Friday, August 31, 2012

Top Five Twitter Posts: Linear Slides, Racing a Dragon Go-Cart and Exciting News About BWC's President

So much happened this week that it's no easy task to pinpoint just five of our favorite tweets. We said good-bye to our marketing intern, Eleanor Huddart, we announced that BWC President Pamela Kan was appointed to a statewide jobs taskforce by California Governor Jerry Brown, and KCBS scheduled a radio interview with our president next Friday to talk about her new role live on the air. To keep tabs on the latest and great at Bishop-Wisecarver, follow us on Twitter at @BWCnews!

Credit: BWC
1. BWC President Appointed to California Workforce Investment Board on Pamela Kan, Bishop-Wisecarver's president and CEO, was hand-picked by California Gov. Jerry Brown to sit on the state's Workforce Investment Board. The 30-member board will advise Brown on policy related to workforce development, specifically how to spend federal dollars to support the California economy and put more people back to work. Congratulations, Pamela, on yet another new leadership role!

2. Video of Linear Slides at IWF Atlanta via Engineering Exchange: A short video peek at one of our trade booth displays from IWF Atlanta last week.

3. Get to Know the Newest Member of Our Sales Force on We recently hired a sales territory manager to help bolster our West Coast presence. Everyone, meet Steve Williams, a Bay Area residen, San Jose State University graduate, and avid outdoorsman. His sales region covers Northern California and all of Nevada. Drop him a line if you're in the region and have a question about linear slides, rotary guides or anything else about motion control. Welcome aboard, Steve!

Credit: Dr. Lucy Rogers
4. Riding a 'Dragon Car' in a Gravity Race on Our Twitter pal Lucy Rogers (@DrLucyRogers) blogged about her recent adventure in gravity racing! The author/engineer made her own go-cart modeled after the adorable dragon character in the animated movie "How to Train Your Dragon" for a downhill race. In her post, she tells us via pictures and instructions how to assembled it. A fine example of "Motion Without Limits!" Way to be, Dr. Lucy!

5. A Photo Collage of Our Adventures at IWF Atlanta on Pinterest: If you haven't already, find us on Instagram at @bishopwisecarver (no space or hyphen). We post a bunch of snapshots from around the manufacturing floor, the machine shop and, of course, our adventures at trade shows and other events we attend. We recently cobbled together some of those snapshots into a photo collage of our time at the International Woodworking Show in Georgia. It's posted on Pinterest, if you'd like to re-pin it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Linear Slides and Rotary Guides: A Summer Internship In Motion

I can't believe that this is the last day of my summer internship here at Bishop-Wisecarver! It seems like just yesterday that it was my first day and I was getting nervous about how an International Relations and Managment major was going to understand linear guides and engineering! It is unbelievable how much I have learned in such a small period of time about not only the manufacturing of guided motion technology, but about marketing as well. Below are the major experiences I will take away from my internship and into my next year at St. Andrew's University in Scotland.

[ SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ] Before I started my internship I did not have a Twitter account or even know about hashtags. During my tenure here, however, I have become more and more comfortable with social media marketing and tweeting. Through Twitter, I have learned about some great innovations such as edible books, shower-replacing gel and even the possibility of space hotels, not to mention how to connect with other people in the manufacturing and B2B industrial space. Blog writing is now also second nature and I will really miss updating everyone on BWC's top 10 favorite Twitter posts every Friday. Additionally, LinkedIn is now one of my new favorite social media sites. I can't imagine life without it!

[ IMPORTANCE OF SCIENCE/TECH EDUCATION ] One of the major things that I have learned from this internship is how important manufacturing and STEM education are to America and the world. Engineers and innovators are not only necessary for economic growth domestically, but are vital because they are the people that will come up with technologies to remedy global issues such as climate change and world hunger.

View of The University of St Andrews
University of St. Andrews, Credit:
[ ADAPTABILITY ] This internship has taught me that it important to be adaptable and open minded when starting a job in an industry with which you aren't familiar. My background is in newspaper and professional services marketing. Therefore, it was a daunting prospect coming into an industry that I knew almost nothing about. However, through tweeting, doing market research and helping with student engineering camps and company blogs, I quickly found out that as long as one is willing to work hard and learn new ways of doing things, anything is possible. I will definitely apply this knowledge when working on my final year dissertation this year at the University of St. Andrews. Every time I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I will think about how I went from a student who hated math and science in high school to a person who helped market niche products to engineers and original equipment manufacturers!

[ THE FUTURE ] I have learned so many valuable things from my time here at Bishop-Wisecarver that will not only help me in my future career, but in life as well. I am just about to start my last year at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland (pictured right) and hope to start a job in marketing after I graduate in June 2013. My internship at BWC has prepared me really well for a career in marketing. So, thank you everyone at Bishop-Wisecarver who made my time here so fun and informative!

Q&A With Territory Sales Manager Steve Williams

Get to know Territory Manager Steve Williams
We hired Steve this summer to expand our sales force on the West Coast. The Bay Area resident comes to us with nearly two decades of experience in the robotics, semiconductor and automation industry. His territory spans Northern California and Northern Nevada. If you're in his region and need help with anything related to linear guides and rotary motion systems, email him at Welcome to the team, Steve!

