Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Shopbot Users Group Maker Faire



On Friday October 19 Shopbot held a User's Meetup on a prep day for Maker Faire Austin. We were treated to lots of information about how shopbot is changing the way people do business. There were signmakers, boatbuilders, craftspeople and lots of curious, creative people.

For materials, mostly people were working with wood, MDO, Medium Density Urethane (mdu)There were some really neat ideas for signmaking with incredibly complex and innovative designs.

Prototyping was a recurring theme. One signmaker brought in a sign that he made to show a client, and the client liked it so much that they bought several signs of the larger size. A boatbuilder used a scale model to show the client what it would look/feel/weigh like. It helped inform the client before having the boat built. Having an example piece that the client can see and touch helps to illustrate what can be done in your shop.

Moldmaking is a neat thing and was featured in several presentations. We got to see the molds and the resulting products. People were very helpful in sharing information about what products worked and how to apply them.

Rob Bell has made a plug in for Google Sketchup that allows you to output your sketchup designs to the shopbot. He had a really neat dome-ish structure right next to the Shopbot booth.

Geoff Neilsen from the Fab Lab group explained how he is using the ShopBot to cut aluminum to make a desktop cnc machine. He is also using the shopbot to cut Delrin, which cuts almost like wax, but has strength similar to aluminum.

Later in the weekend, the Shopbot guys were very helpful in helping to set up our shopbot at the Fab Lab, helped us use the Shopbot to plane the surface of the silkscreen frames, and put on a couple of good cookouts.

It was good seeing how they use various hold down techniques. I liked their vacuum hold down board made out of luan and foam. They also had a nice vacuum shoe for keeping the dust down. At DHS Fab we have an older router, not the spindle, so we would have to make up a different vac setup. Bill Young said that there should be some files online for making the vacuum housing.

In the Shopbot booth they also had a computer set up to a couple of stepper motors controlling a pen on a drawing board. I didn't see a control box, could have gone straight from the parallel port. It was running on the Shopbot software.

Here are the photos:
Workshop Link
My Shopbot Photos

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