Inventables announces Bart Dring’s retirement

When Bart was considering working at Inventables we met at Starbucks and he told me he was going to retire after Inventables in about 5 years.  I remember thinking “Yea that’s fine that’s a long time from now”.  I feel like I blinked and the day arrived.  Today is that day, and is with extremely warm wishes that I announce the retirement of Bart Dring.


A living legend in the Maker Movement, Bart played a pivotal role in growing Inventables from a “Hardware Store for Designers” where we were distributing other companies materials into a manufacturer where we made our own products.

It all started when Bart invented the MakerSlide. He had the idea that a low cost open source linear bearing for CNC equipment and extremely easy to integrate into your design could be helpful in a lot of applications. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign for Makerslide, Bart was selling MakerSlide out of his garage.

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Bart and I first met up at Maker Faire Detroit and he showed me the MakerSlide.  We continued talking and eventually we ran a pre-order campaign and we sold enough that if put end to end it would be as tall as the Sears Tower.  Below are some pictures from the day we shipped out that first batch.  We had to convince our landlord to let us use a vacant office in our building because the delivery was too big for our warehouse at the time.

As of June 8th 2017 we have sold enough to reach 106 Sears Towers!

In addition to MakerSlide Bart pioneered our flagship machines X-Carve, Carvey, X-Controller and components. It takes a village to design and manufacture a machine.  Today we want to recognize Bart’s vision, technical skill, great attitude, and commitment. He helped propel us to our present position in the industry.  This year Inventables customers will carve over 1 million times!
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His work has impacted our team, our customers, and the entire maker community.  There is only one word to describe Bart...awesome.

Bart is irreplaceable.  However, we worked on a transition plan. Brian Rutkowski a senior member of Bart’s team has stepped up to lead the Hardware Engineering team.  Our recruiting team has already begun work to recruit some additional engineering talent to join Inventables. In addition to Bart’s retirement we are proud to announce Bart will become an advisor to Inventables.  

Please join me in congratulating Bart on this exciting next phase of his life!

Check out our new look: Inventables Brand Revamp

We’re so excited to finally share our new brand identity with you! As you can see, this is a big change for us. We want to share some insights into what lead us to pursue an overhaul of our look.

Inventables was a much different company when our CEO, Zach Kaplan, founded it in 2002. Our first venture was in selling kits filled with inspirational and quirky materials to R&D departments. These kits roused people to create in new ways and build new products. While most of the items from these kits are no longer available, products like our Light Diffuser Films still live on as mementos of this phase of our company.

Seeing the cool products and ideas generated by our materials kits inspired our next chapter. We transitioned into selling 3D carving machines, like X-Carve and Carvey, and built our brand around the maker community. We developed Easel to make designing and carving intuitive and accessible to everyone. Expanding our vision allowed us to bring our machines, materials, and resources to a vibrant group of users, ranging from student to small business owner.

Our involvement in the maker community over the past few years expanded our knowledge about what’s possible. Working with you, our community, fundamentally changed the way we view ourselves as an organization.

We believe in focusing on you, the customer, rather than focusing on our product. We're working hard to continue making that shift. Educational classes like Easel Live allow us to share tutorials for makers of all skill levels and engage with users in real time. Our forum is filled with active users who support each other with projects, hacks, and suggestions. The Projects library showcases the wide variety of intriguing, beautiful, and fascinating things users make with our machines and materials.

As we continue focusing on your customer journey, we felt a new identity would solidify our values to the world. Our role in your personal journey inspired us to pursue the brand identity you see reflected on our new site.

Let’s break down what goes into our new look:

The most distinctive element of our visual identity system is our “Cube” symbol. The form is a direct reference to a cube drawn in three dimensions, referencing the three-dimensional outputs our tools and materials yield.

The three planes of the cube refer to the three aspects of our business (tools, materials, and community). The four lines on each plane symbolize the four steps on a maker’s journey: inspire, design, carve, and share.

Our color palette is warm and energetic, referencing the spark of inspiration and the creative fire of making. This shifts away from the cooler, tech-heavy tones of our previous brand identity.

You’ll start seeing various icons used across our content. Just like our Cube symbol, these icons represent the four steps in the creative process (left to right): inspire, design, create, and share.

For the past few months, our team has worked hard to roll out the website you see today. While our site is the first place you’ll see our new colors and symbol, more changes are on their way. In the coming weeks, you’ll see these design schemes implemented elsewhere—shipping boxes, email newsletters, machine components, etc.—as we roll out our new look across all aspects of our company.

Yes, we have a new look, but some things never change. We still believe the future is the hands of people who make, create, and dream. Helping makers succeed and bring their ideas to life is at the heart of what we do; this is what drives us to work hard and challenge ourselves every day. Your experience as an Inventables customer is our most cherished value. We always welcome your feedback, both good and bad, if there is something we can do to help you on your journey.

Thank you for being a part of our community. Together, we can create something incredible.