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Complexity Comes Free:

The Manufacturing Paradigm-Shift Powered by Digital Fabrication

With digital fabrication as the driving force behind the change in manufacturing today, tasks are becoming more precise and repeatable than ever. According to ShopBot Tools founder Ted Hall, however, the advantages don’t stop there; the ability of tools to create and repeat patterns is also becoming increasingly more complex, which is enabling new innovations and possibilities across all applications.

Read all about Ted’s thoughts on the “new industrial revolution” in part two of his blog series on the Medium website.

This is the second in a series of articles by Ted Hall on our manufacturing future and new fabrication technologies.

There’s more than just 0’s and 1’s

A journey from analog to digital, ending somewhere in the middle.

Woodworking has taken Bill Young to extremes in both manual labor and digital fabrication. But it's only after experiencing each that he's learned the most effective approach to any project usually lies somewhere between. In his latest Medium blog post, he talks about the role that various production methods have played in his career, and how depending on a single skill set can be an impediment to success in manufacturing today.

ShopBotters at Work

Wally Quanstrom: retired but very busy with his ShopBot

Wally Quanstrom retired as a senior executive at BP awhile back, and has thoroughly enjoyed his recent years designing and making any number of creative projects with the help of his ShopBot PRSalpha CNC tool. “My friend Harry Warren worked with an early CNC tool years ago. He worked 30 years as a machinist and CNC operator for John Deere. His experience inspired me with the confidence to go ahead and purchase my own CNC 6 years ago.”

To read this story in its entirety and see photos, visit the ShopBot blog and read Michael Berliner's post about Wally.

ShopBot on the Road

Professional Development for Educators in Pittsburgh: Carnegie Science Center

Carnegie Science Center is a popular spot in Pittsburgh where children and adults can experience science first hand. It is also home to a Chevron FabLab, a digital fabrication laboratory for innovation and invention, where camps and programs for children 8 – 18 are held.

Another one of the programs that Carnegie runs is their Teaching Excellence Academy. In November, ShopBot's Sallye Coyle led a 2-day session in Digital Fabrication for Educators. A major focus of the workshop was to show that the workflow is the same for a large number of digital fabrication tools – they use a form of CAD software to get the “what and where” into the computer, set the “how” for the digital fabrication tool and look desired, and then let the computer control the machine while it does its work.

Sallye's post (including photos) about the educational session can be read in its entirety on the ShopBot blog.

Handibot Travels to MIT

Brian Owen and Sallye Coyle brought a Handibot to the first International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces (ISAM 2016) held at MIT in November. The symposium was organized by the Higher Education Makerspace Initiative (HEMI) which is “a collaborative of leading universities focused on solving the challenges of academic makerspaces and making their combined learnings available to others.” The conference included sessions on how to set up and use a makerspace, what equipment to consider, and entrepreneurship—MIT style.

Final Stop: Pittsburgh, PA

TechShop Pittsburgh hosted the final Camp ShopBot of 2016. Randy Johnson, Sallye Coyle and Ben Carr traveled from ShopBot to (re)connect with ShopBotters and TechShop members in the greater Pittsburgh area. A woodworker who teaches, blogs, and is active in social media, George Vondriska, traveled from Wisconsin to make a presentation on how he uses his ShopBot Desktop in the workshop.

Handibot Tool orders (domestic orders only) placed by December 18 will ship in time for Christmas.

Get Some Training

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

Upcoming Basic Training Classes at ShopBot:
December 15-16
January 5-6
February 2-3
February 16-17

Classes have been selling out fast: sign up here!

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

Free Training?

You Could Learn To Use A ShopBot CNC – On Us!

Enter here to win a FREE 2-Day ShopBot Basic Training Session ($300 value) at our headquarters in Durham, NC USA! We’ll be doing weekly drawings through end of the year.

ShopBotters Get Social

Here's just a sample of what's trending in ShopBot's social media:


Jonathan Hunt

Only at #isam2016 do you have one CNC machine @handibottool draw another CNC machine @othermachine

Jacqueline Gerstein

Great night with @mhsmakerspace and @frc1257 setting up new machine from @ShopBotTools! #NJMakers #MakerEd @magnetprincipal @ucvts

Brittany Trilford

A refreshing afternoon date with the CNC #shopbot @NYUAbuDhabi @NYUADArtsCenter #pothole


Duke School
November 16 at 9:02am

#OnlyAtDukeSchool Moments: Duke School alumnus, Matt Schmitz ’06, provided a tour of ShopBot, Inc. for the 7th grade’s Digital Age Project! He showed them how the digital age impacted the way we mill, drill and cut wood, plastic, and metals using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) routers. #projectbased #dsprojectwork


November 1

Step into my office! #adx#adxlove #shopbot #cnc #cncmill#woodworking #makersgottamake#digifablife

November 7

The #shopbot desktop is here! 😍 #CNCrouter #tabletopCNC #kerfcase

November 21

Thought today would be a good day to make some #smallhands #digitalfabrication #cnc #shopbot #sculpture #workinprogress

New ideas pass through three periods:
1) It can't be done; 2) It probably can be done, but it's not worth doing; 3) I knew it was a good idea all along!
- Arthur C. Clarke

Copyright © 2016 ShopBot Tools, Inc., All rights reserved.

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