[ Click here to add him on LinkedIn ] and while you're there, follow our company page!

Question: Tell us a about your background, your education, how long you’ve been with Bishop-Wisecarver and what you like most about being on the BWC team?
Answer: I have been a Bay Area resident most of my life, attended San Jose State University and obtained a Business Degree. I have worked in several industries in Silicon Valley with the last 17 years in robotics, semiconductor and industrial automation. Bishop-Wisecarver has great products, loyal customers, small company atmosphere, family-like environment — everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Question: What do you like about sales?
Answer: Working with a wide variety of people and industries/applications. Learning about other technologies and how our products help them toward a solution.

Question: What do you enjoy most about working with engineers?
Answer: Engineers tell it like it is. They are the creative engine of design and problem solving. They appreciate someone and or a company that they can trust as a partner in helping them be successful.

Question: What makes for a good selling relationship with a customer?
Answer: Trust. Customers are coming to you to help solve a problem, they want you to be honest about their needs and your ability to meet their requirements. They want a partner, they want someone to work with them when things are going right and if they go wrong.

Question: If sales were a team sport, what would it be and why?
Answer: In the Spirit of the America Cup racing in the San Francisco Bay ... sailing. When you're on a racing boat, there is one goal, and everyone on that boat is solely focused on doing their job or task correctly, precisely and at the right time.

Question: Speaking of sports, what’s your favorite team or teams?
Answer: I don’t really follow any team sports, I would rather go do something than watch someone else.

Question: What do you like to do outside of work?
Answer: I am very active with the Boy Scouts, skiing, kayaking, hiking, coach basketball and several remodel projects.

Question: What’s your favorite coffee beverage? Cream, no cream, sugar, no sugar?
Answer: Espresso.

Question: Favorite quote?
Answer: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." — Chinese Proverb

Monday, August 27, 2012

Four Easy Steps For Preloading Guide Wheels in Linear Motion Systems

Preloading guide wheels is simple, essential and very necessary as it greatly improves the life and performance of a guide wheel-based linear motion system — also cuts maintenance costs and maximizes functionality. In today's #MotionMonday post we highlight four easy steps for adjusting eccentric guide wheels. Using a socket wrench + an open end wrench, follow the instructions below:
  1. STEP ONE Begin by placing the carriage on the track assembly.
  2. STEP TWO Using the open end wrench, tighten the eccentric wheel clockwise until it makes contact with the track. Find where it's snug then tighten using the socket wrench so the nut is flush with the wheel plate.
  3. STEP THREE Slide the wheel plate back and forth to check whether there is any noticeable variation in rolling resistance.  If there is, loosen the wheel plate for desired tension by using the open end wrench. Check for tension by manually sliding the wheel plate back and forth on the track.
  4. STEP FOUR To lock the wheel in the adjusted position, tighten the eccentric wheels fastener with the socket wrench in place.

This is a common practice when you're putting together the structural parts of a linear guide system. It's widely used in bolted joint assemblies, according to Leslie Lui, a Bishop-Wisecarver research and development engineer. A properly preloaded guide wheel lasts much longer because it reduces variations in resultant loading on the bearings.

Proper preloading comes with other benefits, too. It cuts down on vibration and noise since the carriage won't tile or shift on the tracks. And when outside loads are applied, a preloaded carriage in a driven system will see much less displacement on the tracks. This practice also enhances the repeatability and linear accuracy of the carriage on a driven system.

DIY EMPOWERMENT End users can easily adjust the preload for guide wheels, unlike other linear slide systems that are factory set, such as profile rail. Guide wheel-based systems, however, are easily customized.

NEED MORE INFO? If you'd like to read more about this process in great detail, check out the full article posted on our website. We've also included a short video demonstration below for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Sawdust Cologne, Laser Edgebanding and Our Favorite Videos: Top Five Tweets From the IWF Atlanta Show

Happy Friday, everyone! It's the penultimate day of IWF Atlanta and we have already garnered a lot of interest and excitement from our creative booth and product displays. We've also joined in on some great twitter fun with those exhibiting at the show ... in fact, this week's favorite twitter posts will feature tweets from notable companies exhibiting at IWF. The twitter posts include video demonstrations and pictures of innovative new products. Get it on all the IWF action and connect with us on Twitter. There's only one day left to join in on the dialogue, and don't forget to stop by our booth if you're at the show. We've got all kinds of linear slides and rotary guides on display.

1. Mini Jet 1000k via SATAUSA: This extremely cool new innovation from SATA, unveiled at IWF this week, is captured on video. SATA is a leading manufacturer of spray guns and compressed air heaters. Its new spray gun is foruse on small manufacturing parts as well as motorhomes, marine applications and cabinets. Take a look at the video to learn more!

2. Favorite IWF Videos via Clever Storage US: This manufacturer of kitchen storage units has compiled a list of its favorite IWF video demonstrations. From CNC shark accessories to the making of a giant wooden Yoda head, these videos will make your day. Thank you, Clever Storage, for sharing them on twitter!

Credit: Demeter Fragrance
3. Sawdust and Bamboo Perfume! via Demeter Fragrance Library: Unbelievable! Demeter Fragrance Library, a fragrance company selling multitudes of different scents from popcorn to dirt to chocolate chip cookie, showcased its sawdust and bamboo-scented perfume at IWF. For all you woodworkers out there who want to re-live your best woodworking memories, order these scents and spray every time you are feeling nostalgic!

