Went to Westec today. I grabbed a Haas bag when I entered, but wasn't planning on putting more than a couple of brochures in it - BUT I came away with about 5 lbs of literature.
Saw a 5 axis milling machine - With a work envelop something like 6" X3". It was the cutest little thing - with a miniature trunnion. Mitee-Bite was showing a Versagrip Vise Jaw System. It can hold large round parts on the top of your vise jaws - as well as unusual shaped parts. Jergens was showing their Ball-Lock sub-plate system. The guy changed from a Kurt vise to a fixture plate while I was talking to another guy in the booth - probably took ~2 minutes. Now this appeared to be a cool vise. The Gerardi vise has a 15 degree angle on the back of their vise jaws with serrations on the vise body AND the Jaws so they can move vertically (for a downward force when clamping) but can't move sideways. The vise was ground all over and looked really nice - and when I asked the price and he said $599, I though I had misunderstood him, but no it was $599. So I said "These puppies must be made in China, eh? He said no, they are made in Italy. While walking by the OneCNC booth I saw a video playing on a monitor that was showing a pocketing routine doing what looked like a trochoidal toolpath motion. I thought that was cool for a bargain basement CAM system.
So there was this 3 foot long metal sculpture of a dragon. I'm a touchy/feely type person (and probably left my fingerprints on every exhibit I was interested in), anyway I was feeling the dragon's tail that was a flexible cable, then I was touching the feet that had trailer hitch balls on top, then the head had a whole row of upper and lower fangs - so I was in the process of seeing if I could push on the fangs to see if the jaw would open - when all of a sudden the nose spits water on me and steam comes out. I let out a Yip and jumped back, saw the booth guys laughing and said "Yeah, Ya GOT me" and started laughing myself. They probably had a button operating the spitting/steam operation. I must have made someone's day. Pretty cool.
This was the smallest Westec I've ever been to. Everything was in the one room (no downstairs job-shop booths). Plus they had an antique truck, and another truck towing a boat roped off on the side of the exhibit hall (I assume to just take up the empty space.