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New Easel Feature: Carving Time Estimation



Our amazing development team has created a new time estimation feature in Easel. Because in this busy world, we know your time is precious. And faster carves means more carves!

While designing in Easel, you can now get an estimate of your total carving time. The “Show Toolpaths” button previously found in the top right corner of the 3D design pane has been replaced by a “Simulate” button. When “Simulate” is clicked, Easel calculates and displays the estimated time and toolpath visualization.

Taking the time to adjust small settings can add up to a big impact. In the below project example, simply switching your bit from 1/8" to 1/4" saves over 30 minutes of carve time. Adjusting other settings like material thickness and cut depth also make a difference.



CAM programs, due to all of the different possible machine setups, aren’t known for giving the most accurate machining time estimates. With this new feature, we’ve worked hard behind the scenes to have Easel deliver an estimate that’s now reliable enough for us to share.


The above graph shows the results of experimenting with a couple different methods for estimating time, and comparing those with the actual carve time. We almost always underestimated the total, but for 95% of makers the estimate was within a few minutes.

Give it a try for yourself today and let us know your feedback. If you have any questions while designing, check out this helpful article from our awesome support team!

Carvey got TESTED


Norm Chan reviewed Carvey on TESTED. Check out the video below!

 

Educator Spotlight: Greg Kent on Design Thinking

I’m Greg Kent, Technology Coordinator and an Enrichment Teachers at Kailua Elementary School, on the Island of Oahu.




Teaching a tool or teaching a design process?

I follow and teach the Design Thinking process. Design Thinking is so vital because it fosters communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking, the vital skills you need to be successful in life. There was a great presentation done this year at Punahou school by their high school students for our First Lego League team. The students walked the whole team through Design Thinking by using the process to solve a problem with us. That was a moment of clarity for me. It is like the scientific method for makers! I felt like it gave me a simple, powerful, repeatable process that Kailua Elementary students and teachers could follow and be successful.

Design Thinking means getting to know someone (Empathize), and figuring out what their “pain point” or challenge is (Define). After determining these, we brainstorm like crazy to come up with as many solutions we can (Ideate).  Then we draw our designs on paper, make models out of cardboard and other materials, and finally create a working prototype (Prototype). Next we test out the model, get and give feedback, and share our experiences (Test). This cycle can continue over and over again until the team is satisfied with the results.  Recently, I found  AJ Juliani’s “Launch” framework and want to explore that more this summer during our robotics camp.


Do you teach how to operate the tool?

This year we focused on students using Easel, Inventables' simple and powerful 3D carving program. I think it's incredibly important for students to digitally ideate and prototype in addition to making low-fi models. When students have choice and control they want to master the tools available. The first question I would hear in the morning is, “Did you look at the design I posted yet?” We need to understand that being creative and solving problems takes time and effort. The agency for the students is in their ability to create the content they want anywhere and anytime, and take it as far as they want.



I walk students through the steps of what is happening when I'm setting up the X-Carve. Honestly, I feel like they can learn to tighten a router collet later. Personally, I want to have a workflow that is efficient and safe. I have been learning and adjusting the hardware setup to make sure we are safe, and that their experience is consistent. I want students to have as much control as possible, but it has to be gradual and sustainable. I want them to be resilient when things don’t go as expected, but I do want them to have a positive outlook and expect things to go right.


Do you start with something like the tiles Jeff Solin did with his class?

Yes! At first we explored Easel and the project section of the Inventables website. I didn’t really tell students what I wanted because I didn’t know. We talked about making signs and the students found the tile project. We substituted ¼" plywood for the project. I told them they could make anything they wanted. Some students chose icons inside of Easel but others went online to find certain characters they wanted to incorporate into the design. One of my students imported a dragon she had created and brought it home to paint.

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Do you allow the kids to design something that can be sold?

We have not stepped into that arena yet. I think if we do, it would be for a class fundraiser or for our 3rd grade mini-society unit.

Do you give them a budget?

