View Full Version : Future Vector developments

06-03-2001, 10:04 AM
After talking to Aaron and Fred Smith, we have come up with a method of cutting inlays and marquetry that is easy and softens the inside sharp corners without having to radius or fillet the corners. Therefore, no cutting the radius square if you can live with a radius of your cutter.
I have also developed a jig and program for cutting mortise and tenons at the same time off the end of the table. The limiting factor of the rail with the tenon is the height of your machine off the floor. Fred and I are working on a program (all of these are simply vector cam cad files) to cut mortises and tenons with radius so that they can be cut flat on the table and the only limit would be the distance from your table to a wall (in my shop about 30 feet).
We will be posting pictures on Vectorcam.com at the training information section after our 2 day June 15 and 16 training class.

Fred is taking vector real world. By real world I mean the stuff we can make money with. Those of you who know me understand how limited my patience with cutting complex 3d shapes with long, long cutting times and very little profit potential is. My wife has told me not to bring home any more raster to vector carvings that no one will buy; She is running out of room. Give me quick solutions to real problems, that is what floats my boat. The $54.47 channel I cut in a customers existing hatch cover Friday (2 minutes cad time, 1 minute setup and 2 minute cut time) is what has paid for my machine over and over. The mortises and dadoes I cut in my futon line. Sold 5 for $400.00 each on Thursday and Friday. Shopbot cuts our manufacturing time by a factor of 24% each.
Sorry for the ranting, but if I get one more call from a prospective shopbot purchaser that asks if he can take a picture of his wife and carve it, I'll scream. This is not to denigrate anyone who is using his/her shopbot to make money selling pictures of wives/husbands and has amassed enough money to retire. Good for you.

John Forney

p.s. Pictures of real world solutions should be on the Vectorcam.com web site sometime the week after June 16th.

06-03-2001, 02:45 PM
and then there is the fella that wants to do a few
3d moves on a piece of acrlyic 1/2 in thick,
and makes a nice little figurine or 20 and pours them full of plaster every 45 min. with a little
wire in it for hanging, " I remember someone saying""not better or worse just different"

Dan H

06-03-2001, 04:14 PM
Then there is a guy like me that takes the fun out of all the work, I use the Shopbot for 80% of all my cuts.

I do what they say can't be done and make it possible.

Someone sent me a 3d file and said it took 4 hours to cut, we re-did it and the same file cut in 30 minutes, How? ask my brother, he has a master in 3D Drafting and Machining, He was a Tool&Dye maker for 35 years and got a degree in Programing, that is how I learned how to program

John has a point about making money, but there is more money to be made in nickle and dime work then in the $65.00 an hour machine time.

I just finished doing 200 drawers with dovetail joints and 1/4 Dado cut for bottom panel for a Cabinet Shop in town, I charged $7 per drawer, time to do 1 was 5min, if the guy would have done the math he would have saved $19 an hour by taking the hourly rate.

John if you get any calls from prospective shopbot purchaser about how to do Pictures don't scream send them my way, I will take the time and show them how it is done, I spend 6 hours a day making files for shopbotters and showing them how to do it, and never missed a minute of work because I do not have to watch the machine do its magic.


06-03-2001, 07:09 PM
Dan and Ron
You guys win the 3d award. Send me your phone number and I'll send all the 3D calls to you.


06-03-2001, 07:35 PM
Dan and Ron
In rereading both posts, I still don't see what making a mold or drawer has to do with carving 3d. I think both make my point. This complex 3d carving won't pay. What pays is the everyday run of the mill parts and joint construction.

Ron six hours a day making files for shopbotters?
30 hours a week? 1500 a year (I figured a 2 week vacation, you surely would need one) and never miss a minute of work? I do know that you have helped shopbotters but come on.

In any case my post still stands. There is too much time and too little return for complex 3d carving on the shopbot. The exceptions only prove my statements.

John Forney

06-03-2001, 07:41 PM
Just have them go to

Ron V

06-03-2001, 08:29 PM
John it all depends on who you do it for, I do work for about 65 Antique buyers and I do a lot of 3D work for them, they might have a missing hand carved piece? so the only way to replace it is to cut a new 1 or replace all the the other's

I have a friend scan and make the 3d file and I cut it, Cost $150.00 for 2 hours work.

