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Question about: Extended Length Base (y-axis) for V2 Handibots

Posted by gclayton 
Yep--Mark is right--huge order volume this month--plus our machined aluminum parts didn't show up! So I've been full time machinist and handibot builder this month to make sure we met our deadlines and got everything shipped to people by Christmas.

I did have some time yesterday, while working on a gift for some friends, to do a little more work with the extended Y handibot. I needed to cut out a large hole to fit one of those big ceramic smoker grills in this rolling table. [youtu.be]

For indexing I just cut to marks into the tool base, 6 inches apart. Between each tile I'd put a pencil line at the first mark--then slide the tool until the second mark aligned with the pencil line. Maybe not precise enough for something like sign making--but for this it worked perfectly! and was fast!
Hello Brian and Team, Just wondering if there is any update with the extended length base ?
I've been using what I consider the final version of the accessory for a couple of weeks now. I'm going to be sending another copy to a handibot collaborator for testing and feedback while I work on user documentation, inventory and purchasing.

I've been testing it on some signmaking projects: [www.youtube.com]

And yesterday I took the day off to help a friend on a project at his job and brought it along to machine parts on site as we worked out the design--everything has been going well.

My main concerns for documentation are how to handle tool alignment for upgrades. For accurate tiling, it is very important that the Y axis be perpendicular to the edge that aligns the tool on the material. I've made sure that alignment is easy to adjust--but I want to really hammer out an easy to follow procedure for making those adjustments (possibly with a few extra components that can be used to make the alignment accurate).

The bad news is that part of the upgrade is going to involve upgrading the bearing blocks on the handibot. My usual vendor for rails and bearings has been unable to keep up with our volume and I'm going to have to switch to rails from THK (the same vendor that ShopBot has switched to on their tools). This will mean a few extra steps when making the upgrade to your tool...plus making it harder to switch back and forth. I'm looking to get some shorter rails for people to swap out on their 8" Y to make it easier to switch back and forth.

For price--The upgrade will cost $1200. I'm also thinking that there will be a number of people who would like to purchase the tool with the extended Y already installed (not wanting the option of switching to the 8" Y). Being able to save money by not including the 8" Y components would put the price of the full tool at $3895.
Hi Brian,

Regarding the change in bearings, is that going to be for all Handibots going forward or just the extended base? In other words, will you be using THK on both and will you be leaving the bearings on the rails during the upgrade/swap? As you know, I've taken off and reinstalled the bearings on my unit before. It REALLY wasn't fun! So it might be nice if you could leave bearings on rails and swap the rest of the unit. I don't know whether that's feasible, but after my experience with trying to get the bearings back on the rails -- and playing chase the ball bearings all over my shop floor -- I can definitely see the advantage to sticking with one base all the time.


Sounding good Brian, What is the size tile it does with the extended base?

--The bearing change really is the part of this upgrade that I'm least excited about. It is a mixed bag--on the one hand THK bearings are warehoused in the US and will be easier to get ahold of--they have proven to be of higher quality on the ShopBot tools that have used them (the bearing cages are stronger so it is much less likely that bearings will be knocked out when blocks are removed and reinserted onto rails)--on the other hand I really wanted to keep the same bearings on all tools to minimize the amount of upgrading that older owners would have to go through to get up to date.
I added a little plastic piece to the back of the extended Y that acts as an extension of the rail--something soft to slide the bearings onto to get them aligned before trying to push them onto the rails. This will help with taking bearings on and off the extended base.
The plan for the upgrade is to ship with the new bearings already on the rails, and direct the user in how to remove the old bearings and seat the handibot frame on the new base. This is a tedious but simple task that only requires removing 16 screws--no sliding bearings on and off rails. You could leave your old base with it's bearings still on the rails if you wanted to switch back at some point. I'd love it to just be plug and play...but I haven't got a good way to do that with the current design.

As for tiling--The X axis of the tool remains unchanged--so tiles will be 6x24. The idea behind this is that you could pick up a 2'x4' sheet of baltic birch from the hardware store and complete a cut over the whole sheet in just 8 tiles--compared to 24 tiles with a standard handibot. From talking with users and working on tiling myself--I find that the side to side moves are not too difficult to line up--but spacing the tool back by 8 inches and starting back from the front of the row is difficult to do without getting the stair step effect. I like the idea of being able to tile an whole board in one pass--with no return passes.
I'm assuming that there won't be any type of included clear-hinged hood that now goes to 24" as well? Optional?
One more follow-up question - if you have the rotary indexer, I'm hoping this will extend it's length as well?
David Shay Wrote:
> One more follow-up question - if you have the rota
> ry indexer, I'm hoping this will extend it's lengt
> h as well?