No, but I am pretty verbal about costs and about students being stewards of whatever resources we receive. For this year’s main project, students made most of their projects from ½" plywood. Kailua Elementary is not a rich school but our administration is very understanding and supportive of STEM and our growing maker space. We have been using a lot of recycled materials for other projects but I need to do a better job of connecting with our community to see if anyone has materials/resources to share!

Not sure what your maker lab should look like? Check out Greg's classroom lab!


Maker Faire is Almost Here!


Come join us for a night of pizza, drinks & 3D carving!

Inventables is hosting a Maker Faire get-together at Windy City Pizza and BBQ in San Mateo, CA on Saturday, May 21st. If you'll be in the area, stop by to learn more about Easel, X-Carve and Carvey. You’ll meet some great people, eat delicious pizza and, enjoy drinks compliments of Inventables.

RSVP Here!




Inventables CEO, Zach Kaplan, will share how you can get a free 3D carver for your school at Maker Faire Bay Area

Come see our founder and CEO, Zach, at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016.  He will be giving a talk on the Maker Pro stage. He will be sharing our mission to put a 3D carver in every U.S. school by the end of the decade. You’ll learn how your school or a school you support can get a free 3D carving machine. Don't miss out on this awesome event! Click below to get your tickets before they're all gone.

Buy your tickets today!




Carvey in the classroom

We recently launched a new materials bundle that is perfect for any school curriculum! On our site you can now buy a pack of 60 two-color HDPE tiles for only $100. Students are able to carve the tiles, offering them an endless number of possibilities,for their creativity to flow! Check out the above tile wall at our HQ for some added inspiration.

Visit our materials page for details!


X-Carve Helps to Rebuild a Beloved Local Restaurant

In nearly every town, there’s that one restaurant that’s a true staple. One that helps enhance its beauty and uniqueness, no matter how big or small. In Dorset, Minnesota that restaurant is the beloved Companeros.

For 30 straight summers, owners Rick and Laura Kempnich opened their family-owned restaurant in the small tourist town of only 27 year-round residents. And every year when the doors were thrown open to let in the warm summer air, the Kempnichs’ loyal (and hungry) customers were there waiting. Companeros even made national news in 2012, when Bobby Tufts was elected as the nation’s youngest mayor at the age of 3 years old, right on the old wooden deck.


But tragedy struck the tiny town in September 2014, when a lightning strike sparked a fire that left the restaurant in ruins. The Kempnichs decided to sell the land in hopes that new owners would rebuild the local Mexican eatery. To keep the tradition alive, former employees Levi and Beth Durgin purchased the land and the family recipes.



Once word began to spread about the rebuild, donations started pouring in. Inventables customer Joe Westphal caught wind of the reconstruction efforts and did what any great maker would do. He grabbed his X-Carve and offered to help.



Several times each summer, Joe and his wife would drive to Dorset to visit Companeros and gain the precious memories they now cherish. So when Joe heard about the rebuild from a tradesman working on the effort, he was happy to help a "place that has been a social fixture in this area as much as any business for many years for folks who visit and vacation in this area. They had a need, I have the equipment.

The Durgins delegated the engraving of the deck planks to Joe. Using his X-Carve in a creative nod to the overwhelming support from the community, he’s carving donors’ names into the new wooden floorboards. Once completed, the boards will be used to create the deck. 




With donations pouring in from Texas to Nebraska, Joe and his X-Carve have been hard at work. With even more carving ahead, he’s happy to help a community in need, allowing X-Carve to quietly and artfully leave its mark on the small town.




“The loss of Companeros had threatened to cause the community to fade into oblivion like so many small towns today.”  Now, with the support of a strong loyal community and some assistance from X-Carve, Dorset is coming back to life.

To join the effort by donating to the Companeros rebuild, please visit  their Go Fund Me page.



Zach Kaplan's Big Announcement at Technori!

Did you hear the big announcement from Inventables CEO, Zach Kaplan? If you missed out on the action, keep reading. You’re going to want to hear this news!




On Tuesday March 29th, Zach Kaplan was the keynote speaker at the maker-themed Technori event in Chicago. Technori is the third largest monthly startup event in the United States, showcasing over 250 companies at 50 events. Technori has raised over $201 million in funding and employs more than 1,000 people. Technori is working to help build the startups of tomorrow by giving them a stage to present their ideas in front of hundreds. By doing so, Technori has been able to assist startups in gaining momentum, and even, helping to obtain their first customer, partnership or investment.

