2015 Inventables Black Friday Deal

Deal #1
X-Carve has been our most popular 3D carving machine ever, thanks to you guys! Buy any X-Carve and receive $100 off!

Deal #2
Many of you folks already have an X-Carve.  We wanted to do something special for you too.  Spend $50 or more (not including shipping) on anything in our store (including X-Carve) and receive a $50 gift certificate to Inventables!  Gift cards will be emailed out next Tuesday, December 1st for all qualifying orders.  Gift certificate is no longer valid if the initial order is returned. Limit one per customer.

This offer is too good to miss!

Inventables' Black Friday Deal Starts Early!

At Inventables, we do a Black Friday deal for our customers as a small way of saying thanks for all your support. We've been getting calls, emails, and forum posts asking when the deal will start this year. We decided we should leave that up to all of you guys! So we put it to a vote on the Inventables community forum, and the people have spoken - our Black Friday deal will start at the stroke of midnight tonight!

Makers Spotlight: Pam Daniels & Brandon Williams

Pam and Brandon met at Northwestern University while both pursuing their master's degrees in design. They now own the design practice of Welcome Industries, where they work as designers, entrepreneurs and educators.

Pam and Brandon currently live at Northwestern University where they are designers in residence. Here they teach students using an active design practice at the Segal Design Institute on Northwestern’s campus.

Pam and Brandon are associated with Catalyze Chicago, as well as  Design House Chicago, a nonprofit where Pam is a co-founder.

Inventables asked Pam and Brandon to use our new easy to use 3D carving machine, Carvey, to create a project that would demonstrate its capabilities. They decided to develop a lighting concept that would, “focus on what a mill can do that an average laser cutter can’t”.

Pam and Brandon chose to shine a spotlight on how Carvey’s smaller bed size is not a limitation, but rather, a way to expand your imagination. For example, by cutting holes on each side of copper and brass sheets and then creating cylinders out of the flat metal, they were able to add an element of height to their lamp.  

To make the foundation of their lamp unique, while also showcasing the features of Carvey, Pam and Brandon designed a teardrop base with inlay pockets. The bases were carved using flame maple and walnut, in a series of sequenced steps with different files and end mills.

To enhance the beauty of the wood, Pam and Brandon extended a colorful cloth cord through a shallow channel in each lamp.

Pam and Brandon did an outstanding job in showing all that Carvey is capable of doing. Our hope is other makers will become inspired by their cylindrical desk lamp, and visit our project page to find more great ideas to make on Carvey.

Production Validation Phase for Carvey has Begun!

This past Friday, we had the first production models come off the line at our contract manufacturer’s facility. These first few production units were shipped out to a small group of local testers to go through a production validation phase. This process is meant to expose any problems that could work themselves into the machines during assembly on the production line. This includes uncovering things like assembly tolerance issues, making sure all correct parts are included in the assembly, identifying any defective electronics or wiring issues and so on. It is an important step towards finalizing the production line process and determining how machines will be QC’d before being shipped out to customers.

Carvey in the assembly line 
Carvey in the assembly line
We of course wish we could say the very first production units were flawless, but so far we have uncovered a few areas that need to be addressed. These include updating some of the production drawings to show correct placement of things like warning labels and serial number plates, and in one case, replacing an older version of a plate with the newest revision. We also identified a tolerance issue with the acrylic used in the door panels. We scraped the ones that came in from China.  We have three domestic sources making them with higher tolerances, at a higher cost, and with a much quicker lead time. This will improve the fit of the panels into the frame on all production units we ship to you.

Carvey door frame before windows are installed 
Carvey door frame before windows are installed
We know everyone has been waiting a long time and is anxious to have shipments begin. We are almost there! We are trying our best to deliver you a Carvey that you will LOVE. We need just a little bit more time to iron out these last few details. Our best case estimate at this point is that we can begin shipping out finalized production units to customers within 2 - 4 weeks. This doesn't mean everyone will get theirs in 2-4 weeks it means we can start shipping orders.

#24 waiting to go to the test bay 
#24 waiting to go to the test bay
 Thank you for your extended patience and sticking with us!

Zach and the Inventables Team

Updates to the Easel interface

Hi there Easel users! You might have noticed that Easel looks a little different today. We’ve made some adjustments to the interface and I wanted to explain what’s new.

Along with a few visual tweaks, the main changes are to the toolbar at the top. Here’s what it looks like now:

With these changes, we wanted to:
1. Make it easier to adjust important settings like material, bit size, and material dimensions.
2. Lay the groundwork for more precise cut settings based on the combination of material and bit.

