Inventables: The Inventor's Playground
Inventables - a one-stop shop for the inventor, designer, and 'maker,' who want to experiment, prototype, or just plain play with industrial materials that are not generally available in small quantities. An online store that will inspire the maker in you so wildly, you feel like a child in a playground full of all new equipment and toys.
Equipment like 3D printers, laser cutters, even injection molding machines small-scale enough that you can set them up in your garage, office, or spare room. Materials like fabric, film, ABS plastic, plastic filament, paper, wax, glass, metal ... all kinds of things that you can mold, cut, fold, inject and machine in any way you want and in small enough quantities that you can afford to toss one out and try another before the week is out. Everything is in stock and on its way to you at the click of 'enter' on your keypad.
The product information for both the equipment and supplies on Inventables is excellent. First, it's readable, unlike most product manuals. The Inventables professional staff describes each item for in such a way that you feel comfortable operating or working it even before it arrives at your door. They give you confidence in your abilities even if you've never operated anything more complicated than a scissors.
And customer questions and staff answers about the products are printed online under each product description, which guide your decision and help with any issues that may arise once purchased. The same is the case for materials, whether they are for Fabricating, Frame and Rail, Electrical and Lighting, Fastening, or Molding. Though Inventables has a special category of materials it calls 'Inspirational,' I found that the sites' products are presented so brilliantly that they are all inspirational; you will get tons of ideas for products from just browsing the materials.
The word 'maker' really gives me a new way to describe the approach I take to inventing and many more of you may see yourself this way too. You are inspired by materials, by shaping materials into forms that give them a new purpose or that give an old purpose new beauty. You may already have an idea about what you need to build your design or product, but Inventables will give you more ideas; I promise.
Whether you are an inventor, designer, hobbyist... any kind of 'maker,' Inventables.com is likely to become your new playground too.