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Thread: Which ShopBot to Purchase...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Miami FL
    Posts
    2

    Default Which ShopBot to Purchase...

    I'm a high school engineering teacher looking to purchase a CNC machine for a new lab. I've seen the ShopBot Desktop in action and have decided to go with a ShopBot machine.

    I'm in the enviable spot of having some leeway in terms of physical space and cost. I'm looking at the ShopBot Desktop and Shopbot Alpha Buddy 48 with the 4' powestick.

    I have not seen the Buddy in action but going through the forums have seen some who recommend skipping the Buddy and going straight to the full size ShopBot. What are the advantages and disadvantages? How hard is it to put together the Buddy? I don't know of any schools in the Miami area with ShopBots as of right now and we don't have any vendors who are selling/supporting it so we'd be on our own in terms of putting it together and getting it up and running.

    Thanks and all advice/suggestions/experience would be welcome!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    2,305

    Default

    I would inquire if there are any shopbots near your so you could see them in action. A trip to Durham would be a good thing and you could talk with the crew and see what they could do. I think they give a discount to schools.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    River Fall WI
    Posts
    768

    Default

    What are you planning to teach with it?
    Also what is your background in cad, and how comfortable are you with building and fixing things?
    Kyle Stapleton
    River Falls Renaissance Academy
    Math/Technology Education Teacher


    PRS Alpha 96x60 2.2 hp spindle, Double Air drills, 6" indexer, Fein 5 zone vac table
    Desktop w/spindle
    Potter Pen
    Aspire 8.5, Creo 3.0

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Brookline, New Hampshire
    Posts
    434

    Default

    Melissa,

    If you have the space, you might consider getting a 48x96. You can then cut full sheets of plywood or have several smaller projects spread across the table. Think through how you'd get 4 x 8 sheets to the bot from the outside. You'll need as much as 9' x 18' of space and a place for the control computer as well as a place for a dust collector.

    Paul Z

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Rogers, Arkansas
    Posts
    1,005

    Default

    Buddies come assembled. I do agree with going with a full size machine if room and budget allow, thought I'd recommend a 5x8 to allow 5x5 baltic sheets as well as 4x8. Consider a spindle for use in school - much quieter.

    Unless you know you will only be doing small projects, the desktop or buddy can be limiting.
    Ken Zey
    Lookout Mercantile / Digital Millwork
    Rogers, AR
    www.CedarSlabSigns.com
    www.lookoutmercantile.com
    www.digitalmillwork.com

    6x12 PRS alpha

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Brookline, New Hampshire
    Posts
    434

    Default

    Ken is right. A 5x8 would be much better.

    Paul Z

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Miami FL
    Posts
    2

    Default

    It's an engineering class and i'm very comfortable using Solidworks as our my students. My comfort level with MasterCAM isn't as high but I can set up toolpaths it's more the actual tooling that I just don't have a ton of experience with (most of what we run currently is contours so the tooling is rather basic).

    We have a dust collection system but unfortunately the place where we have space for the shopBot *doesn't* have dust collection. As a result we'll be running dust collection from a shopvac.

    As for building things i'm comfortable doing it but my concern is that since we'll be getting a new lab we're going to have a world of equipment coming in all at once. Not sure when exactly that'll be but depending on if it is at the beginning of the school year I'd like to make sure we've got the equipment operational not waiting for there to be time to put it together if that makes sense. If it's an afternoon build then not a big deal but not sure how complex putting the table together on one of the buddy's would be.

    Doubt i'd be able to get up to Durham to pay shopBot a personal visit but it' d be great to be able to get in touch with someone using it locally but we're in the Miami area.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Lakin KS
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Melissa, I got a 32" Buddy for our high school shop this past fall. We got it because; #1 We got a great deal on it. and #2 it was available about as near to us as can be expected. Now, with that said, the 32" Buddy is somewhat limiting. We have already faced things that could have been done better on a larger machine. I have already put in for a 48" power stick to double the size of our Buddy from 24 x 32 to 48 x 32. In reality, I probably should have held out for a 48 x 96 machine (minimum), but I was so happy they even considered a CNC (I had been attempting to acquire one for more than 10 years) that I jumped at the first good deal I came across.

    The good things about the Buddy are #1 portability, #2 cost effective (if finances are an issue) #3 reduced material size.

    I'm certainly glad I got my Buddy, but wish sometimes, that I had gotten a full size machine.
    Tom Bachman,
    Drafting/Woodworking Instructor RETIRED!
    Lakin, Kansas

    2001 PRT4896
    https://i.imgur.com/xWEFfDk.jpg

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    River Fall WI
    Posts
    768

    Default

    Get the biggest you can afford. That being said add into the cost a good DC, vac table (cheap fein or black box) and 2-3000 for some really training shopbot or local expert, I had someone in for a Thursday-Saturday training best money I ever spent (look into your schools Perkin's funds, this is what it is there for).
    Kyle Stapleton
    River Falls Renaissance Academy
    Math/Technology Education Teacher


    PRS Alpha 96x60 2.2 hp spindle, Double Air drills, 6" indexer, Fein 5 zone vac table
    Desktop w/spindle
    Potter Pen
    Aspire 8.5, Creo 3.0

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    River Fall WI
    Posts
    768

    Default

    Tom looks like you are still trying for that full size from your other posts.
    Kyle Stapleton
    River Falls Renaissance Academy
    Math/Technology Education Teacher


    PRS Alpha 96x60 2.2 hp spindle, Double Air drills, 6" indexer, Fein 5 zone vac table
    Desktop w/spindle
    Potter Pen
    Aspire 8.5, Creo 3.0

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