you are not ShopBots.
If you visit www.alibaba.com, a Chinese company, and search the word “shopbot” with their search tool, a page will come up with numerous CNC tools and related equipment, touting the name “ShopBot” or “shopbot” in the main product descriptions. But rest assured, not one of these items are actually ShopBots. The term “ShopBot,” by the way, is a registered trademark of ShopBot Tools, Inc., and ShopBots are made in and sold from only one place, the company’s headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
As seen on Alibaba.com. This is most definitely NOT a ShopBot® tool.
This is a ShopBot® Desktop CNC. Note the distinctive blue-colored edge of the tool. All of our tools feature the “ShopBot blue” color, and all of them rock our logo….
What can be said of these non-ShopBot tools being sold out of China? The quality of Chinese products has been improving. There are probably some good tools among them. We just want you to know that they are not ShopBots.
We also understand there are a number of American companies that import Chinese-made CNC components and then assemble them in the US. These tools may suffice for some. But these imported tools are not ShopBot Tools.
What makes a ShopBot Tool so special that others seek, at best, to flatter it with imitation — and at worst, to lead you into thinking that their tool is a ShopBot?
A ShopBot is a tool designed and built to the exacting standards of its developers in Durham. We have been innovating, developing, and building professional digital fabrication tools for almost 20 years now. We understand the tools and also design and create the software that runs them. The result of these efforts is a growing line of production tools that are powerful, precise, and reliable — and affordable, too.
It has been our mission since 1996 to make the tools of modern manufacturing accessible to all — especially to small and medium size production facilities. There are now more than 8000 ShopBot Tools at work in schools, makerspaces, FabLabs, TechShops and importantly, in production facilities of all sizes in the US and around the world. Everything from circuit boards, to kitchen cabinetry, to parts for boats, delivery trucks and fighter jets are being manufactured with ShopBot tools.
If you own a ShopBot, you know that a ShopBot is more than the tool itself. It is also the support that we surround you with to help ensure you get the most from CNC technology. You have access to free technical support for as long as you own the tool, and that’s just the beginning. You can jump onto the ShopBot users forum (a very busy, informative place), take a ShopBot training class online, watch training videos online, or visit us for training here in Durham. We also offer specialized production support services to ensure your successful integration of ShopBot tools into your workflow.
Beyond that, we assist entrepreneurial people to grow their businesses with the help of our free site, 100kGarages.com. This is a resource that enables collaboration between digital fabbers and product designers around the world (you don’t even need to own a ShopBot to participate; your professional use of any digital fabrication tool will grant you access to the community).
We’re proud of the reputation that we have been building for these 20 years, and we understand that it is dependent solely upon the satisfaction of our users. We love to meet and get to know ShopBot users, and we like telling their stories. There are dozens of these stories here on the ShopBot blog; if you’re doing something you’re proud of with your ShopBot, we’d love to hear about it and tell the world. Finally, if there’s anything we can do to help you with your ShopBot tool, just get in touch.
ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle, FabLab manager Walter Gonzalez Amao, and ShopBot’s Ted Hall display the Peruvian flag (home country to many of ShopBot’s recent guests).
“It was nice to be able to just spend casual time and compare notes with other FabLab managers.” “It was fun to enjoy our community.” “The seminar was very informative. I feel I can troubleshoot technical issues better, and I’m more prepared to train others in using the ShopBot.” “I loved the Durham Bulls baseball game!”
These are just a few of the thoughts that FabLab managers from all around the world shared about their time at a unique PRE-Fab 11 Event that ShopBot held at their headquarters in Durham, NC, on July 30 and 31st. About 25 visitors were in attendance, visiting from the U.S., Peru, New Zealand, Canada, Taiwan, Paris, and Israel, among other locations. They all work in FabLabs (where ShopBot Tools are used along with laser cutters and 3D printers), and all were journeying to the U.S. to participate in Fab 11 World Conference being held in the Boston area Aug. 3-9.
International Fab Lab managers and ShopBot employees gathered on the ShopBot production floor
A bit of background: what’s a FabLab?
Originating from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms, FabLabs bring the technologies of digital fabrication to people in smaller U.S. communities and in developing countries around the world, giving people the technological tools that can enable them to leapfrog into 21st century lean manufacturing for the betterment of their local communities.
