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'Digital Fab Tools for Schools' Promotes Digital Fabrication Education

ShopBot Tools has launched 'Digital Fab Tools for Schools,' which offers $2,500 vouchers for schools purchasing ShopBot Desktop CNC hardware along with free 123D Design software by Autodesk.

The vouchers are available now on a first come, first serve basis for up to 50 schools through, and amount to nearly 50 percent off the price of the hardware, which has a base model price of $5,798.95 at

Autodesk 123D Design software is a free download for PCs, Macs, iPads, or as a Web app for the Google Chrome browser at

The ShopBot Desktop CNC is a digital fabrication tool capable of 3D modeling of wood, plastic, aluminum and other materials, to perform a range of workbench prototype or production projects within a 24" x 18" x 2" normal cutting area.

The base model Desktop comes with a Porter Cable 2hp Router and a starter kit of seven carbide bits. It is also available equipped with an HSD 1hp industrial spindle for $7,035.00.

Specialty bits available for the Desktop unit include:

  • Plotter pen bit for drawing images, logos, or scaled part plans;
  • Drag knife bit for cutting adhesive-backed vinyl, paper, cardboard, and plastics up to 1/32";
  • Diamond drag engraving bit for engraving plastic, metal, glass, and stone; and
  • ShopBot 3D digitizing probe for duplicating existing 3D objects. is an online resource with teacher forums and information on the advantages of digital fabrication education. ShopBot and Autodesk will also be teaming up to provide special projects and tutorials at the Web site.

"We're excited to partner with ShopBot in bringing digital fabrication tools into more schools to provide a fun, hands-on learning experience," said Samir Hanna, Autodesk VP of Consumer Products, in a release. "We believe everyone is creative."

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About the Author

Kevin Hudson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached at [email protected].