Our machines and tools often don’t get put in the spotlight and without them we would not be able to create and make the items that we do. We wanted to give them a moment to shine and allow you to meet the machines and tools that allow us to create the fun things we share with you!
Both of the main tools I use are much less expensive than the competitors. Of course, there are serious perks to buying the biggest, best and name brand. But I have not had many issues once I got used to these machines. Eventually I would like to upgrade both machines to be able to do larger projects, but for now, they have been really handy.
K40 laser: We ordered this machine off of Ebay. This is how we got started. Jennie had a CNC router, so I decided to go for an engraver first to make it so we could do a larger variety of things as a business. I have come a LONG way with my abilities on the laser. I love learning new tricks. The engraver can cut through about ⅛” plywood. I usually use it more for engraving. I have engraved leather, plywood, solid wood, slate, acrylic, cork and more. I would like to try my hand at engraving/etching glass and maybe some travel mugs. But since those aren’t super baby-friendly projects, I haven’t tried it yet! I really love the K40 laser.
Shapeoko 2: We bought this machine used. I had had the engraver going for a while but was ready to grow a bit in what I was able to do. This machine definitely helped with that. It is far from the newest and best from Inventables, but the kit is still available and is a really handy machine. I think it is a great way to introduce yourself to CNC without a large buy-in, and great for a hobbyist. Using this machine, I generally cut ¾” birch plywood, but also hardwoods like oak and maple. I have really enjoyed learning to use this machine to do lots of projects. The shapeoko 2 can engrave as well, but for smaller details, the laser is definitely the way to go!
Other tools I love:
BladeRunner: I love this tool. I most frequently use it for cutting tabs off of my CNC projects. I feel safe and have a lot of control using this tool!
Small handsaws: These are just handy to have around.
Hand Sander: I generally use Rigid or Ryobi. Simply because that’s what we have!
Ryobi Drill: I use this for pre-drilling and screwing projects together.
Painters Tape: I use way more painters tape than I am proud of, but it is the perfect thing to use to keep the lines clean on the engraver. I find it works better than masking tape. Though, a lot of makers use masking.
Inventables X-Carve: Meet Radius! Radius earned his name because I like the way the machine sounds when it is cutting circles and curves! This is how I got back into crafting and woodworking! I use to woodwork when I was younger and didn’t realized how much I missed it until we got this machine and I was able to start being crafty again! I use the Easel Pro software to design my projects prior to cutting them! We use the machine to cut Birch & MDF mostly, I would like to try out some soft plastics too! I am also looking to expand and get a laser cutter too eventually!
Belt Sander: This sander gets used A LOT and is very helpful with smoothing the sides and edges! Helping get the roughness off and getting the items ready for finish or paint!
Dremel Tool: I use my Dremel tool so much for fine sanding and getting into smaller places! I love the flex shaft attachment because it makes it even easier to maneuver around the smaller pieces!
Ryobi Sander: This is another tool that gets used with every project. I sand the pieces after they have cut on the X-Carve prior to cutting the tabs.
The Multi Tool:
I use this guy a lot for cutting the tabs off of projects! I feel safe and in control with this saw and like that it has a lot of different attachments we can use with it! The attachment I use most often is this blade!
Other Tools I Love:
Paint brushes: I enjoy painting the projects to add some color to them and use my paint brushes to add the milk paint and finish to the projects!
Clamps: I use clamps to hold things together that I have glued, like wheels, shapes, etc.
Tape Measure: I use a tape measure to help me line up where to place the clamps on the machine to hold the wood prior to cutting a design. I also use the tape measure to measure scrap pieces so I can see if I can use them for a design.