4. Laser Edgebanding via Rehau Furniture: This video details how Rehau Furniture, a provider of surface and systems solutions to furniture, has created adhesive-free banding for furniture that results in an invisible joint . Take a look at the video to learn more about LaserEdge technology.

5. Timber Products Blog via Timber Products: Timber products, a manufacturer of environmentally friendly hardwood plywood, shared a blog featuring its new innovation... prefinished panels. This innovation from the wood product manufacturer will increase woodworking efficiency and quality. Read the blog to learn why.

Eleanor Huddart, Marketing Intern

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Good and The Great at IWF Atlanta 2012

We’re into day two of the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center, and the woodworking industry is alive and well. The convention center is bustling with hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and OEMs all looking for the latest and greatest in machinery, tooling, software, materials, accessories and, of course, linear slides and rotary guides (check out our woodworking capability sheet). The air is thick with sawdust, wood chips, dust and excitement.

With more than 10,000 attendees this year interested in furniture manufacturing, cabinetry, architectural woodworking, material processing and other related industry professionals from all over the globe, we’ve met some very talented folks — from custom puzzle creations inspired by M.C. Escher to a large scale model of Yoda’s head, there’s much to look over.

If you’re attending the show this week, stop by our booth to meet with one of our project engineers and our local sales team. We’re also passing out WD40 pens, microtools, and even $50 gift cards to (just subscribe to our monthly newsletter with your business card for the daily drawing). Congrats to Trevor from New York, yesterday's 4:00 p.m. gift card winner. What’s been your favorite part of the show so far?

Below is a short video of our booth we posted on YouTube yesterday from the show floor. We’ve got lots on display including our recently released MadeWell Radial Wheel (a linear guide wheel designed for radial loading conditions). We also have a sneak peek showing of a new linear guide system launching this fall. Not at the show? Follow us on Twitter at or on Instagram as BishopWisecarver. The top hashtags of the day are #IWFatlanta #IWF2012 and #woodworking.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who Won the IWF Atlanta Challengers Awards?

Seventy-nine companies entered to win this year's IWF Atlanta's Challengers Distinguished Achievement Award, given to makers of innovative new products that advance the woodworking industry. The seven winners of the accolade were announced this morning, on the first day of the biennial trade show, where we're exhibiting along with 850 others through the week's end.

And the winners are ...

Credit: CIM-Tech
CIM-Tech — This maker of design and manufacturing software won a Challengers Award for a new, state-of-the-art program called Solid-CIM 3D, which programs or nests 3D assemblies or solid parts from design software. It uses a feature called Automatic Feature Recognition on three-dimensional solids and assemblies to lay parts flat and program machine functions. Solid-CIM 3D "turns your solid models and assemblies into 100 percent machine-ready NC Code for any CNC machine," the company's description reads.

Giben-America Inc.IWF awarded Giben for its new Giben Prisma 6000 panel sizing saw, which uses ECOtech to improve machine productivity while cutting power usage. That means more speed, more power with less energy and fewer components. Booth #6712.

Hafele America Co. This purveyor of furniture, cabinet, closet and architectural hardware won an award for what it calls Frontino hardware, a technology that aligns sliding doors flush on tracks instead of on separate tracks, according to the Woodworking Network. That smoother alignment means doors close quietly and save space by not opening outwards, the company explained.

Credit: MartinWoodworking
MartinWoodworking Machines Corp. — The new T75 PreX table saw features a blade that tilts to both sides to maximize efficiency and makes it suitable for a wide range of woodworking needs. Most sliding table saws have blades that only tilt in one direction. Booth #5458.

Miltec UV — This entrant won for a newly invented HPI Gloss Control UV Curing System, which nixes downtime by using only a single UV topcoat for any gloss range, the company website reads. The time saved translates to less energy used, which saves money and maximizes profits. A wood finishing company could see a cost payback within a couple years, Miltec says. Booth #6534.

Techniks Inc. — This CNC tooling company came away with a prize for its recently introduced Extra Plus Aggregate Head. The product's oscillating cutting action makes it quicker and more simple to cut a mortise pocked, the company says.

Credit: Cameron Automation
Cameron AutomationA manufacturer of woodworking machines (and a division of James L. Taylor Manufacturing)  Cameron Automation created the Challengers Award-winning Cameron Flooring Nester, which automates the normally manual work of nesting uneven length flooring into even bundles for strapping. Automating the job saves time and, ultimately, money. It's simple to install, easy to use and comes with software that's easy to understand, according to the company website.

Watch, Read, Listen, Do: IWF and the Return of American Manufacturing

This week we're exhibiting at the International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta, Georgia, to showcase our DualVee Motion Technology that enables its users to work in debris-filled environments without clogging. So, of course it is only fitting that we continue on in the theme of the last few weeks and share even more cool woodworking finds. In addition, there has also been another topic that has caught our attention this week through our interactions on Twitter, namely the return of manufacturing to the USA. Read this week's "Watch, Read, Listen, Do" to learn a little more about the woodworking industry and domestic manufacturing.

