Inventables announces Bart Dring’s retirement

When Bart was considering working at Inventables we met at Starbucks and he told me he was going to retire after Inventables in about 5 years.  I remember thinking “Yea that’s fine that’s a long time from now”.  I feel like I blinked and the day arrived.  Today is that day, and is with extremely warm wishes that I announce the retirement of Bart Dring.


A living legend in the Maker Movement, Bart played a pivotal role in growing Inventables from a “Hardware Store for Designers” where we were distributing other companies materials into a manufacturer where we made our own products.

It all started when Bart invented the MakerSlide. He had the idea that a low cost open source linear bearing for CNC equipment and extremely easy to integrate into your design could be helpful in a lot of applications. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign for Makerslide, Bart was selling MakerSlide out of his garage.

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Bart and I first met up at Maker Faire Detroit and he showed me the MakerSlide.  We continued talking and eventually we ran a pre-order campaign and we sold enough that if put end to end it would be as tall as the Sears Tower.  Below are some pictures from the day we shipped out that first batch.  We had to convince our landlord to let us use a vacant office in our building because the delivery was too big for our warehouse at the time.

As of June 8th 2017 we have sold enough to reach 106 Sears Towers!

In addition to MakerSlide Bart pioneered our flagship machines X-Carve, Carvey, X-Controller and components. It takes a village to design and manufacture a machine.  Today we want to recognize Bart’s vision, technical skill, great attitude, and commitment. He helped propel us to our present position in the industry.  This year Inventables customers will carve over 1 million times!
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His work has impacted our team, our customers, and the entire maker community.  There is only one word to describe Bart...awesome.

Bart is irreplaceable.  However, we worked on a transition plan. Brian Rutkowski a senior member of Bart’s team has stepped up to lead the Hardware Engineering team.  Our recruiting team has already begun work to recruit some additional engineering talent to join Inventables. In addition to Bart’s retirement we are proud to announce Bart will become an advisor to Inventables.  

Please join me in congratulating Bart on this exciting next phase of his life!

Check out our new look: Inventables Brand Revamp

We’re so excited to finally share our new brand identity with you! As you can see, this is a big change for us. We want to share some insights into what lead us to pursue an overhaul of our look.

Inventables was a much different company when our CEO, Zach Kaplan, founded it in 2002. Our first venture was in selling kits filled with inspirational and quirky materials to R&D departments. These kits roused people to create in new ways and build new products. While most of the items from these kits are no longer available, products like our Light Diffuser Films still live on as mementos of this phase of our company.

Seeing the cool products and ideas generated by our materials kits inspired our next chapter. We transitioned into selling 3D carving machines, like X-Carve and Carvey, and built our brand around the maker community. We developed Easel to make designing and carving intuitive and accessible to everyone. Expanding our vision allowed us to bring our machines, materials, and resources to a vibrant group of users, ranging from student to small business owner.

Our involvement in the maker community over the past few years expanded our knowledge about what’s possible. Working with you, our community, fundamentally changed the way we view ourselves as an organization.

We believe in focusing on you, the customer, rather than focusing on our product. We're working hard to continue making that shift. Educational classes like Easel Live allow us to share tutorials for makers of all skill levels and engage with users in real time. Our forum is filled with active users who support each other with projects, hacks, and suggestions. The Projects library showcases the wide variety of intriguing, beautiful, and fascinating things users make with our machines and materials.

As we continue focusing on your customer journey, we felt a new identity would solidify our values to the world. Our role in your personal journey inspired us to pursue the brand identity you see reflected on our new site.

Let’s break down what goes into our new look:

The most distinctive element of our visual identity system is our “Cube” symbol. The form is a direct reference to a cube drawn in three dimensions, referencing the three-dimensional outputs our tools and materials yield.

The three planes of the cube refer to the three aspects of our business (tools, materials, and community). The four lines on each plane symbolize the four steps on a maker’s journey: inspire, design, carve, and share.

Our color palette is warm and energetic, referencing the spark of inspiration and the creative fire of making. This shifts away from the cooler, tech-heavy tones of our previous brand identity.

You’ll start seeing various icons used across our content. Just like our Cube symbol, these icons represent the four steps in the creative process (left to right): inspire, design, create, and share.

For the past few months, our team has worked hard to roll out the website you see today. While our site is the first place you’ll see our new colors and symbol, more changes are on their way. In the coming weeks, you’ll see these design schemes implemented elsewhere—shipping boxes, email newsletters, machine components, etc.—as we roll out our new look across all aspects of our company.

Yes, we have a new look, but some things never change. We still believe the future is the hands of people who make, create, and dream. Helping makers succeed and bring their ideas to life is at the heart of what we do; this is what drives us to work hard and challenge ourselves every day. Your experience as an Inventables customer is our most cherished value. We always welcome your feedback, both good and bad, if there is something we can do to help you on your journey.

Thank you for being a part of our community. Together, we can create something incredible.

Carvey Exhibit at ALA

Come visit us this weekend at the American Library Association conference in Chicago! We'll have a Carvey exhibit at The Playground, ALA's interactive technology showcase.

Libraries like the San Diego Public Library and the Harold Washington Memorial Library have successfully integrated Carvey into their maker labs. More and more libraries across the country are building similar creative spaces, providing their communities with a way to learn through making.

To help support the development of more maker labs, we're giving away a free Carvey to a library on Monday, June 26th. You can sign up at the ALA conference this weekend, or enter to win here:

Carvey Giveaway Entry Form

If you'll be at the conference and would like to enter there (or just come carve a fidget spinner with us!), please visit us:

McCormick Place, Chicago
ALA Conference & Exhibition
The Playground, booth 2655
Friday, June 23: 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Saturday, June 24: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sunday, June 25: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Happy carving!

