ShopBot Tools

We Are ShopBot

We make the tools for making the future.

Founded in 1996 in Durham, North Carolina, ShopBot Tools, Inc., designs, manufactures and distributes CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) routers for milling, drilling, and cutting of wood, plastic, metals and other materials -- powerfully, precisely, and affordably.

Now in our 25th year of technology innovation, ShopBot’s digital fabrication tools are carving out the future of manufacturing, production, prototyping, grassroots "making," and education. Today, over 10,000 ShopBots are at work in small shops and larger production facilities across the U.S. and around the world. They are used in a range of production operations: plastic trimming, aluminum drilling, signmaking, cabinetmaking, and all types of woodworking, as well as in the production of stealth fighters and manufacturing hi-tech housing.

ShopBot founder Ted Hall created the company to make the power and precision of digital technology available and affordable for individual "makers" and small to midsize manufacturers. Rather than having to invest $100K or more to use CNC technology, a ShopBot enables the purchase and use of digital fabrication with a substantially smaller investment.

ShopBot is the leading innovator in affordable digital fabrication:

  • ShopBot pioneered affordable CNC oriented to use by individuals. The "PR" in the naming convention of our full-size tools refers to Personal Robotics. As Ted Hall says, "ShopBots are to large CNC machining centers as PCs are to mainframe computers." These are tools, that when used in small shops or on factory production lines, enable and empower the capability and creativity of individuals.
  • ShopBot ensures the digital productivity of shops of all sizes by making tools that are easy-to-use, easy to get-started with, easy to get into production, and by providing outstanding customer support and training.
  • We make robust equipment that is nonetheless agile and mobile, and easily and economically shipped and moved. Our CNC tools deliver power and performance with minimal electrical draw.
  • In our continuing product innovation, we developed the ShopBot Buddy® and PowerStick concept for highly configurable CNC; recognized by the industry as a Challenger Award Finalist
  • We’ve partnered with Thermwood, original innovators in CNC tools, to bring a high-end cabinet program to small cabinet shops (One of our customers has referred to this as "NASA partnering with Apple")
  • We’ve worked with MIT on developing advanced housing construction methods; and in delivering "FabLabs" to schools and community organizations around the world.
  • In 2011, we introduced the first affordable 5-Axis CNC router, another example of our technology leadership.
  • We partnered with Autodesk to get 50 ShopBot Desktop CNCs into classrooms around the country and show teachers how to make digital fabrication easier.
  • In 2013, we introduced the Handibot® — a first Smart Power Tool that will use digital technology to put task-oriented "apps" for cutting and machining into anyone’s hands, on a job site or in the workshop.

At ShopBot, we want to help ensure the future of American innovation and manufacturing productivity. ShopBot's tools are increasingly used in lean manufacturing processes, in community-based makerspaces and workshops, and in educational institutions eager to provide students with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills that are marketable and needed in today’s work world.

In June 2021 ShopBot Tools, Inc. became an Employee Owned Trust (EOT). Learn more about our EOT here.

About Our Founder & Chairman of the Board

Ted Hall

ShopBot Tools began in the workshop/barn of Ted Hall more than 25 years ago. A professor of neuroscience at Duke University, Ted wanted to build plywood boats in his spare time, but he was becoming frustrated by the amount of time it was taking to cut the panels for curved hulls with hand power tools.

He thought one of the computerized cutting tools called a “CNC router” would be helpful, but didn’t have the $50,000 that even a used, entry-level machine would cost. He also couldn't see why an engineering staff was required to create designs, or why a technical staff was necessary to run the tool. So he started thinking about a practical way to make one of these tools less expensive and more accessible - after all, they seemed to be just large plotters that moved a cutter instead of a pen.

Ted’s first model worked surprisingly well… and working out the details of the tool while growing excited over the possibilities of affordable CNC led him to begin spending more time designing tools than building boats.

These days, Ted continues to work closely with ShopBot’s leadership team, spearheads ShopBot’s new control software development called FabMo (Fabrication Motion System), and participates in the company’s product development group from his new home base in Portland, Oregon.

Meet Our Leadership Team

Jeanne Taylor, CEO

Jeanne’s Durham, NC boutique design and marketing firm, Designing Solutions, began working with ShopBot’s Sallye Coyle on the production of signage and unique trade show displays for the studio’s clients in 2010. Seeing the ShopBot tools in action, Jeanne was not only intrigued by the tools themselves and their capabilities, but she also became interested in the philosophy and culture of ShopBot Tools, something that Ted Hall had built and fostered right here in Durham.

A graduate of SCAD, Jeanne – always one for enjoying the art of creating and making – found a good synergy in working together with Ted and the team at ShopBot. In 2014, after working closely with ShopBot for three years as outside consultants, Designing Solutions merged with ShopBot Tools to become its full-time strategy, marketing, design, and website development team.

Named CEO in 2020, fully embracing ShopBot’s long time ideology, Jeanne believes that customer success is ShopBot’s success. She is committed to providing customers with top tier customer service and innovative products that help them achieve their goals. These beliefs, along with her continual building and cultivating of an internal, entrepreneurial-oriented team that is adaptive and collaborative, are what help ShopBot achieve their goal of delivering exceptional quality – one tool at a time.

Brian Owen, CTO

Brian joined ShopBot in 2014 as part of the engineering team. Prior to coming on board at ShopBot, Brian worked on the design of factory automation equipment for an automotive manufacturer and on the development of a number of surgical devices as a grad student at North Carolina State University.

Brian’s first big project at ShopBot was the development of the Handibot® Smart Power Tool 2.0; a follow-up to ShopBot’s successful Handibot kickstarter project of 2013. The new design incorporated a long list of customer requests from the first generation while exploring new assembly and fabrication techniques, with the majority of the tool’s components being manufactured on a ShopBot CNC.

Brian moved into the role of COO in 2020; focused on empowering ShopBot’s manufacturing team as they grow, by developing new tools for communication and quality control. He then transitioned to CTO in 2022 and has shifted focus to work closely with all teams throughout the business on building better technology infrastructure while supporting our customers. He believes that a core strength of ShopBot is its employees’ eagerness to deliver a quality product and experience to customers – a relationship that ShopBot views as a partnership lasting many years, long past the delivery of a tool to your shop.

ShopBot Tools, Inc.

Toll Free: 1-888-680-4466

Phone: 919-680-4800
Fax: 919-680-4900

ShopBot Tools, Inc.
3333-B Industrial Drive
Durham, NC 27704

Office Hours
Monday–Friday: 9am–5pm EST

After Hours Tech Support
Monday–Friday: 5pm–9pm EST
Saturday–Sunday: 10am–5pm EST

Office Closure
ShopBot Tools, Inc. is closed New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and the following Friday, and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Outside of normal office hours, we regularly check for support requests, email and phone messages. To make sure we can get back to you as soon as possible, leave a phone number or return email address where you will be available.