[ WATCH ] Are you a woodworking novice? Well, if you are this is the perfect video for you to watch! It will teach you the tools you will need and the set up you will have to carry out to be on your way to becoming an expert woodworker. Watch the video and you will be building log cabins and cabinets in no time!

[ READ ] You all know we are exhibiting at IWF this week, so if you are in the area or just want to learn more about why we are there and which technologies and products we will be showcasing, read this week's #MotionMonday blog.

[ LISTEN ] Now moving on to our manufacturing theme, this podcast discusses the past, present and future of American manufacturing and the major issues that both threaten and support it. Very informative!

[ DO ] Visit our booth (#4412) if you are in the Atlanta area and/or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook to look at fantastic pictures of the trade show booths, the products we are displaying at IWF and more! Don't miss out on all the excitement!

— Eleanor Huddart, Marketing Intern

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gearing Up for a Busy Week at IWF Atlanta

PRE-SHOW PREP We arrived in hot, humid Atlanta, Georgia, a day early to set up our booth for the biennial International Woodworking Fair, where more than 12,000 people are expected to walk the floor Wednesday through Saturday to view the latest and greatest technologies in the industry.

Some first day highlights, according to the Woodworking Network:

Credit: Woodworking Network
  • Announcement of the seven winners of the Distinguished Challengers Award Competition, which celebrates innovations in the woodworking industry. Winners are selected from a pool of 20 finalists and announced at 11 a.m. Wednesday in booth #5000 in Building B. Read the Woodworking Network's Challengers Award handbook here.
  • Several educational conferences throughout the day on a wide range of topics, including "Made in the USA" manufacturing, business survival, mass customization and developing strategies for a changing market. You can find the entire schedule for Wednesday — and every other day of the trade show — right here on the IWF website.
  • And of course, don't forget to meet us at booth #4412, where you can check out our sawdust demo, washdown demo and other displays. See you there!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Linear Motion, Rotary Guides and Why We'll be at IWF Atlanta: Our Motion Monday Update

WORKING THE WOODWORKING SHOW Happy #MotionMonday, everyone! As we type this, a bunch of Bishop-Wisecarver people are packing their bags and hopping on planes to jet off to Georgia, where from Tuesday through Saturday this week we'll exhibit at the largest woodworking trade show in North America: The International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta.

More than 11,000 people will join us to walk the floor of the Georgia World Conference Center to peruse the latest wood processing technologies, including state-of-the-art CNC machinery, robots, guided motion components and systems and many others.

WHY WE'RE GOING Our many durable products, including DualVee Motion Technology, which has countless uses in the woodworking and wood processing field. The 90-degree velocity gradient of the DualVee guide wheel brush away virtually any type of debris, particularly those generated in an industry like woodworking, where machines are exposed to metal chips, wood chips, sawdust, glass dust and any number of other contaminants.

[ Want to learn more about our capabilities in the woodworking industry? Click here ]

STOP BY, SAY 'HI' As we mentioned, a bunch of us will attend this show — engineers, sales reps, marketing folks and even BWC President Pamela Kan. We'll keep booth #4412 staffed with experts to answer your linear and rotary motion-related questions and brainstorm solutions for your engineering challenges.

We'll "walk" the virtual show floor, too, via Twitter and other social media channels. Find us at @BWCnews on Twitter, on Facebook or right here on our company blog, where we'll post updates throughout the week. Consider us one of your IWF trade show correspondents!

[ Our Twitter tags: #IWFatlanta #IWF2012 #woodworking #MFG and #manufacturing ]

[ To see some of our past IWF Atlanta-related coverage, click here ]

WIN A PRIZE Of course, there's some immediate reward for linking up with us while you're there! All you have to do is opt in for our monthly newsletter to join our daily raffle for a chance to win a $50 gift card to!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Woodworking, Manufacturing and Linking Up at IWF Atlanta: Our Top Five Tweets You Don't Want to Miss

Happy Friday! It has been a busy week for us as we have been hard at work preparing for the International Woodworking Fair that we are exhibiting at next week in Atlanta. We have been tweeting about the industry and want to share some of our favorite posts leading up to the big event. Feel free to comment on this blog or connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to discuss all things woodworking. Have a great pre-IWF weekend, and if you're going to be at the show week, stop by booth #4412 to meet the team! Be sure to follow all our updates from the trade show floor next week at @BWCnews.

1. Battery made out of Wood Waste on Attention all ... wood is no longer just for houses, fires and furniture. For all those looking for alternative energy sources, wood waste has been identified as one. Read up to see how wood waste could now act as a power source.

2. IWF Events via Woodworking Network: Interested to know which events are going to take place next week at IWF in Atlanta? I know we are! Check out this list to see which informative and fun events are going to make this year's fair the best one yet.

3. Revolutionary Woodcutting Tool on Woodcutting screwdrivers now use motion control, a technology used in video games, to drill into and cut wood. That's definitely motion without limits! Take a look at the article to find out how you can make wood drilling and cutting more efficient and dare I say it, fun!

4. BWC's Woodworking Capability Sheet on To learn more about how our DualVee Motion Technology works in debris filled environments such as in the woodworking industry, read this capability sheet. It will tell you all you've ever wanted to know about our products' applicability to and advantages of use in the woodworking industry. Let us know if you have any questions by commenting on this blog or by interacting with us on Twitter and Facebook! You can also reach our applications directly by calling 925.439.8272.