There is big money in 3D work if you know who to sell it too, now to cut and sell your 3D work and make a profit for your time? the answer is NO, but if you can make something that takes under an hour? you can make $50.00 for it easy, I should have taken pictures of th 500 Head Boards I did in 3D for Nartels Furniture, made a killing.

If a shopbotters is going to use his or her machine to make money with it? then they should look at all the options and see what is going on around them, there are Antique buyers and sellers all over the world and need someone that will do the work for them.

But John I got a question for you? you said if you get another call form a prospective shopbot purchaser asking the same question your going to scream, What do you do when a prospective Vector purchasers call with the same questions? Fred might want to know.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Ron V

06-04-2001, 12:41 AM

Not to jump too deep into this debate, but I think that Fred Smith does not take the same view as you. If Fred _DID_ he would not be having STLWork being developed into version 2.0.

While you are correct, the majority of the money is NOT in 3D, there is money in it, but probably not in making furnature. Have you priced custom hand carved signs recently? It would probably take you WEEKS of futon production to pay for one.

Now, you claim a 24% reduction in production time. The reduction in time for 3d routed/carved work versus doing it with hammer and chisel/knife is an order of maganatude more in time savings.

The real problem is most people don't understand about 3D is that it takes TIME! Their is no easy quick solution to GOOD 3d work. You can get your data via 3D scanning, but you need an original or you can create it from scratch, but that take a LOT of time in a modeling program. Then there is the machining time to add in.

Lastly, I bet that your Shopbot spends more than 2/3 of its life not even turned on. So, to say that it takes a lot of time is not really a fair statement. A fairer statement it to say that you underutalise your router's total production time.

Just my 2 bits worth.

Bruce Clark
bwclark@centurytel.net (mailto:bwclark@centurytel.net)

06-04-2001, 04:40 AM
Its nice to see your enthusiasm for your software
and the product you produce, and its nice to see you are making a good living with it.
Im also pleased to see you are sharing your knowledge teaching students. I hope that
when the light comes on in some of your students you see it. I don't think you were very fair to Ron, he has spent and incredible amount of time
helping others, including me. and for the cost
of his server if you knew Ron thats kind of a front he's like shopbot he gives it away..

My first post was just to give you a hunch that your statement was alienating a lot of shopbotters who do not do millwork,including me and there are probably more that don't, than do.

Now for one of my days, firstly I purchased the shopbot to make stuff for the laser, which it does, "example" monday I started making pen boxes
I have a standing order of 100 per month, I made 300 this week, they are made of maple, I put 3/4 X 3in. by 5ft.strips in the bot with 1/2 bullnosed
bit cut 2 parallel groves 6in. and 2 start holes for barrel hinges 4 pieces per board. when that
one is finished cutting in goes another and I
drill the holes with the press for the barrel hinges,
they are pre sanded when 2 are done its to the
drum sander then the table saw then the table router, then hang to spray .. I recieve $20.00
ea. plus $9.00 for engraving the logos of 4 Assn.s
on them. I also make boxes and am paid well for them also plus many many other items. I also did
2 voluteer firehall signs this week 4 x 8 did not paint them, $600.00 ea.
I sold my Well drilling business 5 yrs. ago and

So John there is a big world out there your not alone.. Dan H

06-08-2001, 06:38 AM
A future Vector development I'd like to see (I'm not-so-subtly changing this thread into what I wanted it to be) would be for the 'Pocket Contour-Parallel' function to work better. I find that I often have complex pocketing routines that I need to run and the PC-P can't seem to handle them as well as I need. It is very time consuming, and annoying, to have to run offset after offset because the PC-P is feeling cranky.

Uhhh... was that improved in Vector 9?

06-08-2001, 08:24 AM
Yes. However, you will still need to have good closed-chain contours to create a pocket. The new pocket function in Vector 9 allows submerged islands and nested islands within islands( Pocket Z Contours).

Pocket-Contour Parallel or Spiral pocket is always expecting you to use a tool diameter that is appropriate to the geometry you want to cut. If you have a 2 inch rectangle with an island or two, it may not be possible to pocket it with a 1/4 bit. I have found that if I make sure that the clearance distance between all islands and the outer contour is maintained at a distance at least equal to the cutter diameter plus any finish allowance, that I don't have problems. For tighter pockets, use the horizontal pattern, as it is more forgiving, but will usually require a finish pass.