Carvey passed the rigorous UPS shipping tests

This week, our Carvey update is all about packaging! You know that feeling you get when a package you've been waiting for arrives damaged? It’s not so fun. We realize if you waited this long for a Carvey and that happened, you’d be upset (and rightfully so). Our goal is to get Carvey to you safely and in excellent condition. To ensure this, we went through a very rigorous test defined by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). It's called Test Procedure 3A, and it's designed to challenge the strength of product packaging. I was explaining this to one of our backers, and he said, "Oh, the test must be like this!":

While a little different from the video above, the testing sequences are still pretty intense. They try to simulate worst case conditions as a package travels from our warehouse to your doorstep. They change the temperature, drop it 8 times from 18 inches and 1 time from 36 inches on each face of the package, vibrate it to simulate driving on a road, and then drop it 7 more times from 18 inches and one more time from 36 inches! 
It was very hard to do this test, and we couldn’t bear to watch it in person. We couldn't watch something we've worked so hard on go through that torture. It's just like eating your vegetables - sometimes you don't want to do it, but you know it's important. We knew that just like eating your vegetables it was important. 
When we got the first package back from the test it was pretty beat up on the outside. 

Dented corner after drop tests
Dented corner after drop tests
Surprisingly, we turned it on and everything worked. However, there were a few scuff marks and the acrylic on the front was cracked.

Cracked acrylic door after drop tests
Cracked acrylic door after drop tests
Our packaging engineer went back to the drawing board. We got some stronger cardboard for the exterior box, some additional foam for the inside, and some stretch wrap to prevent the door from opening or torquing during transit. 
This week we got notice that on the second attempt, we passed our UPS shipping test!

Carvey in perfect condition after the drop tests!
Carvey in perfect condition after the drop tests!
 When they opened the box, they found Carvey had been unscathed by the test.

Notice the new stretch wrap that keeps the door secure.
Notice the new stretch wrap that keeps the door secure.
 There were no cracks in the acrylic and no scuff marks on the machine.

It worked!
It worked!
Best of all, we powered it up and everything worked! We are now able to place our production order for packaging. We’re getting really close to being able to announce the date we will start shipping to all our awesome Kickstarter backers!  Right after that we'll be able to announce the date we will start shipping pre-orders.
Thanks for all your support!

Featured Project: Custom RC car parts by Chris de Graaf

Meet Chris de Graaf. He’s from Norway, and he makes cool stuff on his X-Carve.

Chris came up with the awesome idea to use the parts from two different RC cars to create one super car. Chris transformed the already popular Axial Yeti XL into “one of the craziest RC cars in the industry!”

Using his X-Carve, Chris built a new base to hold the two car halves together. He made the base from Delrin for sturdiness. He also built vertical carbon fiber upright supports for additional strength.

Chris was able to double the power of his original Axial Yeti XL by adding two motors, two transmission cases and four 3S batteries. What’s the only downside to this sweet project? Oh yea, we can’t drive it.

3 Awesome Ideas for Kids

Want to create a fun, but useful toy for the kids? Let the Inventables team help inspire you to make the best gift ever. Because why buy when you can make!

1. Connect Four Game

Make any night game night by carving your own game board! Check out this super awesome and portable Connect Four Game, crafted by Bob Clagett from ‘I Like To Make Stuff’. (View Project)

2. Personalized Puzzle

Looking for an educational gift? Teach the kiddos about numbers and shapes with a personalized puzzle. (View Project).

3. Dinosaur Bookend

Does the little one you know love to read? Keep their books upright with a dinosaur bookend. (View Project)

For more great ideas of what to make with X-Carve, visit the Inventables project page!

