NextFab Blog

3D Printing David Pogue's Face

Posted by Angie Hilem

Oct 3, 2014 11:44:40 AM

Want to see the cool things David Pogue, technology columnist for Yahoo Tech, CBS News, and Scientific American, did on his recent visit to NextFab?

Watch this short video by Kurtis Sensenig for a glimpse of the fun we had.

We used a 3D scanner to scan David's face and create a 3D computer file. Then, we incorporated a digital CNC, which means computer numerical control, system. Our ShopBot, which is a CNC router, carved out a replica of his visage from high-density foam. The same 3D file was used to create a 3D printed model of his face!



Topics: 3d-modeling, 3d-scanning, 3d-printing, shopbot, cnc, Video

American Medium Kickstarter!

Posted by Yulia Novozhilova

Feb 19, 2014 3:40:00 PM

After two years of exhibitions, American Medium is opening a permanent Gallery and Production House in Brooklyn, NY. And they need your help!



Topics: shopbot, kickstarter, cnc

ShopBot Class 2/18 Taught By Lewis

Posted by admin

Feb 20, 2012 5:47:00 PM

Thank you everyone who attended the ShopBot Class on Saturday. It was a great turn out. The class was full!! I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Taught by our ShopBot Master Lewis Colburn. He talks a lot with his hands.

In this class, the students get hands-on training on how to operate the ShopBot (CNC router).

As a part of the training, you get to run the machine to cut out some cool shapes using the ShopBot.

I guess everyone passed the test. I hope you all come back soon to use the ShopBot for your own project!!!

Topics: lewis, Uncategorized, nextfab-studio, shopbot, nextfab, cnc-mill, cnc

"The Helm"

Posted by admin

Jan 6, 2012 6:19:41 PM

I took on a challenge to create a pirate ship steering wheel. I wanted to give land lovers the powerful feeling of a captain steering their ship. Though this project is ongoing and ever changing, “The Helm” has been installed twice, each time adding additional pieces to further push the illusion of steering a ship on land.

The next step for “The Helm” will be to create bone structures (carved out of foam) to fill in the rectangular wooden ligatures. “The Helm” also has slots to insert lights to encourage people walking by to play with it.

I designed the wheel in Rhino and then brought the design to the ShopBot CNC Router. The base of the wheel was layered with different patterns to allow knobs to be lamented in. The knobs were also created by laminating wood together and milling them out on the ShopBot. The base of “The Helm” was designed to look as if it were the deck of a pirate ship. I made sure that the base had enough structural integrity to allow people to stand on it and also hold the wheel’s weight. The wheel is attached to the vertical bracing of the deck with two block pillows. A 1” steel rod, held on by shaft collars extends through “The Helm” and both block pillows.


Topics: project, Uncategorized, shopbot, nextfab

Weekly Staff Picks, October 22, 2011

Posted by admin

Oct 23, 2011 3:14:42 PM

Our Staff Picks for this week include woodworking, CNC, PhotoShop instruction and fashion.   We hope you enjoy them.

When to use Opacity versus Fill in PhotoShop   For all you photoshop geeks I must share this one, because for many years, I just couldn’t tell the difference. Why would they even put it there? Now I know!!! - Yulia

Scintillating CNC Zonahedral Structures: The Zome from Robert Bell   “The Zome is a creation of Rob Bell…and is one of the most ingenious structures of modern geometric times.   The complex, fluid shapes are designed in SketchUp, cut out flat [on a ShopBot], and put together with nothing but time, sweat, sandwich breaks and large mallets.” - Alex

Expanding Round Table   This is a video of a round table that expands.   This is extremely creative woodworking. - Brandon

Master hat designer Elvis Pompilio goes 3D printing   3D printed high fashion hat.   This is something that could not have been made with traditional methods.   Yes, it is THAT awesome. - Alex

Carbon Fiber Porsche 911   This maker takes a modern car and improves upon it by replacing the steel body with a carbon fiber one. - Gregg

Topics: porsche, carbon-fiber, photoshop, 3d-printing, Uncategorized, woodworking, shopbot, nextfab, cnc

Edaphic Effects—PEG office of landscape + architecture

Posted by admin

Oct 14, 2011 7:51:00 PM

A beautiful model by Keith VanDerSys.

Thanks for the comment Keith! 

The model is direct milled plaster using a 3-axis mill. Surface profile slope determined mill path contour spacing. NextFab milled the model. They are a fabulous open membership prototyping center in Philadelphia—highly recommended. 

Topics: grasshopper, model, rhino, Uncategorized, shopbot, nextfab

ShopBot CNC Router Part II

Posted by admin

Aug 12, 2011 12:00:00 PM

Hi, I’m Mevin. I’m a high school student at George Washington High School. I’m an intern at NextFab Studio and I’ll be taking class and blogging about my experience. If you have any questions, email me at

The goals of ShopBot CNC Router Part I are to learn the basics of the software used for the ShopBot. Now in ShopBot CNC Router Part II, the goals are to get to know the ShopBot machine and tell the software to produce G-code and tell the ShopBot carve a rosette. Myself and the 2 other students waited 10 minutes for a student to show up. 10 minutes later, the student didn’t show up and instructor Lewis, tall with a curled mustache started the class.

