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ShopBot releases Retro Z axis upgrade

ShopBot Tools has developed an aftermarket accessory, the Retro Z Axis, that replaces the old-style Z axis assembly on ShopBot’s PR and PRT CNC models manufactured until 2006. The new Z axis is the same as the one used on ShopBot’s current PRS line of tools and greatly increases rigidity and accuracy of the older machines, according to Gordon Bergfors, the company’s development director.

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“We really don’t want to antiquate any machines that aren’t past their life cycle,” says Bergfors. “This simple Z axis addition is for machines where the Z axis may still be working, but reaching the end of its life. Now we’ve just breathed some new life into that new machine without scrapping it.”

Bergfors says the former model was harder to adjust and the maintenance was difficult, so the company improved the carriage design and simplified the way it works.

Comprised of an extruded aluminum Z beam and a captured bearing system, the PRS Retro Z Axis permits 8" of stop-to-stop vertical travel and will not limit a tool’s current travel in the X or Y axes.

Multiple hole locations on the mounting plate allow for the Retro Z to be fastened at variable heights, and a corresponding motor plate is included to allow for the mounting of a customer’s existing Z motors to the Retro Z Axis. At this time, dual Z configurations are not available.

The Retro Z fits in place of the existing Z axis and is specifically designed for the PR with the PK296 gear motor. It includes all of the mounting brackets and everything necessary to mount it on the tool.

The new Retro Z Axis sells for $1,295. It uses the existing motor from the Z axis on the current machine. When calling to order the PRS Retro Z Axis, customers should have the model number of their current Z motors and know the style — strut or single piece — of their Y car. PR and PRT customers may also need a spindle or router adapter kit.

Contact: ShopBot Tools Inc., 3333 Industrial Dr., Durham, NC 27704. Tel: 919-680-4800.

This article originally appeared in the May 2009 issue.

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