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Thread: Hard decisions concerning CNC upgrade/downgrade for small shop

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Hayes, Virginia
    Gary Campbell and Brady Watson are both professional CNC operators with serious skills. I have had the pleasure of meeting both of them in person, the last time was at the Aspire event in South Carolina a couple years ago.

    When I was working in the sign shop at CNU we contracted what I considered to be a very high end machining project to Brady that required machining a 72" diameter 1" thick bronze ring with text and a custom fill plus pre-heat and post-heat cycles. Brady did an amazing job and he was a super guy to work with. I say work with, the truth is that I did the original design and machined the plywood template for the masons who were installing the marble floor. Brady did the serious work, he had to find a way to make everything happen without the benefit of project specifications.

    I know Gary as a machine builder and problem solver. You won't find a more friendly guy anywhere and I have spent a lot of hours talking to Gary and watching him operate machines that he rebuilt from the ground up.

    Both guys are down to earth and super talented. I am sure that their intent has always been to support ShopBot through the years lending their technical expertise to make it easier on Ted Hall and company to improve their machines. At one time ShopBot shipped more CNC machines to customers than any other manufacturer on the planet. It is sad to see the predicament they are in these days. I spent some time with Ted Hall when I attended many of their ShopBot camps and a few of their Jamborees. Ted was a Professor at Duke University before he started building his first CNC machine that ultimately became a very successful business.

    All three of these guys have made an impact on the CNC machining business and most of us today are able to enjoy the fruits of their labor based on their contributions and others.
    Last edited by Keith Outten; 09-27-2021 at 9:50 AM.

  2. #47
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Marquette, MI USA
    Thanks for the kind words, they are appreciated. You are correct, both Brady and myself have a sincere desire that ShopBot succeeds. My first 3 machines were SB, even more for Brady. Between us we have spent over $160k with the company, much more at todays prices. We both worked as field service techs for the company. Myself for a bit less than 5 years, starting as an independent, and then was hired to startup and manage the Production Support department. Brady was employed by them as an independent for well over a decade.

    The point is that we cared about the company's success, we had both financial and emotional reasons. The vast majority of the folks there are friends. Please don't assume we left the SB fold because we wanted to, like many others, we left because we had to. The company simply wasn't keeping up with the technology that others had, and at lower prices. SB is the Betamax of CNC's, in the beginning a pioneer in the video recording world. They did OK for a while against other early VCR's, but are a few generations behind todays DVR's and due to technological advances in the industry, woefully obsolete.

    That said, it has been close to 3 1/2 years since that thread started and just short of 3 years since Bill Young closed it. It has had over 30k views. Company personnel, i.e., "Head of Development" and "Administrator", posted what insiders know would be "the approved message" on a company owned forum and yet, it appears that not a word on these fixes being available. I'm not even sure that those that responded are still with the company.

    Hopefully the new ownership at ShopBot will find a way to eliminate the long standing tradition of not wanting to promise anything because it just never seems to get done and adopt a new one relying on personal accountability. I for one, will be happy to see that happen. If it happens, when it really happens, not when they say it might happen. Because when it is all said and done, SB has said waaaay more than they have done.
    Last edited by Gary Campbell; 09-27-2021 at 12:53 PM.
    Gary Campbell
    FabMaster ATC-40 Bridgemill
    CNC Consulting & Custom Machines

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