Technori gave Kaplan the chance to explain to the startup community, how students are bored at school and have resorted to snapchatting their face rather than learning. This contagious boredom throughout students is causing The U.S. academic rating to plummet. And to this Kaplan said no more!


In Inventables’ effort to promote STEM education throughout The U.S., Kaplan announced Tuesday night that Inventables is launching a program that allows schools to start a crowdfunding page to buy a Carvey! The campaign program can be found on the Inventables website and allows any school to set up a campaign that will last 30 days, with proof of tax exemption form.

Kaplan explained that together as a nation we need to come together and make kids become interested in school again by promoting STEM education. To find out more information about the Inventables crowdfunding program, visit our website!


The 3D Carvers are Arriving!

They’re getting close….a little closer….they’re here!

After three months of anticipation, the wait is coming to an end! Carveys and X-Carves are beginning to appear at the front doors of the 50 winning schools of the Inventables 3D carver contest.

Back in January, Inventables announced the winners of the contest to kickoff our mission of putting a 3D carving machine in every school in the U.S. by the end of the decade.



In Hawaii at Kailua Elementary, Greg Kent and his students built a cozy transparent home for their X-Carve. They have also been busy carving a sign to proudly welcome their guests to the Kailua Elemakery!





Kent recently told Inventables that he feels, “like the X-Carve has taken our makerspace to the next level! We have hit the ground running and are in the middle of ‘Design Thinking in the Garden’ with 2nd and 5th graders. It is a tool that promotes critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The 5th graders are working with the 2nd graders to help them improve their gardens. So far students have created cardboard prototypes of raised bed markers, a gate, small tool storage, large tool storage, a watering arm, a bee house, a seed storage box, and a fruit harvesting pole. Next week the 5th graders will create the designs in Easel, create their supply list and begin creating the pieces on the X-Carve”.


In Massachusetts, teacher Jennifer Esty is leading her students on a Carvey adventure at Sparhawk School. With smiles on their faces, Jennifer and her students begin their out of the box Carvey experience!



At Loudoun Academy of Science in Sterling, Virginia, teacher Josh Ajima is helping his students create an awesome digital fabrication lab with a little help from their new friend Carvey. Check out Josh’s great post about his Carvey unboxing experience here!


Down south the fun is just beginning for three more of our winning schools! Bill Nebeker from Klein Independent School District in Texas, Megan McNinch from Sugar Creek Elementary in South Carolina and Kristie Wikane from Rockingham Middle School in North Carolina are all adding one more name to their class roster.



For more information on how you can sign up a school for Inventables new crowdfunding program, check out our website!  


Chicago Tonight interview with Inventables CEO, Zach Kaplan

Within the next few decades, an explosion of new technologies is going to once again make the United States the top dog of manufacturing.

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Inventables Founder and CEO, Zach Kaplan is just one of the individuals leading the digital manufacturing revolution.



3D carving is used to carve objects out of many different materials like wood, plastic and even metal. You start with a flat piece of material that is clamped down tightly to secure it during the carving process. The project design is created on the computer and then sent to the 3D carving machine.  A part of the machine called the spindle, rotates the bit to remove material from the surface. The spinning bit has sharp edges so it is moved perpendicular to its axis of rotation, which creates cutting on the circumference of the bit rather than the tip.


Kaplan spoke with Chicago Tonight’s reporter, Eddie Arruza about the beginning of the digital manufacturing revolution here in the United States. Kaplan explains that while we are still in the infancy stage of this revolution, the amount of tools and people participating are going to explode within the next few decades.


With release of Inventables newest machine, Carvey, Kaplan hopes to make a big impact in the progress of the revolution. Carvey is a quiet and clean tabletop 3D carving machine that is also easy to use. Kaplan hopes Carvey becomes a common well-known tool, much like PowerPoint is today. While Carvey is not the only 3D carving machine on the market, Kaplan says it is the easiest to use.

Want more information on Carvey? Check out Inventables.com!

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