Westec Cruising 2010

Went to Westec Tuesday. It was held in the South Hall just like the 2009 Westec. There may have been a few more booths than last year but
nothing like in it's heyday years where it filled two large halls plus half the downstairs of another hall.
I don't have any statistics to back this up, but it's my "impression" that there was a much larger turnout of attendees this year compared to last year. I arrived their early, but by the time I'd covered half the exhibits (about an hour), you couldn't walk 10 feet in a straight line without having to wait for someone to move, make a detour, or have to back up to let someone pass, whereas last year you could just breeze through the aisles. Also it "seemed" like there were a lot of older people (shop owners perhaps?), and quite a few younger guys (out of work machinists?), the mid-range age group didn't seem to be as well represented. But then again, I could have been imagining things.
Perhaps I missed something, but there didn't appear to be any displays of new cutting edge Earthshaking technology. Haas was there with some machines but booths from a number of other large machine tool builders seemed conspicuously absent.
There was a laser Faro arm being demoed that I thought was cool. I only caught part of the demo, but it looked like they were reverse engineering a solid part and it was being reproduced on a monitor. But Faro arms have been around for ages.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI9I0H8gAEM

There was a small company that was displaying some jaws for Kurt type vises that they called the "E-Z Sine Angle Jaw Set", which had a movable bar that you could set at virtually any angle you wanted (it had engraved degree marks on the jaw itself). Also, you could remove the angle bar and screw on some other bars at any height that acted like parallels. They don't appear to have a web-site but the jaws came in a little case for about $299.
Another company (Lang Technovation) had a cute little centering vise (both jaws moving toward the center), with serrated jaws called the MakroGrip, supposedly for 5 axis work.
http://tinyurl.com/yjyetde
Kurt was showing a couple of small chucks that bolt to tombstones (or any fixture plate for that matter). One, a two jaw chuck, the other a three jaw chuck. They had a combination course pitch/fine pitch scroll where you could move the jaws fast then it would switch to the fine pitch for greater holding power. The salesman said they were new - that must be the case since I can't find them on Kurt's workholding site.
All in all I'd say it was a pretty good show (given it's size).
-- BottleBob http://home.earthlink.net/~bottlbob
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wrote:

Thanks for the report Bob. I had registered but my current project keeps growing legs so it looks like I won't be going (again). It seem that the more I'm in the programming/ME side of things, there's less to see now at the show. A few years back all the cadcam folks used to be there but now it's down to a few.
I also miss the visual "talent" many of the booths used to provide <g>.
-- Bill
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    --Kinda glad I gave it a miss this yr; first time in decades. Last yr was so lame two of us walked the whole shebang in less than 2 hrs..
--
"Steamboat Ed" Haas : Blue Cross socks us
Hacking the Trailing Edge! : $23,000/yr!! ...
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In the last 15 year or so, Aerospace which was the big draw in the West moved out to the Midwest or South East. That said, our European friends (you know those crazy socialists) have EMO in Hannover which makes our machine tool shows in the US look like small town craft fairs. That is what all the major vendors save their efforts for.
-- Bill
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