ShopBot recently launched its newly designed compact and mobile CNC, the Buddy, which can handle larger pieces of sheet goods than its predecessor, the ShopBot BenchTop. The Buddy models come in either 32 or 48 PRSalpha or PRSstandard versions, depending on motor and drive system.
The PRS stands for Personal Robotic System, designed for industrial, commercial or residential applications in wood, acrylic and non-ferrous metals. These smaller PRS CNCs incorporate many of the same features as ShopBot’s full-size systems, yet weigh less than 600 lbs. and occupy less than 22-sq.-ft. of floor space.
The PRSalpha provides the speed and accuracy necessary for precise cutting and milling applications and detailed 3D carving, while the PRSstandard offers an affordable opportunity for the hobbyist and serious do-it-yourselfer to incorporate the advantages of CNC into home-improvement projects, according to ShopBot.
Gordon Bergfors, the company’s vice president of development, says the major highlight of the Buddy is its innovative PowerStick system of rack-style gear and its extruded aluminum rail system from Bishop-Wisecarver. The PowerStick is available in four sizes to extend Buddy’s cutting surface to 2, 4, 8 or 12' long.
“The previous generation [BenchTop] had fixed rails and the wheels were on a carriage that moved back and forth,” says Bergfors. “We’ve inverted that, so now the wheels are on the fixed part of the tool and the rails move back and forth with the material, allowing us to make the travel range for the work pieces virtually any length that we want that’s practical for the machine.”
Ideal applications for the Buddy include any type of cutting operations, anywhere from small-piece parts type of operations, carvings and signs, to stair stringers.
Bergfors says that for the custom woodworker, the major advantage of the tool is flexibility, being able to adapt the machine for particular products and use space more efficiently. For larger companies, it allows for a machine that fits into a lean manufacturing work cell.
“For a small shop that does lots of one-offs, or small runs of certain parts, they could set up the PowerStick with a fixture for those parts, take it off when they’re done with that run, put another [PowerStick] on that might be configured for something else, and minimize setup time.”
The PRSstandard 32 — featuring a nominal cutting area of 24" x 32" x 5" and total tool movement area of 25" x 33" x 7" — sells for $4,995. The PRSalpha 32, which offers increased speed for some operations as well as a feedback loop for positioning, is priced at $8,445.
The PRSstandard 48 — with a 24" x 48" x 5" nominal cutting area and 25" x 49" x 7" total tool movement area — sells for $6,795. The PRSalpha 48 goes for $10,245.
All Buddies are sold with a “Z-Zeroing” plate for accurate tool position setup, dust skirt to control and allow removal of waste, and ShopBot’s CNC control software and PartWorks design software.
Contact: ShopBot Tools Inc., 3333 Industrial Dr., Durham, NC 27704. Tel: 888-680-4466. www.shopbottools.com
This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue.