Dean Abernathy The Anaheim, CA, industrial district known as “the Canyon” was a vital part of Southern California’s once thriving aviation industry. Today, the area is home to a diverse gathering of technology and fabrication companies, many of them startups.
Among these companies is Creative Research and Fabrication Technology, better known as C.R.A.F.T. craft1215.com. “C.R.A.F.T. itself can be seen as a design space with an attached shop,” begins Dean Abernathy, a partner in the company along with Diego Pirona. “The relationship between what we design and what we produce is a very close one. We specialize in the design of unique and interesting new products for people, then use the router to turn them into practical solutions. Beyond that, our broader goal is to create a community built around design and digital fabrication. So the C.R.A.F.T. group includes two contracting businesses: Projekta Inc., headed by Danilo Marziali and Pharaoh Construction Services pharoahconstruction.com, led by Jay Schock.”
C.R.A.F.T. also includes a versatile and cost effective modular system of architectural panels for interior and exterior use, marketed under the name Context contextspaces.com. “Many of these products are used as part of theme interiors for restaurants,” explains Abernathy. “So there is a lot of variation between designs. The SmartShop® takes that variation in stride whether we’re cutting wood, metal, or plastic, and allows us to maintain a high level of productivity.”
Abernathy, a licensed architect, professor of architecture at Orange Coast College and an experienced CNC machine user, chose the SmartShop® II for some very practical reasons. “The SmartShop® uses the same real-world approach to design that I do,” he begins. “I once worked with a router equipped with a pendant control. Then someone dropped and broke the pendant. That took the machine out of production for two weeks while we waited for a replacement. By comparison, the SmartShop® uses a podium-mounted controller which is a much more practical design.”
Abernathy also likes the fact that he’s only a few miles from the Laguna Tools headquarters. “The only questions we’ve had about the SmartShop® were programing oriented. But I like the idea that any requirementment we may have can be met almost immediately. We’re moving into a lot of exciting new areas and need a trouble-free machine to help them come to fruition.”
Among these new ideas is a line of school room furniture that pairs attractive design with highly-durable construction. C.R.A.F.T. also uses the SmartShop® II to offer expanded services to clients. “The machine lets us produce full scale mockups of products for our clients. It’s one thing to present a digital image of a project. But it’s quite another to show them a full-sized example of what’s under discussion,” says Abernathy.
Asked what Laguna Tools machine may be next for C.R.A.F.T., Abernathy quickly responds, “A bandsaw. A large part of Laguna Tools’ history is in traditional tooling. So we know when we add that capability it will be a mature, robust unit.” From aircraft to restaurant interiors and school furniture, the Canyon has changed with the times. But what will remain constant is the quality and versatility of the work done by C.R.A.F.T. and its Laguna Tools SmartShop® CNC router.
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