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An Introduction and a few new files in github. WooHoo!!!

Posted by Bill Young 
Howdy all,

Bill Young here from ShopBot. I've been involved with ShopBot since its beginning, and most recently worked on the Handibot booth at the ArchitectureBoston Expo. One of my missions is to help get files into Github, and ultimately into your hands.

I've just posted an assortment of the original jigs and fixtures that will hopefully be inspiration. I'm working on Readme files for them all which will hopefully be up in the next couple of days, but here's the Readers Digest version

*) There's a new Accessories folder that holds many of the original jigs and fixtures in VCarve for ShopBot's .crv format and as Sketchup models. I believe I've gotten them all updated for the current shipping tools that all of you have, but most have not been cut in these new versions. Consider them interesting but somewhat suspect.

*) The new Misc Files folder has both a new Handibot-centric tool database for VCarve for ShopBot, and a new inch and MM post processor. The tool database only has a few bits in it currently, but hopefuly will grow and be refined as we all get more experience with Handibots.

*) In the Tool Database we've changed the "rpms" value for each bit to reflect the Dewalt router's 1-6 speed setting. The only change in the new post processors is that this value is written as a comment in the part file, so that you can open the file in the Shopot Editor and see the recommended speed dial setting.

I apologize for not having documentation in place at the start, but if I can keep from eating too much turkey it'll start to appear over the next couple of days.

Happy Thanksgiving y'all,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/27/2013 11:28AM by Bill Young.
Awesome! Thank you!

I may try some of these this weekend, yes I'll measure first.

For the fence inserts, is the idea that you would extend those to meet the piece you are positioning under the bot? Basically make a set of fences for different sizes of lumber, or are you adding clamps or holding material elsewhere attached to those outside of the cutting area?
Hey Marc,

Those fences are designed for situations where you just want to slide up against the edge of your work and have a fixed Y=0 location...the edge of the fence lines up with the Y zero point.

The inserts are just sacrificial pieces that can be replaced if (when!) the bit cuts into the edge, and they extend 1/4" on either side of the 6" x-axis motion range. The idea is that you can just pop out the old one and pop in a new one as they get chewed up...easier than replacing the whole fence.

The long fence part can be extended and clamps added if you want, and I've also got a second piece that bolts to the holes in the side of the base and slides back and forth to act as a clamp. I'll get that up on github next.

FYI, I've put all the Sketchup models in the Sketchup 3dWarehouse as well, so that they can be viewed without having to have Sketchup installed.


The files for two versions of a secondary back fence are now in Github, and a model is in the 3dWarehouse that shows a couple of the possibilities.

The new base doesn't match the fence inserts posted earlier does it?

Also, I measured my HandiBot base and it either doesn't fit or there is something about the pocket cuts I'm not understanding. The side protrusions measure 7.823" or so in VCarve, but measuring my base I'm getting 7.25". That seems like a lot of play there. The measure between the side protrusion and the end seems right, so perhaps that is where you get consistent fit from?

I mayjust try this and see how it goes.
Hey Marc,

The inserts should fit fine in all the fences. The back fences have been "dogboned"...because of the radius of the bit, sharp inside corners need recesses cut into their corners to let sharp-cornered pieces fit into them. It's an old cnc trick!

When I originally cut the fences for my Handibot I used sharp-cornered inserts, but tried the rounded corner ones and preferred them. I should have put both styles of inserts in the Handibot insert file, just to show options...I'll add it to my todo list.

I'm not sure I'm quite getting the dimension you're referring to in your pocketing question....it's in the Wavy Indexing jig, right? Can you do a quick sketch or a screen shot of the area that's the problem?

Thanks for the feedback...it's a big help!
I've put the first stab at documentation on GitHub...this one is for the "fence options" file. It is currently available in the Markdown format that Github uses to let you view the file while in Github, and also in a txt format. Two questions:

*) Are these formats at all useful? What others would be helpful...pdf?

*) Is this enough information? What's missing and what's confusing?

A link probably would have helped!!!

Github VCarve files folder

And the files you're looking for are Fence Options.md and Fence Options.txt
I think this is great. I see I was misinterpreting in my head how some of the fence guides mounted. It's probably time to start moving to example photos of how these mount and are used though. I ever only get a glance in the YouTube demos of what's happening with the bases, then it's gone. A YouTube demo of the jig rather than a focus on the tool would probably be fine though.

Yes, I was referring to the wavy indexing jig. I've got an ideas to make that a bit more flexible for repositioning the bot, I've pushed that up to github but I do note I haven't cut this yet. Time to eat something then go see what materials I have on hand.
OK, it didn't work out. Bill, I think the problem that bit me will impact your files as well as I only changed the outside line. The issue is the pocket lines are the correct dimensions, but the pocket as cut is on the inside of the line. The full pocket isn't cut so just enough is lost that the bot doesn't fit into the recess. Maybe the pocket should be raster instead of offset?

I've posted a gallery of my run at this. Anyone looking to cut something like this without an indexed gig might want to look to get some ideas. This was 12 tiles using the full 8x6 envelope. My advice is keep as many stable references as you can. I never moved my Y 0 reference point. X by necessity had to move, and Y for the tiles was lined up by eye to pencil marks. Figuring a way to reset Y consistently would have been better. There were a couple spots where it didn't quite line up, but in general it was pretty good. Definitely usable. Once I take my router to that pocket.
Hi Marc,

Very cool...keep on making sawdust!

The pocket should fit the base pretty snugly...the accuracy of your parts will rely on the Handibot not wiggling in the pocket. I cut a test pocket today from that VCarve file out of a scrap piece of Baltic Birch and the base fit the way I expected...a snug press fit. I'm wondering if your Handibot slipped a little as you were moving between the tiles...how far off was the pocket?

