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Thread: Trying to use ShopBot in School

  1. #1
    Rollie Peter (Unregistered Guest) Guest

    Default Trying to use ShopBot in School

    Has any other school shops tried to use a shopbot? We purchased one 3 years ago and have used our's less than 40 hours. Our experience has been it is not user friendly and the manual is all but impossible to understand. We have had several very knowledgible people try and figure it out without any luck. We are going to sell ours and look for a machine that is reliable and user friendly. We have had nothing but problems with ours and when asked, I have had told other teachers not to purchase a shotbot but to look else where.

  2. #2 Guest


    Wow - I don't post much here but I have to disagree with everything you say.
    Coming from a background in metal fabrication and machining I can't imagine an easier machine to learn on. I purchased my machine, built my own table from the plans and assembled it without any problems. I was cutting profiles and simple signs the first day I got it running. Did you contact shopbot with your troubles? Anytime I have any sort of an issue they have been fantastic and got me redirected and going right away. My opinion is that your “several knowledgeable people” are not the right people for the job. Why don’t you ask around in the community for help from someone familiar with CNC technology – maybe one of your students has a sibling or a parent in the industry? Another possibly good option would be to approach a particularly mechanically inclined student to get it going as a special project for school credit – you know the ones, always working on their cars, making them “faster and more furious”.
    As far as a bad machine for a school environment, have you ever been around a more “industrial” router table? It is far more likely to have someone get hurt around a bigger, faster and less forgiving machine. Almost certainly the “other” machine will have a less user-friendly software package than Partwizard. My suggestion would be to learn how to set-up and operate the simple and versatile Shopbot because if you can’t do that you certainly will have less success with something else. Does anyone else share my experiences and opinion?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Crystal Lake South High School, Crystal Lake IL


    I teach high school tech classes and we have used our three year old shopbot a ton. I have recommended other teachers buy one and will continue to do so.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Superior Sign Shop, Ada Oklahoma


    Hey Pierre: I agree with you totally. I certainly am not one of the computer folks of the world, but have had very little problem learing the usage of the SB. I too found the maual very difficult to use, as I had no Cad experience. However, I found my Casmate sign program to be a natural for it. The support available from Ted and all the folks in Durham is nothing short of a miracle. We deal with a lot of suppliers in our business; most don't know you after you pay the bill. Just the opposite is true with the SB people. I attended their Jamboree in May of 2002, and had a great time. While there, I met two men who taught at a school in Texas. The had nothing but high praise for the machine. In fact, they were there to purchase a second machine. In my days the class was called "shop", but today who knows what it is called. My point is, I feel the same way Pierre does,and agree with him totally.
    I am currently teaching two employees to operate my SB, and am having very little difficulty doing so. The learning curve on the machine has been more difficult with materials, bits, and such than actual operation. I am a sign contractor from Ada, OK., and am hosting a SB camp here March 19-20. If anyone is interested, check out the forum under camps, or contact me at
    Oh, by the way, I received my "care package" from Martha at ShopBot today. This is various materials, door prizes, T-shirts, etc., all supporting the camp. How bout that support?

  5. #5
    jim anderson (Unregistered Guest) Guest


    I cant believe anyone cant learn to use the shopbot. especially a teacher. to just blast this machine is truely rude! i suppose you never thought to pick up the phone and talk to the good folks at shopbot for all the help you could ask for prior to giving up. they would have gotten you up and running. assuming you have files to be run on the machine. it does require some user input! i think rollie needs a teacher.shopbot is an easy to use machine for this type of product it is not a microwave it is a cnc machine. buy a virtual router for playstation if you want a toy that will work instantly with no effort. by the way the manual is in plain simple english. i have no idea how one could get confused if they take the time and read it!!!! boo-hiss for ripping this machine without just cause. sorry no cliff notes for the shopbot you must actually read the manual.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004


    Have you noticed that the mythilogical 'bot for sale has no contact, address or phone number? He also has posted replies to ancient threads all over the board. I don't believe he's ever seen or run a shopbot.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    StickMan WoodWorking, Aurora Nebraska



    I would hope to say that you could teach someone how to use the shopbot. Maybe you, yourself need to spend time with the machine.

    If you teach any CAD at all, then its nothing more then that. You have your X, your Y as well as your Z. I've been in CAD for about the last 10 years. I've grown from the Apple computer you were always putting a different disk into the machine to continue a program. The first DOS computers and through the many stages of the Windows Legacy. I've gone from a DOS language to a Windows Language in my CAD Programs, which for anyone familiar with AutoCAD. It went from key strokes to buttons in a matter of months. I still use the key strokes, thanks heavens they didn't get rid of that.

    Anyhow, to get through the wind of this post. I bought my machine in October of last year. I've got a 12 yr old boy, he's my fiance's. He helped me put the machine together, for a whole week we worked every night on it. Come the weekend we were set up and ready to go. After a couple of hours of work on the table surface set-up we were cutting shapes and brought out the illustrious v-bit. The first thing I cut was his name. From that point on I can't keep him out of the shop. He's watching over my shoulder and picking up on things quicker that I thought. I have him move the carriage inbetween cuts. He's cleaned the garage a number of times after school, without asking, to make our shop presentable to company that's coming over. He does really well understanding how things work and why we do the machining we do. He has a great desire to learn AutoCAD, I just need to find my old school work and get him into one of the lesson books, start him like I did. (then I can spend time in the shop and out meeting customers while he's drawing)

    My point is: This machine is easy to run, my 12 yr old picked it up with no problems. But if he's looking to get it out of his school shop, e-mail me with what you want for it. I'll even come get the Shopbot, I have a two car garage. While one is working on a carving a second one could be cutting two.

    Okay, I'll step off my soap box, if you want to call that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Rogers, Arkansas


    I've been looking at used (or new) shopbots and have called the Ellinwood school. There is a shop teacher named Rollie Peters there. Have left my number and asked for a call back.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Rogers Custom Millwork, Jonesboro AR


    I can't believe Mr. Peters has had nothing but trouble with their Shopbot. Anytime we have a problem or need a little help understanding something, the folks at Shopbot and everyone here on the forum have been very helpful!!!!! This person maybe like the horse you can lead to water, but can't make him drink.... If he has his mind set that the shopbot is a Bad investment then it will probably be bad until he gets something else. I hope that someone close to the school can see what kind of problems they are having....
    I appreciate the help from Mr. Gerald D on Vector when I have a problem. Once again everyone on the forum has been helpful, so I have a hard time digesting his story that he has had nothing but trouble....

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Amarillo High School, Amarillo Texas


    My school purchased a shopbot last May and I spent about a week this summer putting it together and the getting it going. I did get a little frustrated with some of the assembly, it came with Parts Wizard, which I find works great for most 2-D work and now we want to get into 3-D. I am also the CAD teacher and I think that helps alot. But my students have picked it up fairly easliy and love it. We have done so many things the past six months that we would not of been able to do in the past. Arched fluting, acoustical and electric guitars, plaques, signage, everything. I was actaully amazed at the ease of use.

    I would love to have to have a section on here where we just post student projects pictures from the shopbots.

    My only frustration is I can't get up and doing all I know we can as soon as we can. I do just the opposite, I recommend this to all teachers as a great way to build new interest in your program.

    We made some personalized walnut plaques for our school board members, with our district logo, and scored big time points.

    Most teachers are always willing to help other, its a great machine I think.

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