X-Carve Dust Control System

Today I’m proud to announce a new product brought to market with help from our community.  It’s the X-Carve Dust Control System, a full dust collection solution for our X-Carve 3D carving machine.

The X-Carve Dust Control System is designed to collect dust as the machine carves your work piece.  It features a dust shoe that attaches to the spindle mount. A grounded hose connects to the dust shoe and routes the work dust into your vacuum or dust collector.


In March 2016 we backed a Kickstarter for the Suckit. At the time, we had been working on dust collection ideas for several years, all featuring at least two design elements: independent Z and a magnetic attachment. We were inspired by the reaction to the Suckit, and actively recommended it to our customers.  Looking for a way to include dust collection as an option from Inventables, we reached out to Mark at Suckit to learn more.  

Mark sent us an early prototype unit and we put it through some testing in our lab.  We challenged ourselves to build upon Suckit’s great start by working through some potential performance and manufacturing improvements.  We’ve since teamed up with the Suckit crew on this next iteration, the Dust Control System. In addition to collaborating with Mark on its development, we’re paying him a royalty as a thank you for advancing the X-Carve in the community.

We’re excited about the product’s features. First, it assembles onto the X-Carve with no rework or disassembly.  This means you can get started right away.  If you need to remove it for any reason, you can detach it in seconds without any tools.  We’ve made it quite easy to adjust, and included a scale on the side for gauging its height from your work piece.

In addition to the “shoe,” the part that sits below the spindle, it includes a grounded hose and routing system for clean hose management.  Grounding is important because it dissipates static electricity that, in certain situations, can ignite combustible materials moving in or out of vacuums.  A grounded system dramatically reduces if not eliminates this risk.  The hose Inventables provides is grounded and long enough that you don’t need an additional hose, and its universal fitting is compatible with most shop vacuums.  Ideally you should have a grounded vacuum, and we have a static strap to ensure the hose finds a good ground.

Finally, the X-Carve Dust Control System includes an alternate Z-probe connector mounting point, because the existing one will be covered as the result of installation.

At Inventables we’re dedicated to building a community of encouragement. The community has and will continue to produce amazing ideas, many that are well beyond what we do inside our own walls.  We want to thank Mark and his team for helping bring this into the X-Carve world.

Free Shipping on Non-Machine Orders

Today we’re introducing free shipping on non-machine orders of $100 or more. It’s a bit of an experiment, one we plan to learn a lot from on our way to designing a future Inventables membership program.

It’s also a big part of continuing to build Inventables as a community of encouragement, something that’s really important to us. From our recent Easel Live classes to this week’s Fidget Spinner Design Challenge launch, we’re hoping to inspire you to design, carve and share amazing ideas with each other. As we do, we also want to get rid of things that might stand in the way of that. Like shipping.

As we launch this free shipping program, here’s what’s important to know…
It’s only for our non-machine items. That means everything excluding X-Carve, Carvey, X-Controller, vacuums, and machine upgrade kits. All bits and materials are eligible.

With big apologies to our friends in Hawaii, Alaska, and international points near and far, it only applies to deliveries to the continental US.

At this point, we don’t know when this offer will end. We’re learning as we go, and you’ll be the first to know as things change.

For more information, head on over to this FAQ we created and will continue to update. If you have a question and don’t see the answer there, send it to help@inventables.com, and we’ll get right back to you.

As for our future membership program, we’re really hoping to hear any and all of your ideas in the below comments section. What are some of the benefits you’d like to see us include?

New Easel Features: Search, snapshots and more!

February has been a big month for Easel improvements! There are three big features I’d like to share. All three should make Easel an easier and more powerful aid to making.

Project snapshots

It has always been difficult to find an old project. Even if you are careful and organized with names, it is not always easy to remember what project you are looking for. Now Easel will take a snapshot of what your project looks like and display it in the project drawer. You can now easily scan through your projects to find the one you are looking for visually. Snapshots are created whenever your project is saved, so the picture will always be in sync with your project.

Project search

In addition to using pictures to find the right project, we’ve also introduced an instant search to help you find a specific project by name. Simply type a bit of the project name and the list will automatically update.

Easel Live Featured Apps

Apps in Easel are a combination of ideas about what to make and tools for how to make. We have made some major improvements to the way apps are organized and displayed. There are now categories, featured apps created by the Easel team, larger photos, and new animations to let you see how the apps work just by hovering your mouse over the image. Featured apps also all have links to Easel Live events explaining in-depth how to use them to create awesome projects.

What's next? Find out early on the forum.

These changes and many others are posted to the Inventables Community Forum where we give first looks at new features, announce early-access features and gather feedback. It is also a great place to find help and connect with other carvers. Check it out!

2016 Inventables Holiday Challenge

The holidays are a great time to get your kids designing and carving with you. From gifts with a personal touch to decorations for the home or classroom, the possibilities are endless.

As an extra reason to get those creative juices flowing, we're having a design challenge for the month of November! We're looking for the best holiday projects based on 1) creative design, 2) original use of a Carvey for X-Carve, and 3) best use of Inventables features or materials (think your favorite underrated material or app in Easel).

We are also debuting our first holiday materials bundle featuring festive materials for anything from Christmas trees to snowmen to menorahs, and the bits to cut them. Check it out here.

How to enter
Post a photo of your process and the finished product on Instagram with #InventablesChallenge. Projects will be judged every week by the Inventables team, and weekly winners will get a $50 gift card to the Inventables store and an entry for the final prize - a $250 gift card for the finalist with the most Instagram likes. Remember - your profile must be public for us to be able to see your design!

Happy carving! We're so excited to see your family's designs.