New Puzzle App On Easel

Within Inventables free Easel software platform, there is an app store for our makers. Once logged into Easel, you have the option to click on any of the shapes or tabs listed along the top. If you select the tab labeled “Apps” you will be brought to our App Library, which has 15 predesigned apps you are able to choose from!

Have you ever tried to carve a 5, 10 or even 20 piece puzzle that fits perfectly together? Well let me tell you, it’s rather difficult. But now thanks to independent app developer, VojtÄ›ch Kadlec, it doesn’t have to be!

Kadlec has developed an app that generates a grid of customizable puzzle pieces. Inventables recently announced in our forum, that we have published his app to Easel, so all markers are able to try it out!

Kadlec is looking to add more complex shapes to his puzzle app in the near future, like this escher-lizard shape below. So keep a lookout for updates!

In preparation for Valentine's Day, Kadlec has decided to go above and beyond the standard flowers and chocolate. Kadlec carved this beautiful wooden heart that he hopes to soon add to Inventables project page (just in case you need a little inspiration for the big day).

Carvey shipping update

As you know from our last update, we've started shipping Carveys! So far, the response from people who have received their machines has been tremendous. We are so honored and humbled by all your support. This has been a long journey, and we are so glad to finally get Carvey into your hands! We couldn’t have done it without the support of our backers, and we thank you.
We’re blown away by the thoughtfulness and creativity our backers have demonstrated when working on their first few projects. One person carved out some family photos using the new image trace feature in Easel.

Photos carved using the new image trace in Easel 
Photos carved using the new image trace in Easel
Another backer bought a Carvey so he could make things with his three kids. Immediately after getting the machine set up, his daughter began making Texas-shaped keychains.

Texas-shaped key chains carved from fluorescent acrylic 
Texas-shaped key chains carved from fluorescent acrylic
In addition to these successes, we’ve also had some more issues with machines getting damaged in shipment. Despite passing our ISTA 3a packaging drop test, we’re seeing that real-world UPS Ground shipping conditions are quite a bit harder on the boxes.
After witnessing some head-scratching damage to our internal packaging during shipment, we redesigned it to include two rows of foam instead of one. We also added six more zip ties to divide the load in half (these are reusable, just press the buttons to release). In addition, we replaced the old cardboard stabilizer, swapping it out for two new pieces that keep the table secure in the center. (Sidenote: you should save all this packaging in case you ever want to move the machine, as great force can cause the gantry to fly around and damage the electronics)

New foam stabilizers inside Carvey for safe shipping 
New foam stabilizers inside Carvey for safe shipping
We also had some backers report cracks in the acrylic that makes up the door. It appears that some delivery drivers were cutting holes in the boxes to use as makeshift handles to lift the machines. So we decided to add some green straps to the exterior of the box. This makes lifting easier on the drivers and further protects your Carvey.

Carvey with new straps on the outside packaging 
Carvey with new straps on the outside packaging
Last week we ran some tests with the improved packaging, and all Carveys arrived safely. We will resume shipping today! 
The two orange straps inside the Carvey box are designed to make lifting it easier.  The process requires two people to lift it out and place it on a table.

Carvey unboxing is a 2 person lift 
Carvey unboxing is a 2 person lift
By the end of this week, we should be able to let everyone know date ranges for when they can expect their Carvey.

50 States 3D Carver Winners Announced!

The winners of the Inventables 50 States 3D Carver Contest have officially been announced!

We selected one school from each of the 50 states (still waiting on you Delaware!) to receive a free 3D Carver! The schools selected ranged from K-12, high schools, community colleges, and universities. The schools were then able to choose between Inventables two 3D carving machines, the X-Carve or Carvey, as their grand prize.

The Inventables team was overwhelmed by the amount of thought, effort and care that these schools put into the three rounds of the contest.

Check out this great article from CNNMoney.com highlighting the winning schools from Tennessee and Hawaii! Read the full article here.