Lewis taught us about the moving commands for the ShopBot such as command “M2”which is a G-code (computer programming language used mainly in automation) that moved the X and Y axis of the ShopBot. We were taught how to remove and change the Ball Nose Bit (The item used cut and carve the model.) We all changed the bit. First, I loosened the vacuum skirt causing it to release and go down. Then, I loosened the collet with 2 wrenches, and then removed the Ball Nose bit and replaced it with a different bit. Finally, I placed the collet back in the machine and lifted and tightened the vacuum skirt. The next step was to hold the board so it can be carved.

Lewis told us the old method of holding the cutting board in the ShopBot was by screwing the board to the ShopBot bed. This had a lot of problems, like the cutter would break from hitting the screws and it took a lot of time to screw the wood down. I asked Lewis, “how does that new vacuum method for holding the cutting board work?”. So, there’s an orange vacuum cleaner to the left and its connected with pipes to the ShopBot bed. You turn on the vacuum and it sucks through the bed. We took our board and screwed it to a larger board and we put it on the bed which sucked the board tight.

Next Lewis had each of us open the rosette file. He asked one of the students, Lee, to move to [6,6] of the x and y axis (the coordinate point where the rosette model was located). We opened the file and on the screen I watched G-code being produced and watched the Rosette amazingly being carved by the ShopBot. When the rosette was being carved, a dust collector (pretty much a giant noisy vacuum) was loud and sucked up the dust of the wood.

After the rosette was created, I got to hold it and I was amazed about how accurate the ShopBot was, because the piece was exactly like the design I saw on the computer.

The students signed off at the front desk and are now able to make a design and use the ShopBot by themselves.

Topics: intern, Uncategorized, shopbot, nextfab

ShopBot Classes

Posted by admin

Jul 25, 2011 7:36:00 PM

I have finished both of the ShopBot classes and I have a number of ideas for which I want to use the ShopBot.   The first is fairly easy.   I want to make a wooden frame  with engraving to hold my uncle’s World War II medals and documents so his granddaughter can display them in her home.   I think this can be accomplished with ease on the ShopBot.   I am not even scratching the surface of what can be done with this tool, but I do think my project will be a good starting point.   

Topics: Uncategorized, shopbot, nextfab, classes

More Classes

Posted by admin

Jul 18, 2011 2:30:00 PM

I have taken more classes.   I have taken the first part of the Trotec Laser Cutter/Engraver class, the first part of the TorchMate CNC Plasma Cutter class and the first part of the ShopBot class.   Each of these machines is a fantastic tool.  

All of these machines are software controlled so time is spent learning how to use the software.   Adobe Illustrator, which is available on our computers, can be used to create 2D engrave-able images for cutting out or engraving on the Trotec and TorchMate.  

In the Trotec Laser class, one of our members made a business card out of MDF particleboard and another engraved on a piece of plastic.   We were shown how to go through the process of setting up our files and how to set up the Trotec for different materials.   We were also told of the hazards associated with this machine and how to avoid crashing the bed into the laser.   There is a tray of sample materials to touch and look though with setting information.  

With the TorchMate we did not make anything, that is for the second class.   While we focused on the software, the instructor did demonstrate how to inspect the machine for wear and how to replace those parts as well as how to change the different pieces for different settings for different materials.

In the ShopBot class, after being shown how to use some features of the software, two of the members made engraved cutting boards.   The ShopBot now has a vacuum bed to hold work pieces in place and there is some experimentation going on with this.   It is being improved by our staff.   It’s very cool.  

I definitely have some ideas to put these tools to work.  

Topics: adobe-illustrator, laser-engraver, laser-etcher, torchmate, Uncategorized, shopbot, trotec, laser-cutter, plasma-cutter, cnc, illustrator

New Vacuum Bed on the ShopBot!

Posted by admin

Jul 14, 2011 2:43:00 PM

Ever since I saw a vacuum bed in action at the ShopBot factory last year, I’ve wanted to have a vacuum system on NextFab’s ShopBot. As part of our renovations, I finally got to build one.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with vacuum systems, the biggest challenge in working with a CNC router is holding material in place. Until now, I’d been using screws, double-sided tape, tabs and clamps to hold material down while the ShopBot did the cutting.

Now, instead of these laborious methods, we can use the power of vacuum to hold down plywood and other flat materials as the ShopBot cuts them. So, how does it work?

A vacuum system has essentially three parts: A vacuum source (in our case a powerful Fein shop-vac), a plenum, and a bleeder board. The plenum is the distribution system for the vacuum, and the bleeder board is the final layer of material which covers the plenum and is in contact with the material being cut.

Here’s a picture of the ShopBot with the plenum pattern and PVC plumbing installed. The grid pattern is cut into a sheet of ultralight MDF and sealed with polyurethane. The three valves under the machine let me isolate different vacuum ‘zones’, depending on the size of the material I’m cutting.

With the bleeder board installed, the system draws vacuum right through a solid sheet of ultralight MDF. When the system is turned on, the vacuum hold is so strong that I can push against the edge of a sheet of plywood without moving it at all.

Here’s the first piece I cut to test the system- Look Ma, No Tabs! Believe me, I’m delighted at the thought of never trimming another plywood tab. I’ll be putting it through some more tests in the coming days, but for now, NextFab has a much faster and cleaner way to cut your parts on the ShopBot!

Topics: Uncategorized, shopbot, nextfab, cnc


About this blog

Welcome to the NextFab Blog, where we discuss the ideas changing the world as we know it. Step inside the revolutionary world of 3D Printing technology, traditional and Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinery, innovation and imagination.



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