“FabLab is a perfect fit for ShopBot,” said Ted Hall, ShopBot’s founder and CEO. “We’re focused on technology and education,” he said, “and we’re proud to be participating in this effort to support innovation and manufacturing through the use of technology.”
FabLabs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway. Activities range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation. Projects being developed and produced include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, and custom housing.
Fab 11 is the world organization’s 11th Annual Celebration, and ShopBot decided to hold this pre-conference event to provide Fab 11 conference attendees a tour of ShopBot, specialized training to enable them to teach others CNC skills, and support them as advocates for CNC and ShopBot throughout the world.
The first day of the visit began with breakfast and a tour of ShopBot. Highlights included:
Developer Brian Owen and Sallye Coyle demonstrate the Handibot Smart Power Tool. Sallye showed how a large material jig allows you to work on projects that far exceed the size of the Handibot
Visitors get a demo of the 5-Axis CNC from Nate Zellmer
Ryan Patterson talks about the vacuum hold-down system on a 96 x 48 gantry CNC tool
FabLabbers test the power of the vacuum. It holds!
ShopBot led seminars on both days, covering topics such as the knowledge you need to become a “ShopBot Guru” — useful tips for setting up the ShopBot, working with the vacuum hold-down, special circumstances for international use of the tools (including power requirements and international computer set-up), as well as common troubleshooting topics.
The seminar leaders also provided teacher training, enabling these FabLab managers to teach V-Carve Pro, sharing examples of problem-based learning, and issues to consider when using ShopBot along with other digital fabrication equipment in a FabLab. The attendees also shared their experiences educating others about using ShopBot tools.
Attendees also got an inside peek at ShopBot’s development of FabMo. An open source project, FabMo and its G2 motion-system core form a platform linking your favorite device such as a smartphone or tablet to the digital fabrication work that you want to do on your digital fabrication tool.
Sallye walks the group through a problem-based learning exercise
Meeting some of the guests.
I had a chance to meet and speak with a few of the FabLab visitors. One was Kelly Zona from TIES Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM. Kelly is a Senior Consultant for Engineering Design and Fab Lab; in this role, she works with the Fab Foundation to help communities set up Fab Labs. “The Foundation has been given grants by Chevron to set up ten Fab Labs. I help set up the labs and also develop projects for the labs to use in their communities.”
Like several of the visitors at ShopBot’s pre-Fab 11 event, Kelly has a background in architecture. “In grad school at Cornell, I had the opportunity to work on several design-build projects, which involved CNC,” said Kelly. “I found that I was gravitating more toward making kinetic things rather than static objects. This interest led me to discover FabLabs and their mission; I became the project director at a FabLab in Baltimore, and this led to my FabLab work at TIES Teach.”
At the Fab 11 conference which followed ShopBot’s event, Kelly led a hands-on workshop: “Design, Build and Race an Aquatic Robot,” in which participants ‘dove into’ the world of Ocean Engineering, using digital design and fabrication tools to engineer an efficient frame for an underwater robot and race against others to see whose is the fastest.
Reflecting on her time at ShopBot, Kelly said, “The main thing I took away was how nice it was to socialize with members of the international FabLab world. We have a lot in common, and everyone also had interesting perspectives to share.” She also noted that she appreciates the holistic approach that ShopBot takes to helping the FabLab community. “There’s really an effort to integrate everything,” Kelly said. “The tools and educational projects are well documented, the online training and videos are hugely helpful, and when I’ve called with technical questions— which has been a fair amount— everyone’s been super helpful. It was great to meet the ShopBot folks in person and say thank you!”
Benito Juarez is the President of FabLab Lima (www.fablablima.org). We spoke at length about his big dream project, to build a floating FabLab on the Amazon river — allowing them to serve many communities.
Ohad Meyuhas is the Director of Education and Technology for FabLab Israel. He told me that he’s started several FabLabs in Israel, and is now working on setting up smaller makerspaces in libraries, and teaching teachers to educate their students. Ohad also works for Stratasys, where his role to is be a liaison to academia; he brings them custom digital fabrication solutions to meet their needs.
