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Eating Our Own Dogfood

Or Is This Just Shameless Promotion?

ShopBot Tools founder & CEO Ted Hall has been keeping an eye on the role that digital fabrication is playing in the evolution of manufacturing. Through Ted's Medium blog series, he touches on a range of topics, including how ShopBot has adapted not only to succeed, but to enable other businesses to grow and keep jobs from being shipped overseas.
In his latest entry, Ted discusses the concept of a company "eating its own dogfood" – for ShopBot, that means using the tools produced to help keep production simple and efficient. This allows a company to not only make great things, but to explore how those things can be better applied.
To read more about the challenges, successes and lessons learned from over two decades of technology-based small manufacturing, follow Ted Hall on Medium. To discover more about ShopBot's tools, community and support, visit

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

ShopBotters at Work

ShopBot Employees Working With The Machines They Produce And Support

Every new hire at ShopBot is encouraged to attend one of TJ Christensen’s in-house trainings. However, the work week is so packed that there is little time to practice what they have learned. With this in mind, ShopBot held several sessions of “Open Studio” time during the weekends over the fall/early winter months. Projects included simple signs, Halloween costumes, wedding and Christmas presents, a giant Jenga box, 20-sided dice and a two-sided 3D machining project for a customer on 100kGarages.

Here are a couple of photos from work that the ShopBot employees have done:

(Top: Ben Carr's Giant Jenga Box; Bottom: Reggie Ridditt's Puzzle Wedding Gift.)

Machining a Two-Sided 3D Model Created in Solidworks

In this step-by-step guide, Sallye Coyle machines a two-sided 3D model created in Solidworks on a ShopBot. Read how to import a file from Solidworks into Aspire CAD/CAM software, plan for cutting and assembling multiple pieces, and even itemize time and cost for invoicing a client.

To learn more about this subject, as well as others she covers in her post, visit the 100kGarages blog.

ShopBot on the Road

ShopBot Visits NC High Schools

A Desktop MAX and a Handibot, accompanied by Richard Hill and Sallye Coyle, spent a day with teacher Barry Cochran and students from 4 of his classes at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem. Barry is a Project Lead The Way teacher ready to introduce CNC machining to his students who use Inventor.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System is upgrading their digital fabrication programs at two high schools. The new 3D Design and Digital Manufacturing Lab at Harding Technological Institute at Berry High School includes a ShopBot PRSalpha 4x8 as well as laser cutters, 3D printers, and other CNC machines. The Institute also houses a building construction and a car repair program. Olympic High School’s Project Lead The Way and Advanced Manufacturing Program will also have a ShopBot gantry tool. Teachers from both schools used the Desktop MAX and Handibot for two days of Professional Development, led by Sallye Coyle.

You Get What You Pay For

It's A Dirty Job, But Someone's Got To Do It

At ShopBot, we're always interested in what people are doing with their machines, but sometimes it's not enough to just hear about what you do; we want to experience it firsthand!
So this year, Bill Young, one of the first ShopBot owners, wants to come work for you for a couple of hours to see what it is that you really do. Bill's done a lot of different things with a wide range of ShopBots over the years and might have some CNC insights for you, but will be just as happy sweeping or counting whatever beans you have that need counting.
Bill wants to be able to share pictures and stories of his experience, so if you're working on a super-secret, hush-hush product, this probably won't work out. But if you do something interesting and could use some help for a few hours, we'll share and promote it with the ShopBot community. The only catch is that you'll have to have coffee—Bill runs on coffee!
Interested? Send us your info to be considered for a stop on Bill’s tour. Be warned, he may have a special guest with him, but they'll be ready to work slackers on this trip! And Bill usually has a Handibot with him wherever he goes, so you may get to play with one (at the end of his shift, of course).
Bill’s excited to work and see all the cool stuff you’re doing. You'll definitely get your coffee's worth!

Get Some Training

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

Upcoming Basic Training Classes at ShopBot:
February 2-3
February 16-17
March 2-3
April 6-7

Classes have been selling out fast: sign up here!

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

ShopBotters Get Social

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


Laney FabLab

Laney FabLab #cnc #shopbot mini football helmet display shelf for my nephew #laneyfablab #laneycollege


Not just doing small work. Here’s an octagon pavilion, cut with a shopbot router and nailed together by hand.

Trammel Hudson

ShopBot goals.

FabLab Enschede

This week there was a first place with us at the #FabLab: engraving with the #ShopBot! The result:


Shawn Kerrigan reviewed ShopBot Tools Inc.
December 17 at 1:31pm
I own a desktop. This place has absolutely hands down the best customer service.

mHUB Chicago
December 8, 2016

Our woodworking shop is coming together! David, one of our shop techs, puts our ShopBot Tools, Inc CNC machine through its paces.


December 9

One down, three more to go. #handibot #cnc #shopbot #woodworking #plywood

December 11

What does it take to build the world’s largest game of Operation? Watch the “making of” video to find out, link in our bio! #operationgame #cnc #digitalfabrication #shopbot #solidworks

December 18

#wood #handmade #woodwork #design #furniture #art #diy

If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
- Mahatma Gandhi

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