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Showing posts from November, 2013

Inventables Holiday Gift Guide

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or our holiday gift guide this year, the Inventables team decided to take a look at inspirational and fun designs from elsewhere, in addition to favorites from our own shelves. We hope you find something perfect for that maker in your life!


From our catalog:

Fourteen piece hobby knife set, $20 at Inventables
A good hobby knife set is used nearly every day by some makers, and this kit is intended for just that. You get two grips, one larger and one for precision work. And a wide assortment of blades for pretty much every type of job- cutting paper, whittling wood, cutting traces on a circuit board, fabric and leather work...

Electric Paint Pen, $9.99 at Inventables
These conductive paint pens allow you to draw circuits on paper, fabric or skin, cold-solder components, and repair PCBS. Yes, for real! They're great for teaching and playing with electrical principles or quick prototyping of simple circuits.
Plus, it's skin-safe and water soluble. Works with electrical components, e-…

New Cool Tools Catalog Out!

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If you're not familiar with the Cool Tools blog, I recommend you check it out. It was started ~10 years ago by Kevin Kelly, who was the founding executive editor of Wired magazine and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth catalog.



They just published a printed catalog and it's a great compendium of the last 10 years of the blog. The tools are all recommended and reviewed by people who use them, and there's inspiring projects and useful tips and tricks on every page.

Covering topics from hand tools to adhesives, organizational oddments, bicycles that double as chainsaws, beer brewing, mushroom growing, milling and fabricating, and so much more, it's enough to make your brain hurt with all the ideas for projects.

Inventables has a very nice shout-out on page 18, much thanks to our customers who wrote the reviews!

You can get the printed catalog here (highly recommended!) and submit your own reviews and recommendations for tools on the Cool Tools blog.

Shapeoko 2 Shipping Dates

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Shapeoko 2 Shipping Update:

Our kitmaker is reporting that everything is on schedule and looking great for our projected December 21st shipping date on the first 495 pre-orders!

For pre-orders 496 and above, we've got a projected date of January 19th. The reason for the slight delay on the second batch is that we didn't foresee how excited everyone would be over this little kit, and that  we honestly thought it would take longer to sell out of our first batch. We're happy to be proven incorrect on that and have launched into action to make sure there's as little delay as possible.

As soon as we realized Shapeoko 2 was going to way more popular than anything we've ever done before, we placed an order immediately for another, larger batch of Shapeoko 2 kits. And since we've got the whole process figured out from the first batch, we're keeping our fingers crossed that there are zero shipping or out-of-stock part hiccups on the second.

Regardless, we'll con…

New Kits And Tools For Clean, Easy Wiring

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I am a huge fan of good wiring and doing it right.  We thought it would great to get some affordable starter kits that contain all the basic stuff you need to do great wiring job. We have selected the some of the most popular items and put them in well organized kits.  We also sell refill packs if you run out of one of the types.

Header ConnectorsCrimping ToolConnector and Contact Kit Header connectors are all over the place.  Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone and just about every CNC controller has them.



Often projects come with connectors and contacts, but how does the average person use these?  A lot of people try crimping with needle nose pliers.  With practice you can get a reasonable crimp that way, but often the shape is distorted and the pin does not fit or latch in the connector well.  To do it right you need a real crimper




Header connectors come in pin (male) and socket (female) varieties.  Most controllers primarily have female connectors.  These work well with shields an…

Milling aluminum with the Shapeoko 2

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We get a lot of questions asking whether one can mill aluminum with the Shapeoko 2. I'd like to definitively answer that with a resounding "Yes!"

If you'd like to make it yourself, the files and instructions are here. In this blog post I'll be discussing more of the technical details and issues I encountered. Here's a brief video documenting the process:



 The inspiration: I saw some designs online for a bottle opener with nice wood cutouts on the handle and thought I'd make my own using the Shapeoko.

I drew the outlines using Adobe Illustrator and used Makercam.com to generate the toolpaths. Here are the settings I used:



We had some of this 1/8" aluminum plate in stock that works well for milling. I also selected some 1/8" walnut for the handle.

For the milling bit, I used the single-flute spiral upcut bit that comes in our end mill bits starter pack. That's what everyone who pre-ordered a Shapeoko will be using so I thought I'd put it t…