What kind of ShopBot

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What kind of ShopBot do I have?

There have been several branches of ShopBots made since ShopBot started manufacturing them in 1996. Here's are the major types:

Cable Drive Tool:

The original ShopBots were made out of gold utility strut and used plastic-coated steel cable to move the tool. Optical encoders were used to keep track of their location in a closed-loop feedback system, the tool rolled on patio door rollers, and the Z-axis used all-thread rod. The cable drive ShopBot required a lot of adjustment and tuning to keep it cutting accurately, but was the first really affordable CNC tool and was designed to use as many parts that were available from the hardware store a possible.

  • The way you can tell if you have a cable drive tool is the cable that moves the tool around

PR Tools:

The PR (for Personal Robotic) tools were an evolutionary step from the Cable Drive tools. They still used the gold utility strut for the frame but now had a rack and pinion drive system to replace the cable system. The Stepper motors became larger and the allthread rod in the Z-axis was replaced with a ball screw. A Benchtop PR tool was introduced. A belt-driven gearbox was briefly manufactured.

  • The way you can tell if you have a PR tool is the Gold utility strut and rack-and-pinion drive system

PRT Tools

The PRT tools replaced the majority of the utility strut in the tool with steel angle that was covered with blue powder-coat...the only utility strut that was left was the support beams for the Y beams. The Z-axis became Rack-and-pinion driven and the closed-loop AlphaStep system from Oriental Motors was introduced. A Steel table was originally offered as an option, with a table using aluminum extrusions replacing it in the last several months of manufacture.

  • The way you can tell if you have a PRT tool is the blue powder coated rails that the tool rolls on. The AlphaStep version had a large Aluminum control box, and the Standard version used a PC computer case for the Control Box.

PRS Tools:

The PRS tools (for Personal Robotic System) replaced the steel angle and utility strut with aluminum extrusions and machined precision rails. An aluminum-extrusion table was now included with the tool and many of the components were pre-assembled. 7.2:1 geared motors replaced the direct-drive 1:1 motors in the AlphaStep version and a new PRS benchtop "Buddy" was introduced.

  • The way you can tell if you have a PRS tool is the large aluminum beam in the rolling gantry

PRS Alpha tool
PRS Alpha tool
PRS Benchtop "Buddy"
PRS Benchtop "Buddy"
Personal tools