Inventables, Shapeoko and science education!

The “unexpected properties” of many products available at Inventables are useful in communicating scientific principles and the process of inquiry into science.  The Materials Research Laboratory at the University of California Santa Barbara hosted a science teacher workshop in spring of 2012 to present curriculum projects  developed with local teachers.   Inventables products relating to “wearable materials”, “photonic crystals” and “graphene” were highlighted as part of a “materials for inquiry” session.  These products included temperature sensitive cloth, conductive textiles, suction cup tape, non-slip surface, super absorbent fibers, phase change materials, radiant light film, shape memory polymer and conductive paint!   For more information and for lesson ideas visit:

Desktop manufacturing and "materials for inquiry":

Desktop manufacturing presents an outstanding opportunity to engage young scholars into scientific discovery.  The MRL education outreach program is currently exploring how the Shapeoko desktop cnc can assist our mission to improve access to science for diverse groups and build a competent work force of scientists and engineers.  We expect many great projects and an early example is in “soft robotics” for the classroom.  Soft robotics is an exciting field pioneered by the George Whitesides group at Harvard.  Using shapeoko and a software workflow using “Meshcam Art” we have been able to achieve good results in large part thanks to the hard work by the folks at Inventables!  In addition to the Shapeoko we are using “Easily machinable wax” for the molds and “silicone rubber”  for the robots themselves (see pictures).  Much more to come eventually on our “resources for teacher” webpage!

Our 2013 science teacher workshop will utilize hand moldable plastic among other very interesting materials, for a sneak peek visit High School teacher Chuong Vu’s curriculum highlights page (more to come).

Cheers to the great efforts of the Inventables team in support of science in particular Zach Kaplan, Edward Ford and Phil Lomac!

Renegade Holiday Market Highlights!

This weekend I was lucky enough to make it to the Renegade Holiday Market in Chicago. The biannual Renegade Craft Fairs are a great place to see what is trending in the handmade community. As always there were some very interesting and innovative artists!

Bird of Virtue  is a San Francisco based design studio run by Linnea Oliver. These intricate and beautiful deigns are created by layering laser cut wood. She adds a touch of hand painted color to give them a striking and dynamic look. Her work is available for purchase here

How cool are these cactus platers by The Plaid Pigeon!? I think these are the perfect gift for anyone young at heart and can water a plant once every two months. These guys and there friends are available for purchase here.

Wood Thumb presented ties and bow ties crafted from reclaimed redwoods from Northern California. I also love the styling of there laser cut ornaments! These guys have made it clear that wearing wood is going to be a huge trend! There products are available here!


Uncommon Handmade offers darling clocks and decor for your home. The intricate yet simple laser cut designs maximize the beauty in natural and hand painted wood. They offer a lot of other great stuff on their Etsy!

I hope you found these artist inspired you to create your own work! Inventables.com has the material and machines you need to start your own artistic venture! 

The Woodflex Series by Antoine Tesquier Tedeschi

Antoine Tesquier Tedeschi has used the living hinge to laser cut a clock, a pen holder and a coat rack out of birch wood board. The living hinge is a pattern that makes a stiff material like wood or acrylic bendable.  You can get all the supplies to create your own objects with the living hinge here

Inventables Catalog?

We are trying to decide if we should make a 12 page catalog for our customers.  What do you think?

Cast your vote here: 

Hyper Sea by Christa Pisto

 Hyper Sea is hand crocheted with various types of yarn and low-current LED wire by artist and crater, Christa Pisto. This intricate landscape is composed of 16 free-handed pieces that took Pisto over five months to put together.  It is currently being displayed at Redline Gallery in Denver, Colorado.

Pisto told us, "I crochet all kinds of things like scarfs, afghans and AmigurumiI just recently started free form pieces like the coral reef and I love it.  I did not follow any patterns in this piece it is all free form. I love mixing the lights with the fiber and the ones I got worked so perfect I could not believe it!"

Thank you for reading! 

Happy designing, 

Interview with Glen Liberman

Today I got to interview the New York based designer, Glen Liberman, the founder of Kinekt Design and Kinektron.

 Kinekt Design is behind the patented Gear Ring is made from high quality matte stainless steel. It features micro-precision gears that turn in unison when the outer rims are spun (as can be seen in the video).

What is the name of your company and what do you do?

Glen Liberman: I have two companies - Kinekt Design, which focuses on interactive jewelry and Kinektron, which focuses on electronic musical instruments. I also just launched a small online Shop as a side project, which features more of my personal design work. I'm the creative director of both companies, if I had to give myself a title.


From a quick look a your site it looks like you've worked on some pretty cool projects. What projects are you most proud of?

Glen Liberman: I'm very proud of Kinekt Design's Gear Ring as many people have really taken quite a liking to it. I did not expect the response that it has received from the general public. I'm also proud of the song I composed for Toyota, as it was the first time in my life that my creativity had been confirmed. However, each project I've worked on offers a little view to a much bigger picture.

Founding a company takes courage, what inspired you to get started?

