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ShopBots Around Asheville: Exploring CNC in the Mountains

By Ross Gruet, Friday, March 22, 2024

Asheville, North Carolina is a creative mountain town, brewing with art, music, and good food. But did you know that small manufacturing thrives in this Blue Ridge Mountains town? I took a few days to visit several businesses that utilize ShopBot CNC machines. Here is information about some of these businesses you should know about and consider visiting next time you’re in Asheville: 

Pisgah Banjos

Pisgah Banjos is located south of Asheville, in the town of Fairview. Nestled on corner farmland on a winding mountain road, this solar-powered, sustainable banjo shop crafts their instruments from local lumber. They implement lean manufacturing methods, and they are supporters of historical old time music organizations that educate the public and raise funds for those in need. They use a ShopBot PRSalpha ATC CNC machine as part of their manufacturing process. Their CNC machine is used in prototyping and for making banjo necks, Delrin nuts, engraving on brass, accent pieces, and much more! For a more in-depth look into this shop visit, click here for their blog feature story.


Fifth Element Camping
Did you know that the discontinued Honda Element SUV has a cult following? And did you know it’s a perfect platform for the outdoor adventurer and camper? Fifth Element Camping designs and produces modular cabinetry and accessories that can be easily installed and removed from the interior of the Honda Element. They started their operation from their home garage and rented time on the ShopBot PRSalpha ATC at Bearside Studios of Asheville (more about them in the next shop feature!). After my visit to their home shop, I stayed in touch with Nick who was starting to research buying his own CNC machine for a new shop location that was in the process of being built. They are now fully operational at a brand-new building in Marshall, North Carolina (just north of Asheville). They purchased a ShopBot PRSalpha ATC 4’x4’ CNC machine and they have increased inventory ever since. This is a great example of growing a small business by investing in ShopBot CNC for in-house use. I’m hoping to make a visit to their new shop location soon and will post a new blog feature about what looks to be a very beautiful location! For a closer look into our visit to this shop, click here to view their blog feature story


Bearside Studios
Bearside Studios is a large warehouse that houses a well-equipped woodshop and work spaces available for local artists to rent and make use of woodshop equipment. They offer CNC services for local businesses, one of which used to be the above mentioned Fifth Element Camping—until they took delivery of their own ShopBot CNC in 2023. Bearside has a ShopBot PRSalpha ATC 4’x8’ as well as a ShopBot Desktop, and Handibot CNC machine. If you’re in the greater Asheville area and have been considering learning how to use a ShopBot CNC, check out this facility. Once you learn how to use the machines at Bearside, maybe you’ll be inspired to purchase a ShopBot of your own! They don't have a website, but their address and phone number are listed when you search "Bearside Studios Asheville" on Google.

Shoebox Tasks: Centering on Children
Shoebox Tasks are educational activities designed for children with autism. This line of products is focused on improving the lives of children on the autism spectrum. These games also find a place in pre-school settings as well as education for the mentally challenged and the blind. Designed by former TEACCH therapist, Ron Larsen, alongside his son Adam, they currently make 37 different Shoebox Tasks. You’ll find their shop filled with boxes and materials used in their manufacturing process. Tucked in the corner is a full-size ShopBot PRSalpha 4’x8’ CNC machine that cuts all the perfect circles and other unique shapes into shoebox-sized containers (hence the brand name!). And check out the colorful parfait in their dust collector! 

Woodworking Designs of Asheville
Signs, furniture, jewelry, and more! Mike McCue at Woodworking Designs of Asheville does a little bit of everything. At the heart of his operation is one of the older ShopBot CNC models, the PRT. Sporting an aftermarket Bora router that he says lasts longer than other routers he’s used in the past; Mike is cranking out custom signs and small furniture for clients looking for that special item. Call him up! You may have just found the right shop for your next big (or small) idea!  


Blue Ridge Sign Supply
The name says it all. Blue Ridge Sign Supply provides supplies for sign makers, as well as common and custom fabricated signs to Asheville businesses and beyond. When visiting their store front, you can see all the materials they work with and observe the sign making process. Shop manager, Kyle, told me that they keep their ShopBot PRSalpha running all day, and if they could fit another full-size ShopBot in their shop, they could keep it just as busy!  

These are just a handful of the ShopBots in the Asheville area. We hope to visit more of them soon.
And remember, if you or someone you know operates a ShopBot CNC machine, we want to feature your work! From sign makers to furniture shops, to artists and instrument makers and everything in between. We’re thankful that you chose ShopBot as your CNC machine of choice, and we want to bring more attention to what you do. Let’s talk about it! Email 

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ShopBot Tools, Inc.

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