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Steve Krumanaker

So what about inventables machines?

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Are they a good option for someone just staring out? Can they do meaningful work? Could a person build one cheaper from scratch? Don't know enough about this field to ask more specific questions but I'm sure that will come.



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Steve, what are inventables? Excuse my ignorance please!

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1 hour ago, John Morris said:

Steve, what are inventables? Excuse my ignorance please!


Not a problem sir, here ya go  xcarve

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I bought their smaller x-carve less controller to play with.   I already have a CNC Shark and a probotix Meteor.   IMO the belt drive strategy of the X-carve and smallish aluminum extrusions used leave it a less-than-useful CNC to get serious work done on.    When it first came out Inventables offered them free to many youtube woodworkers.  Many said "YES!", and did at least one video of themselves putting it together and making something with it.   I've seen very few videos from those same youtubers featuring their X-carve since then.   



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The X-carve like 4D say is a light weight CNC and is really not built for hard use.  If you are really interested in buying a CNC for personal use there are plenty to choose from that can be used for light production work and I think this would be a good starting point.  With the light weight machines that are constructed of thin light weight materials you might get frustrated because the cut will never be great cut and cleanup will be harder and take a lot longer than a piece form a good tight CNC.


You do need to balance quality of materials and design along with budget you have to spend but with all the new machines out there bust thing is to narrow the choices down to a few and do a little more resurche on the one you like.  That should weed out and cut down on your choices and make it easier to find the best fit for you.


I have seen some reall nice shop build CNC machines but ask yourself "do I really want to invest all the time building one or do I want to start carving as soon as I  can?".

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The xcarve is a good machine to learn on, both in how a machine goes together and what the work flow is  IE; design, generate g code, set up the material i n the machine and create your masterpiece.

It is not a some simple assembly required and plug in and go machine, however. 

You would be assembling the whole thing, pulling the wires, bolting up the rails, mounting the motors and fiddling around getting it fine tuned. 

But in the end you willl be well aquainted with the finer points of it. when something goes awry, you should be able to figure it out and correct it. 

It's also open source. you are not only allowed to make modifications to the unit, it's encouraged. 

There is a very vibrant and welcoming and helpful online community to interact with specifically regarding the xcarve and many modifications that have been made to individuals machines. How far you want to take it is up to you. 

Myself, I have made a few changes anf it will do most any thing I need aside from cutting steel but others have done this. 

Many machines got folks started and now thier machines only vaguely resemble the original. 

One member had even developed a screwdrive system that replaces the belts altogether and is offering kits for it on the forum. 

Is it designed for all day every day cabinet shop use for cutting parts? Not really.  Is it a gateway machine into the world of cnc?   HECK YEAH!

It does what I ask of it, 2d and 3d embellishment of the projects I like to create,. and It's capable of much , much more.

Here are a few pics of what I have done with mine, 



barb 1.jpg

keepsake boxes.jpg


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