Glen Liberman: I had a lot of difficulty fitting into the role of a student or an employee. I think that I simply needed to find my own way as opposed to fitting into a mold. One of my greatest inspirations was the concept of making myself and having the chance to succeed on my own terms.

What kind of tools or machines do you use to create your products? What kinds of materials do you use?

Glen Liberman: When I got started developing ideas and products, I did a lot of 3D printing and laser-cutting. However, more recently I have sort of reverted back to more simplified methods such as paper folding and constructing with cardboard. It's inexpensive and hands on, so you can really feel the design. I also use wood when cutting machines / tools are available to me. But to be quite honest, the most powerful and useful tool I own is my imagination.

These new low-cost digital fabrication tools like laser cutters are pretty exciting. How do you see this changing product design in the next 5-10 years?

Glen Liberman: Product design will never be easy, but I do think that it will enable a lot of individuals to start experimenting and playing around with different materials and methods. It really evens out the playing field between the individual and the corporation.

Before we sign off today, tell us what you are most excited about.

Glen Liberman: I'm excited about sharing my ideas with those who are interested and intrigued, but even more so, I'm passionate about inspiring others to take the same steps I did to find true happiness and success in their lives.

Thanks for reading! You can buy Glen Liberman personal work here.

High Fashion: Laser Cut

These wood wedges by Jill Sander are a great example of how laser cutting technology can be incorporated into high fashion. The shoe looks like a piece of nature washed ashore, driftwood topped with bubbles of seaweed.
They are $1,240 at Jill Sander stores. 

a soft pink laser-cut gown that encircled the body like layers of delicate Mille-feuille

Giles Deacon's  horses around London Fashion Week S/S 2013

Shattered glass in some form appeared on nearly every piece in the collection - it made the shape of artfully laser-cut detailing on white and leather dresses; as a graphic print on trousers, tops, skirts and trousers; as delicate jewels embroidered into bodices; and perhaps, most beautiful of all, as iridescent crystals encrusted into dresses - both short and floor-length - to create the illusion of a fractured pane, highlighting what looked like hundreds of shimmering shards.

Free Hand Laser Cutting!

This awesome video is a glimpse into the future of laser cutting. Being able to free hand draw on the machine can really open laser cutter technology to artists and others who may not be familiar or comfortable drawing on the computer. 

Constructable is an interactive drafting table that produces precise physical output in every step. Users interact by drafting on the workpiece using a hand-held laser pointer. The system tracks the pointer and implements its effect by cutting the workpiece using a high-powered and fast laser cutter.

More Information: http://www.hpi.uni-potsdam.de/baudisch/projects/constructable.html

Constructable is a research project by
Stefanie Mueller, http://www.stefaniemueller.org
Pedro Lopes, http://www.plopesresearch.net
Patrick Baudisch, http://www.patrickbaudisch.com
Hasso Plattner Institute, Germany

4 Products You Probably Didn't Know Were Laser Cut!

Here are 4 projects that I bet you didn't know were laser cut or had laser cut parts. These great designs show how elegant and professional laser cut pieces can be.

1. Pythagoras Chair by Sander Mulder

Inspired by Origami techniques from the past, a plain sheet of aluminum is laser cut, and then bend into the final product. Made up from only 3 different parts, this chair displays furniture design in its purest form. A powder coat finish is used to finalize the aesthetic and structural characteristics.

2. Coil Lamp by Craighton Berman

The entire lamp is created exclusively from a 100 foot extension cord that has been wrapped around a laser-cut clear acrylic form. Coil Lamp is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is featured in "Rethinking Typologies" running March 3–July 29, 2012. Coil Lamp is available for purchase in two forms: Handmade & DIY Kit.

3. Big Bold by Roderick Vos for Moooi

The Moooi Big Bold Candelabra was developed as a result of designer Roderick Vos' fascination with laser cutting technology. The main form is cut out of sheet steel and powder-coated in a deep and dramatic Black finish. At more than three feet tall, it is big and bold indeed. Candles included. Part of the Moooi Accessory collection.

4. Wülf Wallets by Wülf .  These wallets have been laser cut, polished, and stitched.  Laser cutting is more expensive per wallet, however, it allows for greater flexibility in prototyping and the laser can brand and cut the wallet in one go. There are also aesthetic pros resulting from the use of a laser cutter, such as cleaner edges.

Thanks for reading! I hope these projects have inspired you to create and design!

Good designing!!



Look! We were just awarded the FIRST Robotics Competition Gold Supplier Award! 

Laser Cut Projects: Buck Hook

Hello!  I've been working with Inventables to come out with a series of  laser cutter projects to show how fab lab processes can be used to take a boring product that you might find at the store and crete a version with a bit of design. We invite you to join in our efforts in creating thoughtful and innovative products! The second project in this design series is the Buck Hook.

The Buck Hook is made with with laser cut acrylic that has been heat bent. Heat bending is a great way to add dimension to your laser cut designs. 

Before heat bending                          After heat bending

Thanks for checking this project out! Tell us what you think about what we're making with the materials in the Inventables store. More projects to come!

Good designing!