You’ll notice that we’ve added a second level toolbar, with design components on the left, and project-specific settings on the right. Material and bit size are the most important factors for any project, so it made sense to make these prominent and easy to change.

Material dimensions are also now set independently of the material, so if you set specific dimensions, then change the material type, the dimensions will stay the same.

Feed rate and depth per pass have been moved into this Cut Settings dropdown. You can use our recommended settings or set your own custom values.

Currently, the recommended settings for each material are general values that should work with a variety of bits. Over time, we’ll be making these values more precise, and have been testing a variety of bit/material combinations to determine the settings that work best.

Take a look and let us know what you think!

3 Simple Holiday Projects

We all know the holidays can be stressful. However, it’s important to make some time for yourself. These three holiday projects are not only fun, they’re also quick and easy, leaving plenty of ‘me time’. We think that’s a pretty great combo.

Rustic Holly Block Stamp
This rustic holiday stamp was made from three pieces of MDF wood. Just carve the blocks and sand them lightly, then you’re ready to stamp! Using a registration tool (see project page for details) while printing will allow you to make sure your stamps stay aligned and in place. This simple stamp can be used on any medium to create holiday cheer throughout your home!

Snowman Decoration
This snowman is a great holiday project because it is quick, easy and versatile! Use Easel to recreate this snowman, or design your own holiday figure, and carve it onto any material. You could use basic oak plywood and paint it for a nice finish, or use blue glitter acrylic to create a sparkling snow feel. Anyway you twist it, you’re sure to impress!

“Do Not Open” Stamp
Instead of telling your loved ones over and over again not to open their gifts early, why not stamp it? This stamp was designed in Easel and then carved into a linoleum block with X-Carve. This Do Not Open Stamp is a clever and kind little way to decorate your gifts this holiday season.

Inventables Black Friday Deal 2016 is Coming

We have a Black Friday deal coming. There will be something for new customers and existing customers. We debated for a long time about what it should be. This has been our most successful year ever and we wanted a way to say thank you to everyone who supported us and at the same time do something to attract new people to join the community. We wanted to give people a heads up early that something is coming.  Thank you so much for all your support this year.

Core77 Gift Guide

With the holiday season just around the corner, the Inventables team was honored to be featured in this year's Core77 Gift Guide!

The X-Carve was placed into the “make your own damn gift, guide” category, which is perfect for us! As the gift guide states, the X-Carve is “a little routing here, a little milling there. Oh look! I made my niece a chair”.

Check out Inventables.com to see what other machines, materials and ideas we have to offer!

3 Awesome Gadgets You Can Make Instead Of Buy

The latest gadgets and accessories can be tempting, but as our mother always told us, ‘money doesn’t grow on trees. Even if money isn’t the issue, consider the fact that making things is well, fun. Below are three awesome ideas from the Inventables project page to get your creative juices flowin’! These projects are sure to inspire you and have your friends asking, ‘where did you buy that and how can I get one!?’

1. iPhone Case

Instead of buying an expensive iPhone 6 case that would go out of style in a week, Jeremy Richards decided to carve one himself. First, Jeremy used HDPE to create a sturdy fixture that would hold his material in place. Jeremy suggests using a sturdy material, like HDPE, so you are able to use this fixture repeatedly. Then, by placing his piece of walnut (or other material of your choosing) into the fixture, he was ready to design and build his case with X-Carve! Let's see Apple make a personalized wooden case.

2. Passive Amplifier for your iPhone

Most iPhone players require you to be near an outlet in order for the product to work. Who wants to spend their life sitting by an outlet? Not Warren Downes. Using the aligning tool on Easel, Warren combined circles of various sizes and depths to make a cone that amplifies sound. How cool! His final passive amplifier can be found on his project page, along with his awesome YouTube video that describe how to create and align the circles.

3. MDF Laptop Stand

This innovative laptop stand is brought to you by a fellow Inventable, Paul Kaplan. Paul used Easel to create the unique design for his laptop stand. The stand is held together by interlocking shapes Paul carved out of blue MDF. Pretty cool, huh?

The Beginners Guide to 3D Carving

3D Carving: This is a term I am now able to explain to my friends and family, but up until September 2015, I unsure of its exact meaning. However, that all changed when Inventables decided to hire me as their marketing intern.

3D Carving may seem intimidating, like something the average person could never do. Well I’m here to tell you that that is most certainly not true. I am living proof.

In case you haven’t heard, Inventables is launching their new 3D Carving machine, Carvey. This sparked my interest because Cavey is targeted towards a demographic that may have little to no experience with 3D Carving machines, which was essentially me.

