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Thread: Handibot

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada


    For some time now Shopbot has been working on the Handibot.

    I see that they now have a stand alone website specifically dedicated to it.

    I am wondering what our pros think of something like this and whether they see it being worthwhile in their businesses. Costs aside assuming the cost to fund it was no issue. Say one could even rent it. What then.

    I can imagine places where it could be of benefit, but having witnessed what pros can do with simple tools and do it efficiently i am wondering if this is an aid or gimmick.

    I can see it being used more in something like a production housing complex where say kitchen sinks are cut cookie cutter style from one house to the other. But i would presume in situations like that a pro outfit already has a jig, fixture of sort to suite without the cost/ setup requirement.

    So while i am a keen supporter of innovation i am having difficulty seeing the cost benefit in this one. Would love to hear from guys like Mike, Rich, Chuck and Bruce and any other pros as to their thoughts on this unit.

    Is this a potential game changer for a pro contractor? Does it have the ability to improve productivity of the business? Is it just a potential place where further errors can be introduced to the job?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Escondido, CA
    First, my perspective. I owned and operated a Shopbot for 8 years and used it to make jigs I was selling. The Handibot is an on-site cutting tool, unlike the Shopbot, so I would have to think the market is small. I didn't look at price. The issue with CNC machines is to look at the learning curve. The cutting paths have to be programmed and no matter how 'user-friendly' the thing is, it requires a learning curve. That means it is a specialized tool and when the specialist is out sick, the tool is unavailable for use until someone else goes through the learning curve.

    A market that comes to mind is manufactured housing when 'cookie cutter' applications apply. For the kind of woodworking most of us do, meh! The CNC in whatever configuration does repetitive work well. Money is saved when unskilled labor loads the machine and pushes the button and then unloads the machine, rinse and repeat. When the cut changes or even tooling changes, a higher price worker has to come in. Costs go up. Not a good thing from the bottom line point of view. Think production work, as in hundreds or thousands of pieces.

    But more power to the Shopbot people for innovation. Whether they can find a market remains to be seen.

    Some say the land of milk and honey; others say the land of fruits and nuts. All together my sort of heaven.

    Power is not taken. It is given. Who have you given yours to? Hmmmm?

    Carol Reed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Yeah Carol thats my thinking. I cannot see a pro using this to cut a rafter edge for a pagoda where he most likely uses a jig saw today and gets it done faster than one can say Jack Robinson. There is no price listed for this unit its not yet available. They made 50 off and have them out with people to garner feedback.
    Some of the videos on their site like cutting out a receptacle box on drywall, well i can imagine the drywall pros laughing their heads off at that.

    Cant help but feel its a tool looking for a purpose. But thats why i would like to see what the Pros out there think of this. The "gadget factor" is high with it using a tablet for programming. I can see a few applications like re finishing kitchen doors and being able to put a fancy engraving on them, but even that to me is thin.
    As to using it to put the euro hinge holes in a door again jigs are already available and in my totally limited view probably better. I can see positioning errors being huge on this beast.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    East Freeetown, Massachusetts
    I can see lots of reasons something like that can have a great application.

    I cannot see stair stringers as one of the reasons.
    I can layout and cut stringers, in a conventional way - far faster than I could setup something like that.
    A receptical box hole better not take more that 1-2 minutes
    Time - is the money thing.

    I can see engravings or cuttings in the field, but I agree - small market.

    If I wanted to make a sign larger than my machine - this would be handy, but not necessary.

    For me - not really. I need to upgrade my primary machine FIRST.

    This would be a luxury item, not a necessity.

    It certainly is cute though

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    29,143'll have apps! Apps, man! It must be good if it has apps. And you can run it from your smart phone.

    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Thomasville, GA
    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post'll have apps! Apps, man! It must be good if it has apps. And you can run it from your smart phone.

    Easy there, Tiger!
    Bill Arnold
    Citizen of Texas residing in Georgia.
    NRA Life Member
    Member of Mensa
    Live every day like it's your last, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses.

  7. #7
    I've been using CNC routers for about three years now. I think I will really properly get the hang of them in another year or two. The curve is steep and long.

    The one thing I do know is that half of the trick of using them productively is good reliable workholding. In the case of this machine that means a secure way to make sure that the machine does not move relative to the workpiece for the duration of the cut. I can see that working out how to make sure the thing doesn't waggle about while it's working wil take at least as long as most pros would to make the joint.

    I think it's great that they are innovating but suspect that this is a blind alley as far as productivity is concerned but might be a valuable learning tool or a way of demonstrating to a skeptic what CNC can do.

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