Carvey update - We've been testing how Carvey carves

This week we’re going to talk about speeds & feeds. If we do our jobs right, you won’t need to worry about them with Carvey. Allow us to explain the exciting things we’ve been working on:

At the end of the day we want you to have the best looking parts possible straight out of the machine. Sometimes, you might need to do a little sanding, but we are aiming to give you the best possible finish without much extra work.
In the Carvey Kickstarter campaign we talked about all the different materials you can use with Carvey. When we designed our Easel software we thought it would be good to have default carve settings built in for each one.
Traditionally, software and machines are optimized for flexibility rather than ease of use. Our goal with Carvey was to make 3D carving easy and intuitive.
Traditional machinists use the catchall term “speeds & feeds” to describe a set of interrelated variables, including how deep the bit will dig into the material, how quickly it moves at that depth, how fast the spindle is rotating, how many flutes the cutting bit has, and more. These are all taken into account to determine what the best settings are to produce a quality cut using a particular bit on a particular machine.
Carvey is for the modern maker. We want you focused on what you can make rather than on the technical details of operating the machine. Over the last few months, we’ve done a lot of testing with different bits, different materials, different speeds and different feed rates on Carvey. We learned that these settings matter a lot.
Machinists will often calculate these settings using a lookup table provided by the bit manufacturer, like this:

Machinist handbook 
Machinist handbook
It’s our goal to make sure you never have to look at a chart like that ever again. That’s why we built all of these technical calculations into the back-end of Easel. We have a new user interface designed (below) that will help step you through telling Easel what kind of material you are trying to, what type of bit, and then set the default technical settings like speeds and feeds. If you are an expert and want to experiment you can override the defaults.

New Easel user interface 
New Easel user interface
To arrive at the right settings for Carvey with all these materials, we didn’t just look up the numbers on a table and call it a day – we put it to hundreds (maybe thousands) of real-world tests. We’ve been testing every material type with every size bit we sell to make sure the settings in Easel will give you a great finish every time. Our software engineering team even wrote a small program to aid in the testing. This is an ongoing process that will improve over time as we do more testing, add more materials, and add more bits. It’s very important for us to get this right. Below is one of the many pieces we tested:

The end result is that we’ve got stacks and stacks of pieces of material with progressively deeper triangles cut into them, and spreadsheets of data that our software developers are building into Easel. This data helps us select the best settings for each material and bit type. Our software team even made a special testing app to make the process go faster.
Zach and the Inventables Team

3 Cool Halloween Projects + $50 Giveaway

Halloween is right around the corner. Let’s see what our Inventables community members are making with Easel and X-Carve that might spook the neighbors.

Festive Pumpkin Sign

Inventables customer Rusty made this Halloween project using Easel and X-Carve. The pumpkin was carved from MDF, then spray painted orange. We think it turned out great! (View project)

Trick-or-Treat Bag

Have the most stylish trick-or-treat bag on the block! Dynamic husband and wife duo Steve and Stephanie carved their own stamps using 3 pieces of MDF, one for each color of the pumpkin. Then they created a template to position those 3 stamps on the bag, achieving a block printing effect. Pretty awesome, huh? (View project)
Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 3.58.02 PM.pngScreen Shot 2015-10-14 at 3.56.40 PM.png

Window Decorations

How cool is this idea? Joseph Smith carved these spooky Halloween decorations from 2 color HDPE plastic. The top layer is black and the bottom layer is white.  He carved away the black to reveal the design.  Then, he strung lights around them to make the design pop.

2015-10-14 16_35_03-Halloween thoughts - Projects - Inventables Community Forum.png

Win $50 By Sharing Your Halloween Projects!

Yes, we’re looking at you. What Halloween project ideas have you been brewing up?

We gave forum member Rusty (yes, the same Rusty who made the awesome MDF pumpkin we just mentioned!) ten $50 Inventables gift cards to give away for other cool Halloween-themed X-Carve projects. See the full contest rules on our community forum. If you have ideas to share of what could be made please leave them in comments section below. Get involved and win some sweet sweet Halloween cash...if you dare.

Inventables Maker Spotlight: Bob Clagett

If you don't already know Bob Clagett, he's a great guy and sincere lead-by-example teacher in the Maker Community community. Bob wants to not only teach people how to make things, but also inspire them to follow their own curiosity. 

