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PRSalpha Keeps Manufacturing Lean for SaunaSpace

Brian Richards’ SaunaSpace uses lean manufacturing practices to produce home saunas with a focus on wellness and self-improvement. The team relies on the power and precision of their ShopBot PRSalpha to maintain a business process that’s as sleek and affordable as the final product. With a ShopBot at the core of their operation, meeting big production runs and tight deadlines are no sweat.

“Our ShopBot is a production infrastructure in itself,” says Richards. “Having the PRSalpha in our space makes trying new things possible.”

Learn more about SaunaSpace on the ShopBot blog.

ShopBotters at Work

Don Gilmore Explores New Avenues on His ShopBot

Don Gilmore isn’t satisfied with just being an accomplished engineer alone. In his free time, he also builds race cars, creates glass art sculptures, and even dabbles in paleontology. With such a seemingly random set of interests, it’s easy to think that Don is constantly shifting gears to keep up. Thankfully, however, there’s one common thread that runs through all his hobbies and keeps him going: his ShopBot. Read all about Don’s landspeed racer and upcoming speed run at Bonneville, the inspiration for his glass art, and things learned from cutting unique materials on a ShopBot; all in this latest entry of the ShopBot blog.

ShopBot on the Road

Construct 3D at Duke University 

Construct 3D 2017, the first national academic 3D printing conference, was held at Duke University May 5-7, 2017. Construct 3D is a national conference on digital fabrication focused on “3D printing” for higher education, grades K-12, and community education. Conference coordinators are planning to hold Construct 3D annually rotating to various academic institutions.

The teams from ShopBot Tools and Handibot participated as an event sponsor, exhibitor, keynote speaker, and also offered a facility tour and training at ShopBot Tools headquarters, just around the corner from Duke’s main campus.

The weekend was packed full of presentations and panels with direct access to industry leaders. Skylar Tibbits, founder and co-director of MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab, shared innovations in 4D printing. His lab uses a custom ShopBot Buddy® tool to rapid prototype and combine various technologies to get results that academics and commercial companies can use in their own realms. Dale Dougherty, founder and CEO of Maker Media presented the inspiring stories of makers all over the world and the growth and progression of the maker movement over the past few years. ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle gave the keynote presentation on Sunday morning. Sallye shared her experience of introducing educators to digital fabrication technology and examples of classroom success through the engagement of teachers and students.

NYSTEEA and Chocolate Mold-Making for STEAM 

In late March, ShopBot Tools’ Jeanne Taylor and Sallye Coyle attended this year’s NYSTEEA 2-day BSTEM event in Malta, NY. The event included sessions on everything from elementary robotics to model railroading as a STEAM activity.

ShopBot was sponsoring the awards dinner at the event, held at the Automobile Museum in Saratoga Springs. With this in mind, Jeanne and Sallye set out to create a gift that each of the attendees could take with them. With the initial idea being to create small customized chocolates, experimentation with molds carved with the help of a ShopBot ensued.

To learn more about how the chocolate experiment went, as well as read about the NYSTEEA BSTEM event, visit the ShopBot blog.

The Embracing of Digitial Fabrication Technology in Polk County, Florida

The middle and elementary schools of Polk County, FL have begun incorporating suites of digital fabrication tools (CNC machines, laser cutters, vinyl cutters, 3D printers and electronics) into various locations throughout the county. ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle, working through TIES, recently installed ShopBot tools and Handibot® Smart Power Tools in three magnet middle schools. In addition to investing in the equipment, the county is investing in training the teachers and resource personnel to incorporate the use of the digital fabrication labs into their curricula. 

How are the digital fabrication tools being incorporated into the schools? The ShopBot PRSalpha at Lake Alfred Polytech Academy is machining LinkerLogs while others are working with the laser cutter. The middle school students will create these Linkerlogs for use in the county’s elementary schools. 

In a demonstration of how files work across multiple digital fabrication tools, Rick Runion, the teacher heading up the Fab Lab at Rochelle School of the Arts in Lakeland, FL, made a quick sketch of a saxophone, his instrument of choice. The drawing was then scanned into a CAD program, and replicated using several different digital fabrication tools: a laser cutter, a 3D printer, and the Handibot — a portable CNC tool.

