Showing posts from 2013

All Shapeoko Batch 1 Preorders Have Shipped!

As of December 21st 2013, the first 495 Shapeoko 2 preorders have shipped out! It took some effort, but we got them all out. To paraphrase Tom Cargill's Ninety-Ninety rule , the first 90% of a large shipping job accounts for 90% of the work. The second 90% account for the other 90%. Huge props to our warehouse team for getting everything assembled, packaged and out on the target date. Our crack team of specialists stayed late into the night to make sure every order was taken care of. As proof, we'd like to offer this photo of the pallets that all the Shapeoko 2's came in on. Now they're empty and stacked, awaiting repurposing. That's a photo of a job well done. In related news, we've worked out some of the small hiccups that arose during the first batch, and are totally on target to nail our January shipping date for the second batch orders. Watch this space for updates as we move along.

The Chicago Children's Museum Tinkering Lab is looking for volunteers

For our readers in the Chicago area, we'd like to pass along this call for volunteers at the Chicago Children's Museum Tinkering Lab . If you're interested in volunteering, please get in touch with Sarah at the museum:  SarahG@ Details: Thank you for your interest in the Tinkering Lab exhibit at Chicago Children's Museum! We are currently looking for individuals who would like to get involved with Tinkering Lab through volunteering. This is a great way to lend a hand and begin your collaboration with the museum and the exhibit. As a Tinkering Lab volunteer you will work side by side in the exhibit with museum staff to encourage visitors to tinker, design, build and test and also to assist visitors using a variety of tools. It is our hope that volunteers will also share their knowledge and passion with our visitors. You will be assigned to work at the Tool Bar, helping visitors use a variety of tools and you will also help lead d

Shapeoko 2 Behind The Scenes - Ahead of Schedule!

Shapeoko 2 production is ahead of schedule!   Today I'm going to give you a detailed update.  We promised the first 495 kits to ship by December 21st and 496 to 1500 to ship by January 19th .  We have some good news that we'll share today in this blog post.  As we saw all the boxes on the pallets and everyone in our warehouse rushing around we thought; let's take a moment to reflect. How did we get here?   A few years ago in a little garage in Dixon, IL, Edward Ford had an idea to make a low cost CNC Milling machine that anyone could build.  Years of experimentation and prototypes led to a Kickstarter campaign with a modest goal of $1500. Overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for his dream Edward cleared out his garage and delivered each person a CNC kit.  It was a blessing and a curse because his dream of having some beers with friends and playing around with a CNC machine turned into a factory at his house. Worn out from this experience but excit

Inventables Holiday Gift Guide

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.

New Cool Tools Catalog Out!

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

Shapeoko 2 Shipping Dates

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, w

New Kits And Tools For Clean, Easy Wiring

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 Connectors Crimping Tool Connector 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.  T

Milling aluminum with the Shapeoko 2

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 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 th

Shapeoko 2 at Pumping Station: One's CNC Build Club

Last Thursday we took the Shapeoko 2 out to Chicago hackerspace Pumping Station: One for their CNC Build Club weekly meeting. This particular group is a well-accomplished bunch, having previously built a working delta 3D printer in a single evening. It was up and chugging along on a print when I arrived: The club is a good mix of experienced folks who've built their own machines and like to share designs and experiment, and beginners looking to learn more about CNC in general. Plus drop-ins from PS1 members who were curious. We demonstrated two jobs- the first was a "Hello Shapeoko 2" design we worked out to quickly show the machine working. The second was an experimental attempt to mill a piece of Corian. Both worked! You have to run the Corian a lot slower so it took a little while, but the end result was quite nice. We're working on planning some visits to other Makerspaces in the near future. If you'd like us to come by and demo

Shapeoko 2 Now Available For Pre-order!

We're excited to announce the release of Shapeoko 2! For those just hearing about it, Shapeoko 2 is a low-cost desktop milling kit that lets you carve woods, plastics, and soft metals with precision. Five years ago, Edward Ford had a notion to design an open-source CNC kit that anyone could build. He worked on his designs in his garage and eventually got something together that he felt worthy of sharing with the world. In June 2011 Edward launched a Kickstarter campaign with a modest goal of $1500 to fund the production of about 10 kits, and the response was overwhelming. Edward partnered with Inventables to help fulfill orders and over a thousand kits were sold, making Shapeoko the world's fastest selling CNC machine ever. Since the first Shapeoko release, Edward and the open-source community have been experimenting and improving every aspect of the design. Those upgrades have all been rolled into this new version and it's the best one yet- bigger, stronger,