Bob Clagett is well-known for his how-to website and YouTube channel, 'I Like to Make Stuff'. On his sites, Bob posts step-by-step instructions on a wide variety of projects and topics meant for all skill levels.  

Bob stopped by our office for a tour a little while back:

And he's been working on some projects using his X-Carve!

Inventables 50 States Program - Round 2

We started with a dream.  Wow America responded! We got 534 schools that applied to the Inventables 50 States Program.  It shows the interest in 3D carving is exploding.

We got applications from every state in the Union!  We even got a few from Europe which was kinda funny.  The states people keep asking about are Alaska, Hawaii, and Rhode Island.  They all had great submissions!

As of today Round 2 of the selection process has officially begun. Inventables will be donating 3D carving machines to K-12, High Schools, Community Colleges and Universities in all 50 states.

We were blown away at how many people applied.  Your energy and effort on this project has been tremendous.  It really shows what we can do as a nation with a little bit of focused effort. We have decided to keep the momentum going and every school will advance to round 2.

Please submit your lesson plan explaining how you will incorporate the 3D carver into your curriculum. Please include a section on the outcomes you expect from implementing this curriculum. Use Easel, our free 3D carving software (www.easel.com) to draft at least 1 example project. In the file menu click the "share" option and paste the links to your projects in this form. For this round, all applicants must submit a lesson plan explaining how you will incorporate the 3D carver into your curriculum. Please include a section on the outcomes you expect from implementing this curriculum. Use Easel, our free 3D carving software (www.easel.com) to draft at least 1 example project. In the file menu click the "share" option to get a shareable link to your projects.

Please submit your lesson plan, expected outcomes and Easel projects here.

Official Contest Rules

Carvey + Easel Update

We are getting really close to shipping Carvey to all our Kickstarter backers. Our vendors are sending the remaining parts via air shipments, many of which are already en route. More details to come, along with the date we will start shipping (we need all the parts to arrive safely and pass inspection first).

We’ve given you a bunch of updates on the Carvey hardware lately. Meanwhile, our software engineering team has been working on Easel, the free software that controls Carvey. The tight integration between Easel and Carvey is what really makes the experience great.

Today, I’m going to give a quick update on their work and show a project that utilizes the new software features.

Easel App Store
Our engineering team spent a good portion of the summer building our own engine for Easel. They also built an API so third-party developers can make apps, and we rolled out a beta version of the Easel App Store. This has already yielded really helpful add-ons that can be used within Easel, like a box maker and an inlay generator. We’re excited to see how this will evolve. It takes Easel from a software tool to a software platform.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 10.57.58 PM.png

I decided to demonstrate how the Easel App Store works by using the Inlay Generator to make a baby name sign for a friend. I typed the name “Hudson” in Easel, selected the text, then opened the Inlay Generator in the App Store. It prompted me to set my bit size, and select a tolerance.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 11.00.54 PM.png

I carved the bottom layer of the sign from a ¾” piece of hardwood.
After I vacuumed this piece, I was ready to carve out the letters for the top layer of the sign from ½” thick hardwood. I got to use another new Easel feature, Interactive Tabs, for this step.

When cutting all the way through a material, like I wanted to for the letters, you can use things called “tabs” to hold the cut-out pieces in place. Tabs leave small, thin pieces of the material in tact around the perimeter, preventing the design from cutting out all the way and flying around inside your machine. Easel now allows you to choose the size and placement of tabs, so you can customize them for easy removal when you’re done carving.

You can see that the tabs prevented my letters from dislodging while being cut.

I removed the tabs, then sanded and painted the letters. Here is what the finished sign looked like; I hope he likes it!

A few folks were interested in what various parts look like coming out of the machine before finishing.  We’ve been testing a lot of different materials and bits over the last few months, and we have found the quality of the parts coming out of the machine with no sanding is highly dependant on the type of material and the type of bit that you use. In our next update, we will show pictures of the tests we’ve run.