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Pumpkin Carving with Easel and Shapeoko


Shapeoko 2 owner Winston Moy made an awesome video of how to use your Shapeoko to carve a pumpkin using Easel, our web-based CAD + CAM + machine control software. 


The key is to remove the wasteboard and prop the Shapeoko up on stilts, giving you enough clearance to carve into the pumpkin. I think the most clever part is using a big coffee can to hold the spherical-ish pumpkin. Standard clamps don't work so well on pumpkins, as you might expect. And major props for giving a great introduction to using Easel!

Check out Winston's YouTube channel for a bunch of other awesome CNC projects. Also check out our projects section for more Shapeoko project ideas that you can open directly in Easel.

Keep it spooky.

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Carvey: The 3D carving machine for the maker in all of us

On Tuesday October 21st at 8am CST Inventables launched a Kickstarter campaign for Carvey a new, remarkably easy to use, tabletop 3D carving machine for making ideas into real objects. I'm proud to say we hit our goal in 1 hour and 26 minutes!

The response for the community has been beyond belief.  Thank you so much for all of the support for the Carvey project.  We are so grateful.  There have been some technical questions in the comments section about how precise Carvey is.  We want to be as responsive as possible to the questions.  In this video Chief Engineer Bart Dring uses a dial indicator that has 0.0005" accuracy. The dial indicator was bolted to the waste board on Carvey. He measures the X, Y, and Z axis to determine the precision and repeatability of the machine.  
In the technical specifications we promised:
  • Run out .0006"
  • Resolution .001"
Our measurements on the actual machine are:
  • Run out .0004"
  • Repeatability on X: 0.0005"
  • Repeatability on Y: 0.0005"
  • Repeatability on Z: 0.0005"
*In the original post we stated repeatability on X and Y were 0.  The use of significant digits was wrong.  If you measure something with a wooden ruler and it is an inch wide you say 1 inch.  If you measure with a caliper you might say 1.000 inch. Saying "0' implies it could be rounded by as much as 0.500" 
 
While the eye can see the pointer only moved about a 1/5th of a tick on the scale, that does not mean the tool is that accurate.

The accuracy number I always give is 0.001 to 0.003.  We do not guarantee all units will leave the factory at 0.001 on all axes.  



There are also some questions about how well Carvey cuts soft metals like Aluminum.  In our next update, we're going to film a series of videos to show this process so stay tuned!  Thanks again for all your support and keep your questions coming!

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    It's getting spoooky in the workshop- this ABS filament might be haunted!

    Everyone likes to make stuff, but Halloween brings about a particular type of DIY craftsmanship that we love in the Inventables office. So we decided to make a compendium of everything in our store that has Halloween written all over it, and we dug through the project archives to bring you some gems from our customers and staff that might give you the heebie-jeebies (in a good way).

    Firstly, click this link to see the cornucopia of "halloweenable" materials in our store. Things that glow in the dark, light up, things to easily mold, and all sorts of materials in autumn colors, it's a lot. Here's a brief sampling:



    And to get your gears turning, here's a few of our favorite customer projects:


    Jeff is one of the software engineers behind Easel, and he is easily frightened by poorly aligned text. He was very brave to have finished this project. 



    Gold Bones by Justine Mendoza

    A good number of our customers run Etsy shops and the like, making and selling their original designs using materials from Inventables. Justine Mendoza is one such entrepreneur, and her designs lend themselves well to the season.


    Kelly Eident is another of our Etsy seller customers and she does amazing things with acrylic. This inlay technique is well done.


    Wonder Woman ring by Herbert Hoover

    Herbert had a "ring a day" project going for a little while that used a lot of different Inventables materials. This one is a perfect piece of costume jewelry for cosplaying everyone's favorite radical feminist.

    Grinning Skull 3D Ring by Sasha Neri

    Sasha is one of the facilitators at the Chicago Public Library's awesome maker lab. Download this design and make it on your own 3D printer, or head over to the library and make it there!


    Marc's design here suggests a lot of possibilities, but is constructed in a simple way by layering a colored transparent acrylic beneath a cut painted wood. If you want to make something similar, try a box generator like MakerCase to get started and then use a Shapeoko or laser to cut it out.

    Are you working on a Halloween project? Take photos and send them to us to be featured in the next round-up!

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    Zach Kaplan's talk at MakerCon NYC

    Our founder and CEO Zach Kaplan gave a talk recently at NYC MakerCon wherein he outlines the evolution of desktop fabrication and gives some idea of where this whole thing is going. The talk was recorded by the fine folks at Make Magazine, it's short and to the point and definitely worth checking out.

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    Fishtail end mills!



    Fishtail end mills are our new favorite bit! They're awesome for getting clean edges on thin material and for making pockets with flat bottoms. We now use them more often than any other kind of bit.

    We recently published a project using them here. We chose a fishtail end mill for this project to ensure a clean edge on the acrylic numbers.



    They would also be the perfect bit to use in the Drunken Woodworker's inlay project that we shared last week.

    We also just released an End Mill Starter Set that includes fishtail bits, as well as a few others to cover just about any situation. Convenient!


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    Easel is now available to everyone


    Today we are extremely happy to announce that Easel is available to everyone. 

    Easel is a web app for 3D carving with the Shapeoko. You design in 2D while simultaneously viewing a 3D preview of your design cut into the material of your choice with real-world machine considerations like bit size. You'll see instantly what parts of your design can be cut with your size of bit. Import an existing design or use our simple and intuitive design tools to make something new. Then just connect to your Shapeoko and hit "Carve". 





    Stamp project
    Sign project
    Before getting into the why behind Easel, you should try it out for yourself. Go to app.easel.com and try it out. We've also created a section of Easel projects you can get started with right away. This stamp project and sign project are both fun and easy introductions.





    Why would a hardware store make software?

    To us and to our customers, Inventables is much more than a hardware store. Our core objective is to feed the revolution of small-scale design, fabrication and manufacturing. 

    Our first step towards that goal was sourcing beautiful, high quality, hard-to-find raw materials in workable sizes. 

    Next, together with Edward Ford, we took on the distribution of the Shapeoko CNC milling machine. The Shapeoko was revolutionary in its low cost and barrier to entry. With $650 you could have a CNC that carved wood, metal, acrylic and other materials. 

    It was a natural extension from there to attack the software side of digital fabrication. We wanted to put Shapeokos where they could never have gone with the existing software pipeline. We wanted to put them in schools, libraries, artists studios, design shops. We needed software that would get people excited about using a mill. We needed software designed to help you succeed. So we made Easel.


    I am most proud of Easel's accessibility. At the San Mateo Maker Faire, we had people who had never seen a CNC before using Easel to carve things in under 5 minutes. We had children as young as 7 making things on our Shapeokos (remember your safety glasses!). We were blown away by the ideas people had about how the Shapeoko could work for their business and hobby in ways we had never thought of before: things like making carbon fiber frames for drones to making custom frames for a bee keeping operation.

    Our core belief is that given the right tools, everyone can and should make their mark. Easel is the next step for Inventables towards that goal, but it won't be our last.


    We look forward to your feedback and suggestions as we continue to make Easel easier and awesomer!

    -Paul Kaplan, software engineer and lead Easel developer.



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    How to use a Shapeoko to propose to your girlfriend

    The internet was abuzz last week when one of our customers shared his labor of love with Reddit. Shapeoko user Joe Ternus decided to propose to his girlfriend in the most elaborate way possible, starting with chopping down a tree. He then created a box, an opening iris gear mechanism, and a key to open it all and reveal the ring.











    She said yes, of course.

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