5. Watch, Read, Listen, Do Blog on Woodworking on Since we've been delving into the woodworking industry this week leading to IWF, we were excited to write a blog on the topic and highlight some new techniques and technologies that are making headlines. Read our blog to learn more and tweet us or comment here to discuss this trending topic.

Eleanor Huddart, Marketing Intern

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Woodworking Wonders at IWF Atlanta 2012: Watch, Read, Listen, Do

With the International Woodworking Fair fast approaching, an event at which we will be showcasing our DualVee Motion Technology and the recently launched MadeWell Radial Wheel at booth #4412, there have been some fascinating inventions and techniques making headlines that have piqued our interest!

From cars made out of plywood to a list of woodworking experts you can interact with on Twitter during the IWF event, this edition of "Watch, Read, Listen, Do" will immerse you in the wonderful world of woodworking and all things related. For live event coverage next week, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — don't forget to chat us up during the event. We're excited to hear from you!
Credit: Woodworking Network

[ WATCH ] Many strides are being made in the area of green technology and this new invention made out of plywood is no exception. An electric car made of plywood? Yes, and it can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Watch this video to learn more about this fantastic use of wood!

[ READ ] Continuing on in the 'Green' theme, two major companies that serve the woodworking industry are distributing bamboo that is intended to be used for interior design purposes. According to the companies partnering together to make bamboo a household staple, the wood is not only environmentally friendly, but provides advantages in the area of mechanics.Who knows? Maybe after reading this article you will want to turn your house into a bamboo-covered paradise. Perhaps now you'll need a linear guide to move that bamboo door panel you can't live without?

[ LISTEN ] Are you a woodworking expert or just a person with an inquiring mind eager to learn more about woodworking and the techniques those in the industry employ to make the process more efficient? If so, you will definitely find this podcast informative and potentially groundbreaking. The session points out five woodworking techniques that are not commonly applied by woodworkers, such as how to add tapers using a jointer and how to turn a spindle with a route.

[ DO ] With IWF coming up, we encourage everyone going or just interested in the event and the industry to check out all the hashtag activity on Twitter and the people tweeting (use #IWFATLANTA). We hope that by following the chatter, you will learn everything there is to know about woodworking and the innovations that are driving the industry forward.

— Eleanor Huddart, Marketing Intern

Monday, August 13, 2012

Motion Monday: Linear Slide and Rotary Guides on Instagram

When you see the same things day in and day out, it's easy to sort of tune out your surroundings. We feel it's important to sometimes stop and take in the sights, the details of your little spot in the universe, the things you normally just walk right by. Maybe take a new route to work or use the back door to view sights and greet people you may not have seen in a while.

That's part of the reason we're excited to be on Instagram — a mobile app that allows us to share snapshots of our linear motion manufacturing floor with neat retro filters. It gives us a fresh look at some of the things we see every day around the manufacturing floor here. Things like an old workbench, a dusty DualVee linear guide wheel (because they're so good in dirty environments, of course) or a close-up of bundled up chains.

Are you on Instagram? Find us under the username "bishopwisecarver" — And look for our posts under the following hashtags: #MotionMonday #MFG #engineering #manufacturing and #machineshop, to name just a few. Every once in a while, we'll repost a snapshot of YOURS on our blog if it's labeled with one of the above tags, so get your camera's ready! We'd love to get a glimpse of your workplace, whether it's an office or a machine shop. Here's to seeing the world through a new lens!

This week's shots (from top left to right then bottom left to right) show a vintage workbench, some debris-laden DualVee double row angular contact ball bearings, a couple chains stashed away, and a heap of steel rollers and spare track bits.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Curiosity Rover, DIY Door Panels and Radial Wheels: Top Five Tweets

Our attention snapped into focus first thing Monday morning on the historic landing of NASA's latest Mars rover, Curiosity. We geeked out, sharing our excitement on the blog throughout the week while tweeting up fellow space geeks, NASA engineers, and even the now-famous "Mohawk Guy."

Credit: NASA
1. Curiosity's First Colored Panoramic Shot of Mars via NASA: We eagerly awaited the first photos from the latest Mars rover earlier this week ... and she didn't disappoint! NASA researchers cobbled together this composite of a bunch of thumbnail-sized snapshots into a panoramic view of the martian landscape, rocks, shadows and details. Fascinating peek into another world. Can't wait to see more!

2. Making Raised Door Panels with a Router and Router Table on We love a good how-to video as much as the next person, so here's a little number we thought we'd share with the rest of you. It's a tutorial that shows you a nice little woodworking project you can do at home. We hope to see some great application just like this at the IWF trade show this month.

3. Feature on our MadeWell Radial Wheels on NASA Tech Briefs: Yay! The NTB folks kindly posted an article about one of our newest products, a vee-edge roller designed for applications with specified radial loading conditions. This linear guide wheel has a lot to offer!

4. I Can't Help But Wonder About Curiosity on Industrial Equipment News: The Curiosity landing was historic for so many reasons — it gives us the clearest window to the Red Planet we've peered through so far, the technology is unprecedented, and its mission to find signs of life is edge-of-your-seat exciting. So why didn't the media and the public make a bigger deal of it? Good question ... We still think science is cool!

