Beautiful garden railroads engineered with the help of ShopBot

Ross and Sue Piper

Where: Lakeside, California
ShopBot Tool: ShopBot Buddy® and Desktop tools

If you're familiar with outdoor Garden Railroading, you know of the beautiful garden scenes with dwarf trees, working waterfalls, and miniature villages that form the backdrop for quality G-scale model trains. Designing and building quality garden railroad villages and scenery has grown from a hobby into a thriving business for Sue and Ross Piper. They started Rainbow Ridge after both working for many years in the construction industry. They use the ShopBot Buddy, and their recently purchased ShopBot Desktop, to fabricate intricate scenery designs.

ShopBot Made All the Difference.

A key aspect of outdoor railroad sets is scenery that not only is beautiful, but will withstand any kind of weather. At first, the Pipers used only traditional power tools to build their designs, using Precision Board. Sue says, “We know we needed to adopt CNC technology if we were going to be able to work quickly and replicate our designs." The Pipers bought their first ShopBot, a Buddy, with the proceeds of their sale of a vintage Ford Model A.

After a quick learning curve, the ShopBot Buddy began to make all the difference. "The first year, our business doubled," says Sue.

Year after year, there's been 40% growth in sales. The company sells pre-made kits, finished models, and the pre-patterned Precision Boards for customers to cut themselves with a ShopBot.

Recently the Pipers purchased a Desktop in order to do specialty, intricate design work quickly. Sue says, "The Desktop has only exceeded expectations. The precision work that is afforded by the Desktop is amazing! We love our ShopBots.”

Looking ahead to retirement in a few years, the Pipers say they will keep the Desktop for personal projects. The way things are going, you wonder if they will actually want to retire.


Each new ShopBot tool comes bundled with two powerful software programs to create CNC projects.

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