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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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Making wood inlays using Easel + Shapeoko

Video blogger David Picciuto, aka The Drunken Woodworker, just published an awesome video detailing how to go from design to a finished beautiful wood inlay piece using Easel and a stock Shapeoko. Check it out!


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Inventory Count Day at Inventables

We're improving the way we do inventory at Inventables!  Today we shut down shipping operations temporarily while we do a full physical inventory! Our team is hard at work counting every last item in our warehouse.

What's the point??  We are working to improve our inventory system so we can keep the things you need in stock. Step one is to make sure our physical inventory matches the count on our website. Here is a glimpse inside of this detailed process.




Each product gets one of these little pink labels.


Wyatt, our Fulfillment Manager, counting his way through our large selection of wood.

The quantity of each product is recorded...



...not once, but twice! A second person follows behind and counts again to double check the first count.  When they are done a completed pink label like this is added to the shelf.



Each completed pink label brings us one step closer to keeping your items in stock.
As you can see, we are already making great progress! As soon as we are done, shipping will resume.

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