Alabama - James Clemens High School
Alaska - Dimond High School
Arizona - Zaharis Elementary School
Arkansas - Washington Middle School
California - Templeton High School
Colorado - Career Center
Connecticut - Salisbury School
Delaware - No Applicants
Florida - Imagine South Lake Charter
Georgia - Woodstock Middle School
Hawaii - Kailua Elementary
Idaho - Lewiston High School
Illinois - Pulaski International School of Chicago
Indiana - Purdue University
Iowa - Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Community School District
Kansas - Wellington High School
Kentucky - Eastern Kentucky University
Louisiana - Scotlandville Magnet High School
Maine - Kents Hill School
Maryland - North County High School
Massachusetts - Sparhawk School
Michigan - Hillel Day School of Metro Detroit
Minnesota - Princeton Public Schools
Mississippi - Madison Career and Technical Center
Missouri - Kirksville Area Technical Center
Montana - Stillwater Christian School
Nebraska - Heritage Lake Academy
Nevada - Discovery Charter School Las Vegas
New Hampshire - Central High School
New Jersey - The College of New Jersey
New Mexico - Mountain View Middle School
New York - United Nations International School
North Carolina - Rockingham Middle School
North Dakota - North Star School
Ohio - Hilliard Weaver Middle School
Oklahoma - Tri County Technology Center
Oregon - Taft High School 7-12
Pennsylvania - Preston Area School
Rhode Island - St. Michael's Country Day School
South Carolina - Sugar Creek Elementary
South Dakota - Vermillion High School
Tennessee - Harriman High School
Texas - Klein Independent School District
Utah - M Lynn Bennion Elementary School
Vermont - Lyndon Institute
Virginia - Loudoun Academy of Science
Washington - Tacoma Science and Math Institute (SAMi)
West Virginia - Wheeling Country Day School
Wisconsin - BadgerBOTS
Wyoming - Little Snake River Valley Schools

Pre-Order Your X-Controller Today!

The Inventables X-Controller is available for pre-order today!

The X-Controller is high-power motion controller for your CNC machine. It’s not only more powerful than entry-level controllers, but in our experience, it’s also more reliable. The X-Controller uses large removable terminal blocks and an aluminum enclosure to keep electronics protected and the wiring clean.

X-Controller pre-orders will begin shipping by January 31st. Hurry! Inventables only has 400 available in our first production run, so don’t miss out!  The second production run is expected to arrive in April 2016.

Here is a quick list of specifications for why you would consider getting this product.

  1. First is the power: (4) 4A stepper drivers. The gshield has three 1.5A drivers (Y axis has 2 ganged drivers for X-Carve type machines). This gives 1 more powerful driver to each stepper motor compared to a gshield.
  2. Micro Stepping (Full through 1/16th) the gshield supports 1/8th.
  3. Easy current adjustment via large, well-marked potentiometers
  4. Automatic idle current reduction independent for each axis
  5. Internal 24V 400W power supply for stepper motors.  This cleans all the electronics up to one simple box.
  6. Large internal heatsink and integrated cooling fan keeps system cool at all power loads.  We haven't been able to overheat it yet.  With the gshield sometimes you get erratic behavior on really long carves or if you are pumping a lot of current through and the chips overheat.
  7. Spindle speed control (0-5VDC PWM or 0-10V)
  8. Noise-filtered inputs for 3 axis home/limit switches
  9. Noise-filtered input for Z probe/touch plate
  10. 2 digital outputs to control external items like vacuums and coolant systems
  11. All inputs and outputs have their own ground terminals for clean and easy wiring.
  12. Rugged latching E-Stop that kills all power
  13. Feedhold, Cycle Start and Reset (Motion Cancel) buttons on front side
  14. All electrical interfaces use large, detachable terminal blocks. On the gshield the wires are screwed in and can come loose with excessive vibration.
  15. Heavy aluminum chassis with mounting holes keeps debris away from electronics.
  16. You can upgrade your stepper motors to Inventables 262oz/in NEMA 23's or bigger ones that have even more torque to make use of the 4A.
In summary it is more powerful and designed to be more robust. The result of using it is you can remove more material faster, with smoother motion, and you are less likely to have a failure due to wiring connection issues, overheating, or the gshield unseating from the Arduino.
An over simplified analogy might be replacing a V4 engine with a V8.

Crain's Book of Lists 3D Project

Back in 2014, Crain’s Chicago Business chose Inventables CEO Zach Kaplan as one of their 40 under 40. This is Crain’s annual honor that highlights Chicago’s most influential entrepreneurs and executives. Pretty cool, right?

Each year, Crain’s publishes a Book of Lists full of company data and contacts. For 2016, they wanted to create a symbolic 3D object to represent the book. They came straight to Zach to make their carving dreams a reality.