Add a New Dimension to Your Work with a ShopBot Rotary Indexer

ShopBot’s Rotary Indexer (also referred to as a 4th axis) is available for new tools and can be retro-fitted to most existing tools. Cut organic shapes, newel posts, 3D sculptures, and much more! We recently released the 6” Indexer for the Desktop MAX that will make its debut at the AAW Symposium in Kansas City, MO in June. 

Learn more about the indexer online or contact our sales team to walk you specific uses and applications.

Back by Popular Demand: Digital Fabrication in Education Workshop

Last summer, Sallye Coyle ran a workshop here at ShopBot Tools in Durham, NC specifically for educators. The subject matter goes beyond learning about CNC and encompasses a number of different pieces of equipment and software applications, all a part of digital fabrication.

Last year's 2 1/2 day event was such a success, that she's doing it again! There are two more workshop sessions this summer: one each in June and July.

For more details, as well as information on how to sign up for a session, please visit the ShopBot blog.

Bill Young is Hitting the Road Again!

This June, Bill is heading back down south for another series of shop visits on his Dirty Digital Jobs tour. He's loading up his camper and traveling to St. Augustine, FL in the middle of June for a couple of days and then makes his way down to Cape Canaveral. He may even jump over to the Gulf Coast towards Tampa for a day or two before heading back up the east coast towards home.

After a relaxing 4th of July, he's off again. This time, heading toward Lexington, KY to work with out AtFAB friends on a housing project using the Homebuilt system. There are lots of cool things happening in close by Louisville, so he'll definitely spend a day or two there. Then... who knows?

Bill is always looking for interesting people to visit in the realm of digital fabrication, so if Bill will be close to you as he wanders around the country, and you're up for a visit, shoot an email our way and let us know what you're up to!

Get Some Training

Live training classes are held on a regular basis at ShopBot Headquarters in Durham, NC.

Upcoming Basic Training Classes at ShopBot:
June 1-2
August 3-4
August 17-18
September 7-8
September 21-22

Classes have been selling out fast: sign up here!

Can't make it to ShopBot in-person? Then check out our online training sessions.

Upcoming Events

ShopBot is participating in several events across the country throughout the spring. Some that we are currently scheduled to attend include: Bay Area Maker Faire, SkillsUSA 53rd Annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC), and AWFS.

For more information and to see what other events are currently on our schedule, visit the Events calendar on our website.

ShopBotters Get Social


Coach McKeever

Excited to assemble McCutcheon’s new 4’ x 4’ CNC router. Thanks @ShopBotTools!

Matt S.

The shelves are perfect! @ShopBotTools CNC for the win! The kiddo camping room is coming together! #maker


Final product is amazing!!! @MakerDepot is amazing!!! The @ShopBotTools is amazing!!!

Amanda Hough

Making a guitar w @Mhswoodshop using #Aspire @ShopBotTools @TrotecUSA #musical design engineering in #Mashpee @Makerspaces_com


Joe McBryde

Some of the work from my ShopBot Alpha.

Memphis College of Art

Shopbot in action! Five minutes from image to final. Multiple uses and brand new! #mcatechnology#mcaconnect #shopbot #ShopBot Tools, Inc

Syzygy Woodworks

Cutting the parts for my next project on the ShopBot CNC Router. ShopBot Tools, Inc



My buddy Alex is almost done with his surfboard! He just needs to fiberglass it now and then he will be done! #woodworking #surfboard #surfer #redwood #basswood #walnut #shopbot


Stay on the right track! All aboard the Dental Express!! A combination of 3D and 2D, this cool 4dmural creates the illusion of the tracks going off into the distance! Check it out on our web store at!! Inquire about various sizes available!


Here is a little walnut with a white epoxy fill sign I made for @wild_friends #makersgottamake #adx #adxlove #makerspace #woodworking #makersgonnamake #portland #handtools #digifablife #shopbot #cnc #digitalfabrication #cute


Horse and Coachman. #fablab #fablabseoul #fablabjeu #cnc # cncrouter #shopbot #shopbottools

You can't suppress creativity, you can't suppress innovation.
- James Daly

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