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ShopBot launches

The September launch of began a new concept of custom fabrication. The interactive Web site is an online community linking small-shop owners who want to have something digitally fabricated by CNC machinery owners.

By linking woodworkers to CNC shops located in their communities, the process will be easier and less costly to business owners, according to CNC manufacturer ShopBot, who developed the site in partnership with Ponoko online making system.

ShopBot president Ted Hall says the site embraces a unique "maker-to-fabber" concept that allows parts and projects to be specified precisely for production by means of digital technology. The "makers" are the small-shop owners who can use the site to post their digital versions of their custom designs made in CAD programs. The "fabbers" are the CNC machinery owners who do the cutting.

Use of the site is free to everyone. A maker can search for a local CNC workshop on a map and contact the shop directly, or a maker can submit a request on the site's JobBoard and choose from bids submitted by a range of ShopBot owners. The site also offers resources and tools for turning an idea into a design.

During the first two weeks of its initial launch in September, 100kGarages recorded 2,000 hits per day. Already, about 100 ShopBot owners have signed up and about two dozen jobs have been posted on the JobBoard. Hall estimates at least 2,000 ShopBot owners will be interested. Currently, about 6,000 ShopBot machines have been sold and are in use throughout the world.

For information, visit

— Jennifer Hicks

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