Bill Price's workshop and inventions

Bill Price recently emailed me, having found out about me through a mutual friend.

Bill is a retired engineer with a wood shop and a CNC machine. He has a few inventions of his own. Seeing that Bill lives in Ottawa, I decided to visit.

I liked some of his inventions and figured they'd be interesting for readers of this website to see as well, and Bill was ok with me taking pictures and video of some of his inventions.

Bill's workshop is in a small building in his backyard. Much of the space in his workshop is taken up by his ShopBot CNC machine, which he does much of his work with.

Bill does a fair amount of custom sign making, so what little free wall space there was is filled with various samples of signs he's made.

A closer look at the ShopBot. This one can handle half sheets (4'x4', or 1.2 x 1.2 m)

One of Bill's modifications is this collet wrench holder. Once a wrench is removed, it breaks the circuit and disables the router. It looks like Bill is reaching into a knife switch to pull out the wrenches, but the wrenches are on a low voltage circuit that powers a relay.

Even after the wrenches are placed back, a button still needs to be pushed to re-enable the router. This serves as a reminder to re-calibrate the Z-axis after a bit change.

Bill asked me if there was anything he could make for me. I was curious to see how long it would take to mill a gear, similar to the gears we cut when Michael Grant and I did the bandsaw vs. CNC video.

This machine is faster than Michael's machine, though with the plastic we used, it took seven passes. Not counting the spokes, it took four and a half minutes of cutting time to cut the gear teeth (not counting the time for the spokes). About half the time it took for me to cut one on the bandsaw. With thinner plywood, it could have been done in fewer passes and less time.

Unclamping the gear.

Cutting the remaining tabs out with modified pruning shears. The tabs prevent the cut out pieces from getting loose. Otherwise, those pieces could really jam up the cutter once they break free.

Afterwards, Bill used a flush trim bit to trim away what was left of the tabs. A nice looking gear.

Bill is also into wood turning and making bowls. But the bothersome thing with making bowls is that most of the time is spent removing waste. So he experimented with segmented turning. He makes all the segments on his ShopBot.

He also made a few jigs for cutting the bevelled edges on the segments, and for gluing all the segments together. He made the jigs With his ShopBot, of course.

Another thing he's been experimenting with is to build the bowl shape up as a series of stacked rings. These are also cut on the ShopBot. The rings all have a rabbet cut on the inside edge, which allows them to interlock with the next ring when they are stacked and glued.

He didn't have any finished bowls of this type in his shop though.

Another neat little jig - when using the random orbital sander, Bill doesn't like to wait for it to stop when he puts it aside, so he made this little holder jig out of a spring clamp. That way, he can just hook it on there without even shutting it off.

And here's a few more views inside Bill's shop. He has a lot of stuff in there for a shop of that size.

A workshop to tinker in. Good way to retire. Although Bill also makes signs for people from time to time.

More of bill's projects:

Bill's Motorized router lift
Bill's drillpress modifications

See also:

My basement workshop

Jacques Jodoin's
amazing workshop

My dad's workshop

Bandsaw vs. CNC

Pierre Faubert'sworkshop

To my Woodworking website