5. Giant 3D Printer Builds Homes in 20 Hours via Tom's Hardware: 3D printing keeps popping up in headlines for all the amazing things it creates. But here's a little something chock full of linear motion that grabbed our attention. Awesome technology, great application!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

[ ANIMATION ] Moment Load Carriages for Linear and Rotary Guides

The latest version of the HepcoMotion® PRT2 product line — a collection of ring slides and segments, bearings and ancillary components — supplied design engineers with a multitude of rotary motion options to choose from. And just recently, another addition has been made for applications with high downward or offset loading conditions. Check out the video demonstration below.

High moment load carriages are now available, providing extra support and rigidity. They come in two configurations (both designed to connect to the track system support beam):
  • The static carriage is designed to take on additional load while in a stationary position. The carriage is supported when it makes contact with a pair of eccentrically adjustable roller bearings, fitted to the framework of the track system. In essence, this set-up provides the system with the extra load capacity needed at a workstation with large downward forces (like punching or stamping).
  • The dynamic option provides continuous support to the carriage, around the entire track while the load is moving. The carriage is fitted with eccentric roller bearings which can be adjusted to make contact with a support track following the main vee guide circuit.

These moment load carriages are available in a range of sizes, including an extra wide carriage option. Carriages can be supplied complete with a carriage locking system for positive location within +/- 50 microns. Another great feature is that these carriages can also be utilized with GV3 components in linear applications.

To learn more about PRT2 moment load carriages, strike up a conversation with one of our in-house applications engineers. We will also have PRT2 on display at our IWF booth (#4412) this month.

Intergalactic Snapshots — From Mars to Palm Springs

"I think photographs should be provocative and not tell you what you already know. It takes no great powers or magic to reproduce somebody's face in a photograph. The magic is in seeing people in new ways."

— Duane Michals, American photographer

Good photography, effective photography, is about seeing the world in new ways. Whether it's viewing a person in a different light, to Michals' point, or some faraway corner of the galaxy, photography connects us and enlightens us. Or like Ansel Adams once said, "A good photograph is knowing where to stand."

We received some photos this week from two vastly different sources that did just that: Opened a window from our Bay Area headquarters to a couple different parts of the universe. Two were from Bishop-Wisecarver Corporation President Pamela Kan, who's braving the triple-digit heat this week in the Palm Springs, Calif., desert. The others we got from Curiosity, the NASA rover that made a daredevil landing on Mars Sunday night and has since been transmitting photographic updates of its historic expedition.

[ CURIOSITY ] The nuclear-powered Mars rover sent its first colored photograph from the Gale Crater on Tuesday. Here's the snapshot (right), taken with the camera's dust cover still in place, so it's a bit fuzzy.

Credit: NASA
It may not look like much, but it gives us a first look at the north wall of the Gale Crater, the massive basin where Curiosity touched down on Aug. 5 after an eight-month journey through space. The pictures tells us that the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a very important camera affixed to the six-wheeled rover, is in working condition, researchers pointed out.

Scientists created MAHLI to capture both close-ups and wide landscape shots of the martian terrain. Right now, it rests on the rover's deck. But once it's fully activated, researchers can use it to zoom in on tiny details with resolutions up to 13.9 microns per pixel — that's many times narrower than a strand of hair.

The second colored photo NASA released was a composite of a bunch of thumbnail shots that they puzzle-pieced into a jagged panorama view of the crater. Check it out:

Credit: NASA

Sometimes the desert looks just as alien to us. Palm Springs is no different from certain vantage points, like the photos below that Pamela shared with us of an aerial tram that spans a deep arid ravine (pictured right). Such great heights!

Pictured left is an interesting, almost alien-like texture on a tree, which she saw right after her tram ride, she told us.

"We then hiked through the state park at the top of the tram," she said. "Here is a picture of the bark from 'Jeff' — this type of pine tree has bark that smells like butterscotch! It is the original scratch-n-sniff tree!"

Pretty fascinating! We focus a lot on our expertise in linear and rotary motion, but we also have a great love for the world around us, and these pictures really capture our imaginations!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curious About Mars? Let's Explore Together in This Week's Motion Monday

NASA's latest Mars rover [ Curiosity ] landed without a hitch last night, ready to explore the Red Planet and ping back photographic updates of its journey along the way. It's mission: Find signs of life, not life itself but the biosignature traces it may have left behind.

There's a lot of info out there about the roving laboratory — a one-ton Hummer-sized vehicle that's the centerpiece of a $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory mission. Curiosity will roam martian terrain for one Mars year — two earth years — while researchers back home study the data it sends back.

It's awesome to celebrate an accomplishment like this together, especially since we're in the business of motion without limits. That doesn't just mean moving things from one point to another like our linear slides, rotary guides and our other guided motion components, we're also talking about the movement and the progress that scientific feats like Curiosity represent. 

With that in mind, we've been keeping up with all the buzz on Twitter, in the media and elsewhere around the web to learn more about this historical intergalactic mission. Here, we'll share links to some of our favorite news, views and other Curiosity-related miscellanea.

[ THE MISSION ] As mentioned, Curiosity's goal is to find organic molecules and anomalous textures left by life ages ago. The latest rover launched on Nov. 26 last year and landed in the evening on Aug. 5 with the whole world watching. This isn't the first rover NASA's rocketed into the skies. Previous units have found signs of water that swirled around the martian landscape. Maybe there's water deep beneath the desert surface!

