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Thread: Bleeding heart seeking mentorship.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Lightbulb Bleeding heart seeking mentorship.

    Hello fellow members.

    My name is Bill Heineken. I am new to the East Coast (Levittown Pa. 19056) 25 minutes N. of Philly. I have been learking for a little while now and would like to get my self a bot some time in the near future. I would like to share a little history about my self in hopes that members might steer me in some direction.

    I am 38 years old. I moved East due to finding a job that suits me currently. I was the owner of a metal fabrication/ art shop for 14 years ( ), but had to give up my dream due to a divorce, and with average tools being in the 5-20000# range it would have cost a fortune to move them all. I work as a first article inspector in a high tolerance sheet metal shop measuring parts to +/-.0005" and its ok for now, but would like to get back to having my own vision some time soon, if not at least part time.

    Things about the bots that worry me as I have looked at a few over the last few weeks, is what will suit my future needs, how will I learn and not get frustrated by purchasing a machine that is antiquated to a point that it will cost more than buying a newer used machine, or even a new one.

    What I am looking for is the possibility to learn while helping someone else and making some new friends. I currently have (0) friends in the area and would love to be able to persue my dreams and passions while fostering said friendships. I have lots of free time if I am not working/painting and would like to find someone willing to mentor that is doing 3d work(my ultimate goal). My hopes are to be able to do carved parts to make molds from for my ceramic art, use the machine for detailed carvings for painting substructures, and make prototypes for some ideas I have to improve prosthetic limbs (i am an amputee). I am a quick study and learn seemingly fast for things that interest me.

    I have thought of buying software prior to a machine with the thoughts of understanding the process, before I get to far over my head. I am willing to compensate if needed, just need to see this thru as i have desired a cnc router for almost 10 years now. I had a cnc plasma at the old shop and really see the validity in a router for its more diverse possibilities.

    I thank you for your time.


    Bill Heineken
    Last edited by billh; 07-27-2012 at 05:43 PM. Reason: bad spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007


    Before you buy any software go to the Vectric web site and download their demo software. You can play with it and save your designs you just can not save the tool path files but if you decide to purchase it you will be able use those files and make your cut files.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    Ever thought of brewing beer for a living? (thats not the first time you heard that, huh?)

    First check out the Wanted/For Sale section because people are always selling bots and you could get a good deal. These bots hold up extremely well and if you get something that is like an Alpha made in the last 5 years you won't have to do any major upgrading.

    I don't think you will get the same tolerances that you are getting in the metal shop but i don't think you would need them either.

    If you decide to buy a new one Shopbot has a list of guys who would be willing to demo their units for you and you could find someone close to you.

    As Jerry mentioned go download the demo software and their are free 3d files you can get there also and all sorts of tutorials on 3d work there.
    To me that is like learning to ride a bike, you can watch the tutorials but until you hop on and try to ride, you are better off learning at your pace.

    I started in 3D back in the early 90's on an Amiga computer and things are WAY easier now. The bot is used to make molds all the time so designing parts for prosthetics i think is probably fairly common.

    Regarding you having looked at different CNCs, something you need to keep in mind. Shopbot is located in NC so they are close if you need parts. There is an extensive network of users on the east coast (I am in Central Virginia), there is a very active forum for answering questions and getting help (even at 2AM) their tech support is TOP NOTCH and helpful.

    I have had a bot since 2006 and i had to call tech support just the other day, the first time in at least 5 years and the same guy knew me i talked to then and helped me thru a software issue.
    So you need to take support into account both company and forum and friendships you will make and you'll find this is probably the best machine and support for the money.

    Just the fact that so many guys love their bot tells you something about the machine and the company. I wouldn't be so "obfusive"(?) if i wasn't happy.

    If you're ever in this neighborhood you can stop by!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Melbourne, Australia


    Sums it all up beautifully Jack!


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Timmins, Ontario, Canada


    If you don't want to risk buying an "antiquated" shopbot cnc, why not just buy new?

    After as many years as yourself, I finally made the decision early this year to add one of the smaller ones (Buddy 48 Alpha with the 48" by 48" cutting area, ie, with 6' power stick - and a 4HP spindle) to my shop.

    I can't say enough how this has allowed me to do many woodworking projects that I either couldn't do before for cost reasons, or for difficulty reasons. Now so much is possible, it is very much a matter of if I can get it drawn up in the software, it will become a part in short order. Awesome!


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