My first step toward becoming a Carvey master was to take a user test. Two members of the Inventables team, who are highly skilled in Carvey, conducted the user test. I was asked to download the Carvey Easel software, screw in the bit, and finally complete the pre-set user project.

I was able to do this all in record time! Just kidding, it took me about 30-35 minutes to complete this process. However, I did learn some valuable things about Carvey and myself.

  • Play around - Part of the learning experience is trying
  • Try try again - You’re not going to get everything perfect on your first try
  • It’s not that complicated - it may look slightly daunting when you open first open it, but you just gotta dive in
  • Most importantly - If I can do it, you can do it

Here is the result from my pre-set user project, not too shabby!
Stay tuned for the next step in my Carvey experience…my first real project!

Jewelry Kickstarter for Carvey

Carvey is Inventables newest 3D carving machine that allows anyone to become a maker.
We know making can be difficult, but now it doesn’t have to be with Carvey’s enhanced features.
  • Arrives pre-assembled allowing you to go from idea to project more quickly
  • Works with Inventables free and easy to use software, Easel
  • Fully enclosed frame allowing Carvey to be quiet and clean
  • Works with a wide variety of materials

Now that you’ve had your little refresher course on Carvey, time to meet Inventables team member and jewelry maker, Alex Berger. Alex tells us that she really likes Carvey, “because it’s something enclosed and quiet. It’s a little more friendly for doing work at home”.

Here at Inventables, we want to inspire other makers to turn their ideas into realities. We believe that Carvey is just the thing to get this movement started. Whether you have 20 years of carving experience or absolutely none, Carvey is for you.

Take a look at the three beautiful jewelry projects Alex has made on the X-Carve or Carvey and find your inner jewelry maker!

Padauk Earrings - Thin padauk hardwood on top a white acrylic

Inlay Necklaces - Wenge and cherry wood inlaid with sparkly aluminum

Wood Cuff Bracelet with Inlay - Wenge inlaid with glitter acrylic

Makers Spotlight: Steve Carmichael

Steve Carmichael from Lawrenceville Georgia has arguably created one of the coolest projects we have ever seen with X-Carve: a working electric guitar. Steve used his X-Carve to make the guitar’s body, neck, fretboard and fret slot inlays. What makes Steve’s project unique is that it combines the precision of an X-Carve with the delicacy of handwork.

The first step in creating this rockstar guitar was to carve the body. Using Easel to design the outline and inner cavities of the body, Steve then used his X-Carve to carve the body out of birch.

Once the carving of the guitar's body was complete, it was onto the neck and fretboard. Instead of using birch again, Steve decided to shake things up and throw hard maple into the mix. He was able to carve the neck of the guitar in one carving session but had to divide the fret slots and fretboard into two different carving sessions.

Next, Steve carved ten ¼ inch markers and ten ⅛ inch markers out of walnut. He used CA glue to install the ¼ inch markers into the front of the neck. To insert the ⅛ inch markers, Steve drilled ⅛ inch holes in the top side of the neck and used glue to secure them.

It was now time to sand the desired radius onto the fretboard, but being the awesome maker Steve is, he certainly did not sacrifice quality. Rather than simply buying a radius sanding block, Steve made his very own 12-inch sanding block and even attached the easel project to his project page!

After attaching the guitar’s neck to its body and installing the frets, bridge, and tuning pegs by hand, Steve had finally completed his incredible blue electric guitar.

See all of Steve’s amazing projects on the Inventables project page and his website The Carmichael Workshop!

Inventable's Maker Spotlight: Brian Wildman

I was recently introduced to a wildman...Brian Wildman, that is. Brian is what some may call a triple threat when it comes to the woodworking community. Aside from being a loving father, Brian is a maker, has a DIY YouTube channel, and runs his personal website, The Wildman Project.

Brian has now made several projects and posted them on his Inventables project page. His first project was this decorative wine cork holder. Brian used MDF wood and flat black paint to create the cork holder. It’s a great way to customize any kitchen!

Brian’s second project came about how many great things come about, by random chance. Brian told us, “The puzzle idea came about one day after my youngest was playing with some other puzzles. I was like…’I can make a puzzle on the CNC!’”

Brian used two pieces of baltic birch plywood and a fish tail, 2 flute, spiral bit to create his numbers puzzle.

We loved Brian’s puzzle so much, we asked him to make another one for Carvey! In order to make his new numbers puzzle Carvey ready, he changed the dimensions of his project to 8in x 12in. He also chose to swap out the birch plywood for bamboo plywood for an even more polished finish.

Brian’s work has been a great addition to our project section, and hopefully an inspiration to all the other makers out there. If you’re looking for more great project ideas, check out our full project collection here!