Zach showed Crain’s graphic designer Karen Freese and freelance graphic designer Jenna Blazevich how to use Carvey to create their vision. Using white Corian and walnut as the base of the cube, they carved the sides to represent the Table of Contents and back page of Crain’s Book of Lists.

Read the full article and watch the awesome minute long timelapse video here.

More Holiday Cheer!

You can tell the holidays are just around the corner with all the holiday cheer that’s pouring in from our tip jar contest!

Check out these five projects that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit!

Christmas Spider

There is a German and Ukrainian legend that states, if you cannot find a real spider in your Christmas tree, then you must hang a spider ornament in its place. With this legend in mind, that is precisely what maker Shalee Sykes did. Using Easel and hard maple, Shalee was able to carve this delicate and beautiful ornament to hang on his tree. If you want to hear more about the Christmas spider, read the whole legend on Shalee’s page!

Santa Hat Candy Dish

This adorable Santa hat candy dish is the perfect addition to any holiday party! Just try not to eat all the candy before your guests arrive. Brian Saban used white Corian to carve the base of the hat, then lined it with fun red and white felt to make the hat come to life!  

Monogram Christmas Tree

These monogram Christmas trees would make a stunning centerpiece for any holiday gathering! Maker Patrick Brown used Easel and MDF wood to create both the trees and the stands. Once the trees have been assembled, you can spray paint them green, gold or any color in between!

Wooden Marble Game

Check out this beautifully carved three in one game set, with all pieces stored in one convenient box! Joshua Blom used Easel to create the intricate designs of the games, which he then carved into two pieces of hard maple with a thin piece of walnut in between. Just in case the Inventables team wanted to play some games, he even put the instructions to all three marble games at the end of his project page!

Acrylic Christmas Tree

Maker Joseph Smith has created a project that is sure to brighten your holidays! He used  PVC to cut the cylindrical base, then carved a relief around the inner-edge for the LED lights.  Joesph used clear acrylic to create the top and bottom interlocking pieces of the tree. Once assembled, plug in and enjoy your the holiday magic!

Thanks to everyone who has made this holiday decoration contest a success! Happy holidays from the whole Inventables team!    

Holiday Contest Entries

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s another Inventables contest going on. But this time instead of Halloween decorations, it’s holiday decorations! Bet you couldn’t have guessed that one.

This contest is open to those who celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and every holiday in between. We’ve already gotten five awesome entries and we’re excited for more to come!

Snowflake Decoration

This delicate and charming snowflake decoration is brought to you by our wonderful Canadian friend, Rusty (yes, the same Rusty who ran the Halloween contest). Rusty used a ⅛” endmill to precisely carve his snowflake out of MDF. Once the snowflake had been sanded, primed and painted...ta-da! Rusty had created the first contest entry.

Christmas Tree Tray

Looking for a table topper that will wow your family and friends this season? Maker Jeff Parish has got you covered. Jeff used pine to create the base of this holiday tray and MDF for the thin border, which he later painted green. Once the two pieces have been assembled, it’s time to decorate. By placing an LED light in the center of the tray and filling it with candy or flowers, you are able to instantly create the most perfect centerpiece for any holiday party!

Gift Card Holder

This gift card holder by Steven Paxman is that perfect extra something to make giving a gift card a little more special. Steve made this custom walnut gift card holder by milling it in two parts on his X-Carve. After the holder is carved, it needs to be sanded and glued. Then, it’s time for the best part - the gift giving!

Stitched Plywood Icosahedron Holiday Ornament

This may be one of the most unique, yet awesome, contest entries we have ever seen! Nick Homrich stitched together pieces of birch plywood to create this fashionable and modern 20 sided icosahedron holiday ornament. Each piece of plywood has 15 holes drilled into it, which means Nick drilled a total of 450 holes...wow! Nick also recommends using it as a base for a lamp once the holidays are over. Pretty cool, huh?

Snowman Decoration

These decorative snowmen are the perfect holiday project for anyone. Allen Massey designed the snowmen in Easel, and then carved them into red oak. Once the snowmen have been cut, it’s time to personalize! You can can paint them or carve dates and names into them. The possibilities are endless.

Winners will be announced on December 21st, which means there is still time to submit an entry! Visit our forum for all the official rules and details.