"It is important to distinguish that as an intermediate mission between [Mars rovers], which was the search for water, and future missions, which may undertake life detection, our mission is about looking for ancient habitable environments," said John Grotzinger, a Mars Science Lab scientists from the California Institute of Technology.

Credit: NASA
[ THE VEHICLE ] In a way, the rover's structure has all the parts of a creature it would need to navigate, NASA explains here. It has a body to protect its vital mechanical organs, a computer brain that controls it, camera "eyes" and other tools to help it sense the world around it, arms and hands to reach and grab samples, wheels to transport it and communication ability to stay in touch with its creators back home.

[ THE PICTURES ] Some of our favorites popped up on Curiosity's personal Twitter feed. Yeah, she's up there zapping back updates in 140 characters or less, and some of them with pictures! Wonder what her landing site, the Gale Crater, looks like? The snapshot's already tweeted, so wonder no longer.

[ THE FUTURE ] Though this current mission will last two years, NASA plans them out sometimes more than a decade in advance. Find out what the agency has in store for the future of Mars exploration here. Maybe they need some linear slides and rotary guides for their next mission, no?
Credit: @tweetsoutloud

[ THE HAIR — HUH?! ] 
Whenever there's an event as big as this, an unexpected narrative bubbles up. In this case, it centers around a NASA engineer with an eye-catching 'do. When cameras panned over the rover lab, viewers noticed a young man with a colorfully emblazoned mohawk. Enough people pressed for more details about the guy until it was common knowledge that his name is Bobak Ferdowsi and he's one of the flight directors in the launch lab. The dude got internet famous literally overnight. His Twitter feed blew up from 100 to 25,000 followers in the span of a day. We wonder if he's going to help NASA recruiting by putting an edgy face to the people behind the massive space agency.

[ THE FUNNY ] Your most trusted "funniest news source," The Onion, reports that NASA's almost certain that the martian surface is rocky. But they're still trying to confirm that. Ha!

[ THE TWEETS ] Of course you can follow our own Curiosity-related tweets at @BWCnews using the NASA-suggested hashtags of #MSL, #NASA, #Curiosity, #Mars, #MarsRover. But we also found this Storify compilation pretty helpful.

[ THE CALL TO ACTION ] With all the information out there about Curiosity, NASA kindly has a site that explores virtually every angle of this mission. Participation is strongly encouraged, too, since this is such a public event. Here, the agency has compiled ways for you to stay on top of the latest news from Mars. You can download an app, watch mini documentaries, review the rover's logistics, stats, location and story. It's amazing, actually. Maybe we'll follow up with another blog about it. We'll be checking often for updates anyway!

Credit: NASA

Friday, August 3, 2012

Top Five Tweets: Woodworking, 'Magic Arms' and a Manufacturing Boom

Wait, August already? Or should I say #AugustAlready (since this a Twitter-themed post here)? If there ever was a theme for a bunch of this week's tweets, it's woodworking. We're gearing up for the big International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta later this month, so we've started connecting with a lot of people in the industry, something we find very exciting. It's been fun making connections before the actual event — makes us look forward to meeting some of them in person come Aug. 22 to 25! If you don't already, get in on the action at @BWCnews. See you in Atlanta, woodworkers!

Credit: BWC
1. Bishop-Wisecarver President to Lead Manufacturing Group's Board on Woodworking Network: We've bombard the world with a bunch of news lately — new product launches, new leadership roles for our company president, all that jazz. So we appreciate it when that news gets passed around. The Woodworking Network kindly published this article about how BWC President Pamela Kan was appointed to chair the board of directors for the California Manufacturing and Technology Association. It also has a nice plug for our brand new MadeWell Radial Wheels and our upcoming visit to the IWF in Atlanta. Booth #4412, everyone! See you there!

2. How do Architects Use Linear Slides and Rotary Guides? on We wrote a while ago about how architects use our DualVee Motion Technology to move windows, doors and walls in high-end homes. It's always fascinating to see the various types of industries that use linear and rotary motion control products and how they use them.

Credit: CNN Money
3. Manufacturing Boom — Trade School Enrollment Soars on CNN Money: With starting salaries of $50,000 to $60,000, it's no wonder more and more young people are flocking to trade school to get the skills needed to land a manufacturing job. The surge in people vying for manufacturing jobs is becoming tough to keep up with, according to this article. For the first time in decades, vocational schools are reaching full capacity. And unlike decades ago, this generation of workers has to be computer literate.

4. 3-D Printed 'Magic Arms' via YouTube: Amazing. Watch this video to find out how 3-D printing technology allowed this little girl to move her arms again.

5. Engineering Commons — STEM Education on Here's an interesting look at how we lose science, technology, engineering and math students before they earn their college degree. It begs the question: How can we encourage students to stick with it from the time they're in elementary school through the end of their college career?

Ten Facts About NASA — Rate Our Infographic!

A few months ago, in honor of National Science Month, we designed an infographic that listed 10 interesting factoids about NASA. Some of you may remember us sharing it then as part of our ongoing series of engineering, science, manufacturing and technology related series of infographics.

