What is the future of Shapeoko?

discussion of design changes / improvements / suggestions
edwardrford
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Re: What is the future of Shapeoko?

Post by edwardrford » Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:29 am

Probably time that I weigh in on the topic :-)

Regarding the question of if the project is being actively developed: Yes. Absolutely.

It's interesting running a project (or life for that matter), balancing needs vs wants. With Shapeoko 2 being such a solid design, and so well documented, it seems to me that right now the project needs a standard software workflow more than a hardware advancement. A lot of work has been done by myself and other members of the community in the time since I left Inventables to roll up a nice tidy solution for everyone to get started. I feel like at the current time, we're closer to that than we ever have been, thanks in large part to Sonny's contribution to grbl and Todd's jscut contribution.

Regarding a new Shapeoko, or the development of a new Shapeoko: I spend quite a bit of time still every week designing and making prototypes. In my estimation I've probably made close to a dozen 'new' Shapeoko machines since last year. Some of them are only 3D models and never made it to the prototyping phase, some are partially built prototypes, some are fully functional prototypes, and some have been made and shipped to people for feedback. Needless to say, a lot of time and a fair amount of money has been spent trying to further the design of the machine.

At this point, I'm not close enough, or comfortable enough, to release anything (even in beta) but in the relatively near future we can have a show and tell and everyone can see what's been going on in my shop. From that point, it will still be quite a while before anything official is announced, but we can at least start the conversation (same thing we did for Mark II)

In terms of general thoughts: Cat pretty much hit the nail on the head with how ideas, suggestions, community improvements are treated. Shapeoko is very much my baby and I can say with a great deal of certainty that I have a very clear idea of what the project is and what it will be. So, while I love the suggestions and I love seeing all of the things that all of you do with the machines, at the end of the day I'm trying to keep Shapeoko on a certain path so sometimes these things fit together and sometimes they don't.

I've been pretty not active (posting) on the forum for the last several months, but I check it almost daily and have a good sense of what's going on in here. Plus, Will and Brandon have been really great about letting me know when something specific needs my attention. I'm only mentioning this so ensure to anyone who is interested, that I'm still active. Since starting Shapeoko more than 3 years ago, I have found that my role changes as the project progresses. With the great support team handling the community, I've had enough time to focus my energy on other aspects of the project that I hope will help continue moving it forward.

As a related note: The team is going to be at MakerFaire New York! We'll have a Shapeoko booth with a few machines setup and all of us milling about (corny pun intended). I hope everyone who attends stops by the booth and says hi!

-Edward
Shapeoko 1 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 2 #0 - a couple of upgrades.
Shapeoko 3 #2 - Stock

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