I'd love this as well. I don't know if there are enough of us to justify it but it would be great. Like all things handibot there will be nothing stopping the owner from rigging something.
Oh, I'm definitely thinking about the indexer! The extended frame is built around 2 pieces of 1.5" square aluminum t-slotted extrusion. The same stuff that ShopBot uses for the decking on the Desktop tool. I chose that because it would make it very easy to create versions of the tool in any length depending on what people wanted or what lengths of motors and rails I could get my hands on. If someone has a 48" motor and 48" rails...just grab a longer piece of extrusion, cut out a few more of the little plastic pieces that hold the rails...and you've got a 48" handibot! (The trick is finding the motors--our volume isn't high enough yet for me to be able to convince Thompson to make a special long motor for me...but I hope to get there.

So--with a few more pieces of extrusion (available from McMaster-Carr if you don't wanna wait for me to get to it) you could attach a piece that spans the middle section of the extended base--and use that to mount your indexer. There are all sorts of joints and couplings available for aluminum T slots and I'm sure it would be pretty quick to select a few for this purpose.

The hood!--Now that the motor body is not attached to the moving exoframe anymore, there will have to be a little slot cut out of the hood to let the lead screw pass through the tool. The hood is big--and it's a bit labor intensive and costly--so I really don't want to force everyone to buy a new hood just to get this upgrade. What occurred to me though, is that a user could modify their hood using the handibot. Just hang the hood off the side of a table so that the bottom panel sits flat. Set the handibot on top and make the cut. I'm gonna try to pick some helpful alignment feature (like line the front of the handibot up with the seam of the first bend in the hood and line the side up with some other feature...) so that I can send out a tool path that people can run to make that fix. What do you think? too tedious?
Brian, thanks for the update, as you may recall the extended base is one of the accessories for which I have been waiting.

A 48" Handibot sounds great, but I anticipate it would be difficult to move around. At 48" I would suspect that without adding an outboard support for the ball screw the risk of bending it would be a concern. I could be wrong, and I am certainly not an engineer.

I had not thought about the accessory base or rotary indexer. Extending the capacity of the rotary indexer would be great, but not being able to, quickly and easily, switch back to the 8" Y base would likely mean the accessory base will be collecting dust somewhere.

As to your question, the level of tedium on adapting the hood will be relevant to one's desire to have the hood in place. IMHO if I manage to get through the base switch over and alignment exercise, which sound far more tedious, I would not have an issue setting up and running a tool path on the hood to complete the changeover. My greater concern would be that the light at the end of the tunnel is a train!

On your video I noticed a roller at the front of the extended base, I don't remember seeing that in previous videos. Is the roller intended for moving the Handibot up the workpiece, to the job site, or something else entirely?

I totally missed that the hood would interfere, kinda like the gorilla on the basketball court. Bandsaw will fix that in no time.
Even in the case of upgrades, we'll ship the new base fully assembled and will have aligned it here--so I'm hoping that it won't be too tedious. The most important thing will be making sure that the X axis is perpendicular to the new Y. This is determined when the exoframe is attached to the new bearings. For the regular handibot, I just set to machinist squares up against the front of the yellow base plate on either side, in front of the two Y rails. I then bring the blue exoframe forward until it is lined up with the squares on both sides--then the bearing screws are tightened. Something similar should work for the long base.

The rollers (one of front and one on back) are there to make it easy to transport the tool. They're a little loud on pavement but they roll very smoothly on a shop floor or hallway. What I later discovered was that they're also really good for getting the tool positioned on your work. When I'm working on those signs, it is nice to be able to roll the tool down the board and not have to lift the whole tool.
Brian Owen, ShopBot Wrote:
> ... I'm looking to get some shorter
> rails for people to swap out on their 8" Y to
> make it easier to switch back and forth.

Brian, sorry for the silly question but could you define what you mean by "easier". The definition I am looking for is more an order of magnitude in minutes rather than difficulty.

Brian, sorry for the silly question but could you define what you mean by "easier". The definition I am looking for is more an order of magnitude in minutes rather than difficulty.