I've uploaded a few pictures of the test pocket cut to http://goo.gl/w8So1W , along with some pictures of the front fences and inserts and a Handibot on a Dewalt Miter Saw stand that we used at the ArchitectureBoston show.

Yeah, looks like it slipped a bit. On the Y I'm off by 1/16th, on the X more like 3/16th. That makes sense as I had a better guide on Y. In retrospect I would have done more setup on how to position fences to move the bot along to cut this. Did you cut your base using a HandiBot or a larger machine? Curious if you've got guidance on getting the base cut using the HandiBot itself before you have a base to assist with a larger cut.
Hey Marc,

I did indeed cut that on a larger ShopBot...a Desktop. I wanted to make sure that there wasn't a problem with the pocket in the VCarve file before going any further.

I don't currently have any insights I'm afraid on indexing to get your first fixture... it's a bit of the "chicken and egg" thing...but we're working on lots of options. We'll be posting these ideas as they evolve, and hope you early adoptors will continue sharing your successes (and failures!).

Any chance someone with a larger CNC would be willing to make some of these bases/jigs for a fee? I would pay a fair price to purchase the jig since it is the foundation for so much more that I can do with the Handibot.

Hi Richard,

In a couple of weeks we are opening our online store for Handibot and, at first, a sampling of accessories. That will be your first chance to purchase the jigs from Shopbot. We hope that, as you've asked, some of our existing larger-format tool owners who already offer their services will supplement our offerings. You might try 100kgarages.com/ to see if there is a local Fabber with a larger Shopbot to make jigs for you.

Any chance of getting files or at least more photos of the jig on the gravity table? It looks to me to be the epitome of useful.

2) I'd love to see one or two of these jigs done up really well as as idiot proof of a instruction package as possible. you Know a nice verbose step by step PDF file with the cut files in the same zip.

Hi Mark,

Can you link me to the jig you are interested in?

Bill Young Wrote:
> Hi Marc,
> Very cool...keep on making sawdust!
> The pocket should fit the base pretty snugly...the
> accuracy of your parts will rely on the Handibot
> not wiggling in the pocket. I cut a test pocket
> today from that VCarve file out of a scrap piece
> of Baltic Birch and the base fit the way I
> expected...a snug press fit. I'm wondering if your
> Handibot slipped a little as you were moving
> between the tiles...how far off was the pocket?
> I've uploaded a few pictures of the test pocket
> cut to
> http://goo.gl/w8So1W[/ur
> l] , along with some pictures of the front fences
> and inserts and a Handibot on a Dewalt Miter Saw
> stand that we used at the ArchitectureBoston
> show.
> Bill

photo 1 when following this link

Hi Mark,

I'm on version 5 or so of that setup and feel like I'm just about close enough to share. The stand is a Dewalt DWX726 Rolling Miter Saw stand that's right around $200 from Amazon. I've added a plywood platform on it, with a fence along the Y=0 edge and holes with t-nuts scattered around to mount the Handibot and also for toggle clamps and other holddown options. My main use for it so far is for figuring out how to make the cope cut on crown molding..I'll try to take some pictures when it warms up a little in the shop!

I'm with you on the documentation...it's really the hardest part of any project so tends to get avoided. We know how important it is though and it is a high priority.

I'm torn over supplying ShopBot files though, especially for things that are cut on our bigger tools. There is an incredible variation in the thickness of materials, and in cutting speeds of the tools we've made over the years, so it's hard to create a file that will work universally. That's why I tend to just supply VCarve files and let the owner customize the settings for their own tool and the material they're cutting. It's easier with Handibots because we know the capabilities of the tools and can set realistic speeds and cut depths, but material thickness is still a ?????

thanx and yes I concur, I used the wrong word, VCarve files would be better.

I have a Sears miter saw table and I'm sure any small mods would be easy enough.

I have very little shop space so it acts mostly as a tool crib and I work mostly under a porch out the shops door.
Hi bill. We appreciate all your work. Is there a way you could shoot me the dewalt router settings you recommend for the bits you've tested. I've tried github and it's way above my technical skill


Dennis. A PDF file would be nice
Hey Dennis,

Github certainly isn't the most intuitive thing to use. I'm working on an instruction doc on getting files out of it and hope to have it posted soon.

In the meanwhile I'll take screenshots of my bit settings tomorrow and upload them...I'll let everyone know when they're available.

As promised I've uploaded screenshots of my Handibot Tool Database. They're available at:


It has 3 straight bits (1/4", 1/8", and 1/16" ), 2 V-bits (90 and 60 degrees), and an 1/8" tapered ballnose bit for carving. These are values that work for me but they are not etched in stone...consider them a starting point and modify them as you gain experience.

I should have the Github instructions up soon,

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/10/2014 03:33PM by Bill Young.
Excellent! That was one of the questions I had when I first started. Those feedrates are good to info to have in there as well.

Bill, if I put a feedrate in VCarve, and then I set it differently in the ShopBot control software, which one takes precedence? In my experience I've been seeing the ShopBot software take priority.
Thanks so much bill

Hey Eric,

Any speed settings within a part file takes priority over the speeds set in the control software. So if you have your XY move speed set at 1"/second in the control software, but the file sets that speed at 10"/sec, it will try to go 10"/sec for the duration of that file! Once that file has finished running though the speeds revert to the values set in the control software.

FYI, the speed settings for VCarvePro files are set in the tool database and are bit-specific. So be sure that the speed values are sensible for each of your bits!

Good to know. My speeds in my VCarve files have been set to those that you posted, but I thought I could override in Shopbot (That's what I was used to on another machine) so it's good to know that it doesn't work that way.

I actually like having all the settings in VCarve, it makes sense.
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