Henry Sanchez from Lima runs a FabLab that’s focused on introducing the world of digital fabrication to kids — very young kids aged 4 through 12. The website is www.n-evo.com. Henry says that the parents naturally become very excited about learning more when they see what their children are learning and doing.
No visit to Durham would be complete without a visit to the American Tobacco Campus downtown, where the FabLabbers enjoyed dinner at Tyler’s Taproom, music on the lawn — and of course, a Durham Bulls game across the street at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park!
We first encountered Cindy Jian while attending the World Maker Faire in San Mateo in May of 2015. Or rather we first saw the “3 for Life” exhibition, an oversized furniture installation conceived by Marie Applegate and her team; Cindy was instrumental in the construction of this eye-catching set of furniture. The project encourages positive interactions through reminding adults of their inner child. “We want people to have the sensory experience of remembering what it felt like to be a 3 or 4 year old in an adult-sized world,” said Cindy. The installation involves a large-scale table, 2 dining chairs, and fridge. Participants eagerly climbed onto the chairs to get to the top of the table, where there was an oversized cookie jar surprise waiting for them.
Cindy noted, “The project core team is: Michael Seo, Shaun Swanson, and Marie Applegate. I was happy to take part in fabricating, installing, and engaging participants around this piece. We created the pieces with traditional methods, cutting with panel saw and glue-gunning. My goal now is to use CNC to create large, outdoor public art. To this end I’m learning more about wood joinery techniques. I want to have this work on display where people of all ages can see what is possible with these new technologies, and get excited about making things for themselves.”
Born and raised in Guangzhou, China and Vancouver, B.C., and now living in San Francisco, Cindy earned her MA in Social Design from MICA, the Maryland Institute College of Art. “I took some classes in digital fabrication, but they were quick overview classes. I knew right away that I wanted to do more with CNC,” said Cindy.
Cindy is busy teaching woodshop classes at the Academy of Art and also is a Dream Consultant at TechShop SF; this involves being a shop technician and creative support for people who love to tinker. “I specialize in digital fabrication techniques including lasercutting, ShopBot and 3D Printing,” said Cindy. “What’s so cool about the TechShop environment is, that you can always learn from other users; it feels very collaborative and friendly.”
In recent months Cindy undertook a flat-pack furniture design assignment using the ShopBot CNC. “I was inspired by a friend’s need for a side table. I started to think about designing a piece that would be easy to assemble for the modern apartment dweller.” Cindy gave herself certain ground rules: “It needed to be interesting, no hardware needed, hand assembly, slot fit. I wanted it to go easily from flat-pack to 3D assembled.” With these parameters, Cindy set about designing and making the furniture.
Cindy designed the furniture in Illustrator. She imported her Illustrator designs into Rhino. Cindy noted that she learned how to use Vectorworks software at TechShop to gain an understanding of toolpathing. Cindy began by prototyping in cardboard, then moved on to plywood.
July 22-25 – Las Vegas, NV – It’s that time of year where woodworkers from across the globe gather in Las Vegas to grow as a community, learn, and exchange ideas within the backdrop of the AWFS Fair.
Every year at the AWFS Fair, ShopBot has a chance to showcase its product line, including any new products like our Desktop Max, which was the main attraction at this year’s gathering. The new tool was featured to showcase its versatility and larger size, piggybacking off of the successes of the ShopBot Desktop’s original design, which customers have enjoyed using for many years.
Cabinetmakers, general woodworkers, hobbyists, and students all descended into the desert to see what the industry has to offer, as the world of CNC, in particular, continues to expand.
One attraction at Shopbot’s booth was the addition of a jig which exhibited the tool’s ability to efficiently and affordably produce dovetails. Those interested in this specific woodworking specialty were amazed at the approach and design functions of both the jig and the Desktop Max’s dovetail cut. Many curious and intrigued parties could immediately see the benefits of not only a larger cutting area, but also the great versatility of the Desktop Max.
A second Desktop Max featured a more traditional project where wooden stools were being produced, demonstrating that the accessibility of such a functional tool would be a benefit to any woodworker, whether it be in small increments or across larger production volumes. This particular project also showcased a vacuum table hold down system, which allowed for quicker cutting and improved, consistent stability of the material.
As ShopBot continues to grow alongside an ever-evolving industry, there is never a need to “roll the dice” with the renowned reputation of ShopBot’s tools!