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TechShop Bankruptcy: An Open Letter to the Maker Community


We’re saddened to hear that TechShop closed its doors on November 15th. TechShop was an incredible asset to its community, providing a place where makers, crafters, and creators could get access to the tools that would unlock their creativity. Their closure leaves thousands of people without access to the tools they need to create projects and share their innovations with the world.

As makers and entrepreneurs ourselves, it’s easy for us to imagine the pain and frustration of the TechShop members who have had their tools ripped away without warning. We got together to see if we could give TechShop members easier access to some of the tools they might need to continue their craft.

At Inventables, we’re offering a $100 discount on X-Carve, a $500 discount on Carvey, and free shipping. In addition, customers can pay monthly with 0% APR available. To redeem this offer, customers need to email proof of membership current as of 11/15/17 to techshop@inventables.com This offer is good through December 31st 2017.

Glowforge, is making their desktop lasers available at an exclusive lower price for TechShop alum. They will refund $500 for the Glowforge Basic and $1,000 for the Glowforge Pro. To redeem after purchase, email proof of membership (current as of 11/15/17) to support@glowforge.com and they’ll immediately credit the account. This offer is also good retroactively to any alum who purchased a Glowforge within the past 6 months. This offer is good through December 31st, 2017.

littleBits supports makers, creators, and inventors around the globe, and wants to empower Techshop alum to continue their journeys. From now until the end of the year, use the code TECHSHOP20 to take 20% off anything in the littleBits online store here: http://littlebits.cc/5

Formlabs is offering $750 in free materials with the purchase of a Form 2. To redeem customers should contact sales@formlabs.com with proof of membership (current as of 11/15/17). This offer is good through December 31st, 2017.

We love seeing people have access to the amazing range of maker tools. The loss of Techshop makes this harder for everyone. We hope that this small effort on our part here can help keep these tools in the hands of people who can get the same joy from them that we do. The maker community we know is resilient and resourceful, and brings people together in challenging times. We can’t wait to see what you’ll make next.

Signed,
Dan Shapiro, CEO, Glowforge
Zach Kaplan, CEO, Inventables
Ayah Bdeir, CEO, littleBits Electronics
Max Lobovsky, CEO, Formlabs

Pay monthly for your X-Carve

We are working on all sorts of ways to make 3D carving more accessible.  As you all know Easel is web based and free.  We have a map showing public spaces like libraries and we'll soon be adding community maker spaces.  We donated 100 machines, 50 to schools (1 per state) and 50 to maker spaces (1 per state).  The idea is we will indicate which public places you can go for free and which you need an affiliation with like a school or certain maker spaces.  Finally we launched free shipping for X-Carve in the lower 48 states.



We are seeing growth in the number of people that are earning some sort of income from their machine.  Some people are selling their own products as a side business, some people are taking custom orders, and others have started full time businesses and are earning their living with X-Carve, Easel, and Easel Pro.  It has been very inspiring to meet these people and learn more about their journeys.  I got the opportunity to meet Steve and Debbie Lee of 8th Line Creations.  We interviewed them and made this short video to help tell their story.



Debbie had been an accountant for 32 years.  She lost her job and had to decide if she would get another accounting job or try something new.  She decided she wanted to explore starting her own woodworking business. She looked at machines ranging from the 500mm X-Carve to more industrial type machines that were as much as $20,000 or more made by other manufacturers.  A big factor for Debbie was how long it would take her to pay of the machine.  Since the cost of the 500mm X-Carve was about $999 she calculated that with her income from making products it had the lowest risk and shortest pay back period.  When I talked to Debbie she said it took her about 4 months to pay it off.

Debbie's story is inspiring however not everyone has an accounting background.  I think it's important for everyone to have an opportunity to get an X-Carve.  We found a finanical partner who is helping us to make this happen called Affirm.  I've known the founder of Affirm for about 12 years.  Prior to starting Affirm he started PayPal.

Last week we announced a way to pay for X-Carve monthly through Affirm.  I like the approach Affirm takes with customers. Affirm is a financing alternative to credit cards and other credit-payment products. Affirm offers instant financing for online purchases to be paid in fixed monthly installments over 3, 6, or 12 months.

The idea is you can buy and receive your X-Carve, and pay for it over several months. This payment option allows you to split the price of your purchase into fixed payment amounts that fit your monthly budget.  If Affirm approves your loan, you'll see your loan terms before you make your purchase. See exactly how much you owe each month, the number of payments you must make, and the total amount of interest you’ll pay over the course of the loan. There are no hidden fees.

This was one of the things that attracted us to Affirm.  The corresponding finance charge is the only fee associated with an Affirm loan - they don’t charge late fees, service fees, prepayment fees, or any other hidden fees. They strive always to be more transparent and fair than any other form of financing.  At Inventables we value transparency so we really liked that they are taking this approach.

The application process is secure and real-time. Affirm asks you for a few pieces of information. After you provide this information, Affirm notifies you of the loan amount that you’re approved for, the interest rate, and the number of months that you have to pay off your loan -- all within seconds.

Over the years we've had a lot of people explain that they can't order from Inventables because they don't have a credit card.  Until now we didn't have a good option for you.  With Affirm you don’t need a credit card to make a purchase.

You may be eligible for Affirm financing even if you don’t have an extensive credit history. Affirm bases its loan decision not only on your credit score, but also on several other data points about you.
Affirm reminds you by email and SMS before your upcoming payment is due. Enable Autopay to schedule automatic monthly payments on your loan.

Here's an example from the size machine that Debbie purchased.  The retail price of the machine is $998.98 however you can see below the price it says "Starting at $88/month with Affirm Learn more"

Clicking "Learn more" takes you to the financial disclosures:


If you register with Affirm they will ask you a few questions and calculate the amount you would need to pay for your X-Carve each month.  We hope people who are buying the machine for business purposes are able to make more money each month than the payment they owe Affirm for the machine.  Remember paying a monthly fee is not a guarantee of success.  However, we hope this approach to paying for X-Carve in smaller payments rather than up front enables more people to start their own businesses.

Currently, Affirm is available only to shoppers residing in the United States. Affirm hopes to expand its services to customers outside the U.S. in the future.  We'll make an announcement if and when that happens.  We put together a more detailed FAQ with information about this form of payment.

I understand this way to pay is not for everyone. We don't want people to get into a situation where they can't pay for their machine.  We also understand that financing is a complicated topic and could create stress for some folks.  If you feel uncomfortable with monthly payment plans or financing I don't want you to use this method of payment.

For those of you who do feel comfortable with a monthly payment plan I'd encourage you to check to see what your monthly payment would be to see if you can afford to pay for the X-Carve on a monthly basis rather than all up front.