Have you ever used a stack-dado set on a table saw? I'd say its about equal in time and difficulty to setting that up. Something that you only would want to do once or twice in a day. Like, if you've got a job that is going to require both setups, you'll be planning your order of operations around minimizing change-overs.

A 10 minute changeover involving sliding the frame backwards off of the long base--bolting the 8" Y motor back into the frame--sliding the frame onto the 8" rails--running the wire back to the control board (looking for a small connector that you can snap on and off rather than having to unscrew those four terminal bolts each time)--then replacing the little blue cap on the back of the handibot that covers the end of the Y motor.
This is good news to me. A few things you had said here and privately gave me the impression that swapping back was going to be like initial setup of the extended base. I take the time someone like you says and double it as that is how I work. Not fast but it will be right when I get there. Still, if it takes 20 min. it would not be that bad to work on large parts on Sat. and then swap to the 8" base and turn parts on the 4th axis on Sunday.
Hello Brian and posters, any update on the release and price of the extended length base yet? I ordered my handibot last week and am looking forward to it!
The upgrade unit that I sent out to our tester should hopefully be arriving at his shop tomorrow. I'm going to be out of town at a conference and visiting some maker spaces next week (and preparing for the conference this week!)--so this'll give plenty of time for feedback. Once I get back to the office in April--I plan to make any necessary changes based on the feedback I get from testing by the end of the middle of the month while also working on documentation and building up inventory.
Luckily I'm making use of parts that ShopBot already stocks for their desktop tool so I won't have any long lead times waiting for samples from the motor and rail manufacturers. I'll still need to coordinate with ShopBot purchasing, sales and marketing to make sure they're all good to go--but I think that a mid-May release is looking feasible at this point.
I'm still putting together the BOM for the upgrade kit, so I don't have a final cost on our end--but the price will be set at $1200 for the upgrade.

A full handibot built out with the extended base from the factory shouldn't be far behind--but there are some packaging and shipping challenges that will need to be overcome for that. If they are bought together and the 8" Y axis components can be left out then I think the whole package would go for $3895 domestic and $3995 international.
Is this version available for purchase. Also is there an auto tool changer in the work? stepcraft is the only desktop cnc that provides an ATC.
Not yet available. I'd give more updates--but I don't wanna tease people if the date is not concrete. I've made strides this month in getting it ready to go out the door--thanks to a lighter production schedule after a slow sales month in July. Production is ramping up again but I feel confident that I can make a push to get it out by mid-September.

I don't have any plans to develop an ATC option for the handibot. I'm more interested in developing a way to easily and quickly change tools manually. The cost of the spindle being used by ShopCraft is almost $1000--for that price you could buy almost 8 routers! Not to mention the extra cost of adding a tool rack, the lost cutting area, etc, etc...
What I do when I have a cut requiring a number of bits (aided by my easy access to many many routers spinning smiley sticking its tongue out ) is to set up each router with a different bit and a collar--then just zero them all to the same height. After that I just swap the routers out every time there is a bit change. no need to re-zero, just a quick 10 second swap. Not entirely automatic...but way easier and cheaper to set up.
Earlier in the year I was thinking of getting the V2 Handibot and the work on the Extended base for the V2 was very interesting. I was even thinking of working on some Apps but the progress on the Handibot line of products just takes too long and I lost interest in the Handibot again.

Here it is almost another year later and still no extended base at a reasonable price is available.

Shopbot seems to put too much emphasis on going to Maker Faires instead of putting work into a product to sell.
Those lousy engineers! Don't worry, I've cut off their snack supply--no more ginger-snaps until they finish the HB Extended Y!

Of course--I'm sure they feel even worse about the delays to release than you do...no one likes working on something so that people can sigh and say "finally" when its released. Fanfare is much more fun! Though I think I've discovered that the best way to generate fanfare is to carefully control the information coming out of your company. We've never been very good at that--though I think that most not all, but most of our products have been stronger as a result of the scrutiny, criticism and even the eagerness of people on this forum, at Maker Faires and anywhere else I run into someone doesn't think the word "handibot" is some kind of innuendo.

Not to say that they're anywhere close to perfect. By the time I finish anything I'm ready to throw it away and start over again on a different imagining of it. Occasionally I can resist that urge and things actually make it to market. But it is probably for the best that most of the ideas don't--if you need evidence of that, just take a look at all of the convoluted, expensive, rotten ideas that I iterated through in the model that I just shared with Mark.