Imagine our excitement when we found out it was approved for posting on NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory website! [ Click here to see it in all its starry glory ] — and register for the site to rate it!

The website actually features a ton of fascinating astronomy-related infographics — a really cool program they recently launched on the site that allows anyone to register and upload infographics of their own (with approval of the NASA website administrator). Once graphics are uploaded, users can rate the images, download them and share them across other social media channels.

Not sure what an infographic is in the first place? Here's a little explainer we found on the same site:

It's basically a way to lay out technical information in an easy-to-understand visual format. Infographics are fun, helpful tools. Some of the download-able sheets we've made in the past touch on topics like different types of screw-driven actuation, the anatomy of our signature DualVee Guide Wheels, lean manufacturing and the FIRST robotics program.

Nice to see our work being shared! Thanks, NASA! And readers, if you have any ideas for future infographic topics, just tell us in the comment section.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Women Entrepreneurs Meet in SF to Discuss Success, Diversity, and Growing Your Business

On the 32nd floor of the Westin St. Francis
A CHANCE TO NETWORK Capacity building, government contracting and global expansion. Astra Women's Business Alliance made those its top priorities this year at the organization’s 16th annual reception, workshop and awards luncheon last week on the 32nd floor of the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco.

The event was a chance for woman-owned businesses like Bishop-Wisecarver to acquire new knowledge about how to grow and expand their network with like-minded leaders and effectively pursue government and major corporate contracts. We attended the event with other members of Astra, a regional partner organization of the larger national Women's Business Enterprise National Council, which certified us as a woman-owned business.

The lineup of speakers was impressive, as was the roster of the 140-or-so attendees making it a sold-out conference. Our WBENC certification required extensive paperwork on us as a linear guide manufacturer, but now we are officially part of a rich network of forward-thinking entrepreneurs and diversity procurement contacts.

Lynn Tilton
STAR OF THE SHOW Keynote Lynn Tilton stole the show. Dubbed the "private equity boss in 4-inch stilettos" by NPR, the flashy Brooklyn native runs her own private equity firm that buys up companies on the brink of bankruptcy and restructures them into thriving businesses.

She founded Patriarch Partners, LLC, a $8 billion holding company since 2000 after retiring from a successful career on Wall Street. The single mother and no-nonsense investment pioneer made a name for herself as both financier and industrialist, saving about 250,000 American jobs by snatching up distressed loans and turning around the businesses embroiled in debt.

[ Barbara Walters recently profiled Tilton on 20/20 — check it out here ]

Tilton's mission to save jobs came out of a personal spiritual journey, she said. A divorced single mom at 23, she started making a way for herself on Wall street after earning degrees at Yale and Columbia. She worked her way up in a man's world, she said. And on the other side of it, in 1998, she considered retirement.

But in 2000, she figured out a way to make money off of collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), patented the process and, through it, built an empire. Today, she owns about 75 private companies through Patriarch Partners. Twelve of them are WBENC certified.

Her speech touched on topics like the ailing economy, her motivation to continue her work and the backlash that ensues from being a female authority figure, especially one so polarizing. What gets her through the trials, she said, are the people she works, her employees. When they have the grit to power through near-bankruptcy and turn things around, that empowers her as a leader. It also gives her a sense of personal responsibility for the future of her companies and the people who work for them.

"As a leader of a company, if you don’t believe that every failure is your fault, then you won’t be successful," she said matter-of-factly. "So you better own it, know it and take responsibility for it. Anything that’s going on is ours to change. No one else will care as much as you do about your business. In the end, it's all yours. And knowing that, we have to figure out how to lead."

It's a pride of ownership that a lot of women in the room could relate to, considering it was a gathering of female business owners.

FACE TIME Curious about what it's like to manage assets to the magnitude Tilton has taken on? "It's time-consuming," she stressed, then paused, "No, life-consuming." Still, the manufacturing mogul manages to have face time with each company at least once a quarter, with some more than others, she said.

"I do need to get people thinking in a certain way," she said. "Having done so much of this, you have the ability to cut to the chase. My business weakness can be that it's too much 'me,' but in the end, when you build something based on embedded talent, then you can't scale the same way, you can't be as successful  in the long term."

Judy Bradt (left) 
MAKING THE PITCH Several other high-powered women who took the podium echoed those thoughts about ownership, leadership and personal responsibility. That strong sense of ownership is what's going to give you the passion to drive your company's message, agreed Judy Bradt, another panelist and author of the book Government Contracts Made Easier. That pride of ownership deepens the message — it makes it more earnest.

"When your pitch is focused so much on the product and service you sell and not the problem you solve, it's shallow," said Bradt, who runs Summit Insight, a consulting company that helps business owners obtain game-changing government contracts.

Pamela Wallace, who wrote the screenplay for the 1985 Harrison Ford movie Witness agreed that the personal ownership of your product, service and idea will win people over and make you successful. Wallace was on one of the workshop panels, too, that day to talk about perfecting the pitch — a talent that earned her an enviable reputation in Hollywood.

"Believe in your product," said Wallace. "Keep your message honest and consistent, whether you're talking to an intern or the head of a studio. If you have somebody on your side, you'll get to the top, to the decision-maker. So be nice to everyone ... you never know who they know."

About 140 attendees met in SF for the annual event