But, no--customers with money in hand are not always my first priority. Most of the time, it will be a guy who, despite repeated detailed instruction, continues to set a home position way out of bounds of his tool and calls in, frantic that his tool has gone crazy and cut a hole though his table. Other times it'll be some silly project where I'm designing a food and drink tray for some local food trucks as an effort to show that, yes, you can run a business with just a CNC tool and a garage (though why we have to invent that business while we're simultaneously operating the exact embodiment of digital manufacturing--is up for debate). Or I'll get tired of watching my girlfriend play a game on her phone and rig up a handibot to use a hotdog to press the screen and earn points all night (true story: [www.youtube.com] ). Or I'll be trying to design a machine to automatically cut and strip electrical wire so that Lee doesn't get a cramp in his hand every time he is wiring a handibot.

I do really enjoy making products that get people excited--and I enjoy being employed--which means I have to sell them rather than just take pictures of them. If I could simply share interesting things that I'm working on all day--that'd be my ideal job. However, some of the interesting things that I'm working on are methods for creating customer documentation that are as quick as snapping pictures with your phone--or fabmo apps that simplify the setup of a job. Not stuff that people are clambering to buy--but things that improve the stuff that we sell already or plan to sell. I've got a long list of those things that I've had to get polished before I could start building this new accessory.

So I feel good about where the accessory is now--and we'll be releasing it for upgrade and as a standalone tool on the first day of the NY Maker Faire: September 23rd. Just in time to show up those Shaper Origin guys!
Woohoo thanks for the update Brian. Do you have a final price point for the standalone?

Standalone tool will be $3995--we recently raised the price on handibot Adventure edition from 2895 to 3195...but I really want the extended Y tool to stay below $4k.

A lot of the behind the scenes work has been going into finding a way to make the part production process less arduous and distracting for the small staff we have building the tools. It's a lot like running two separate manufacturing process--one that is assembling the parts into the final tool and another that is manufacturing the parts. We've retrofitted our larger production tools with FabMo which has given me a chance to queue up a day's worth of jobs or write apps that make it easier to determine what to cut and when--its also provided some valuable debugging for FabMo in a high volume environment where little glitches that waste a minute or two are very frustrating. The price increase for handibot has been a long time coming and we intentionally held off for a while, despite the added cost of the new features and electronics of the V2 over the V1.

I just found out I am going to be able to make it to MFYN and I am more than a little giddy that you are debuting this there.

I'm proud on my little part in it and in awe of the design of this little beauty.
"Shopbot seems to put too much emphasis on going to Maker Faires instead of putting work into a product to sell."

Having had the distinct privilege to work some booth duty with the gang at a few Maker Faires I can tell you what WE as customers get from THEM doing the Faires. Being on the net or talking on the phone to customers is OK but, eye to eye, face to face is way better. Having a customer (us) showing the crew where there are issues, being able to point to a specific area of the various machines that have issues, running the software and showing where some confusion comes in, all are very valuable to the team and eventually to all of us users.

Having been in sales and also having my own software company in a past life I can tell you that booth duty is a whole lot more than handing out trinkets or business cards.

Just my 2 cents worth, please spend it wisely! grinning smiley Russ
FWIW I totally agree with Russ. Yes, it is frustrating to wait for stuff in development but shows are a must. If digi-fab companies don't sell to an ever larger crowd they won't be around at all.

I've been lucky to gain enough respect from Brian to get early access and from the Glowforge team as well but I was not so lucky with the Shaper Origin and I waiting like everyone else.
Oh and by the way--the joke about Shaper was truly in jest--I'm as excited as everyone else about what they're working on (well--maybe a little less because I've got access to a bunch of other tools in the shop)--but they're definitely aiming at breaking open a whole new market and becoming a player on another level of magnitude compared to the Handibots, Othermills(now Bantam) and Carveys of the world. So it is fun to poke at them!
Well I have been reading about the extended model so long that the price has gone up $300 .... Disappointed and ordered my Shaper Origin... and I would have driven just down the street to Durham to get it....

Maybe later Handibot when you do get the extended version out.
Maybe this has been asked, but how will indexing work? Do we need to buy new indexing jigs? And if so, when are you planning on having those available?
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