Carvey's desktop carving machine lets anyone be an industrial designer

We love desktop 3D printers, except that it's hard to do anything useful with the flimsy, thermoplastic results. However, the folks at Inventables want to change that with Carvey, a home-based CNC machine that etches your designs on wood or brass. Since there are plenty of digital carving machines out there already, the team differentiated Carvey by claiming that you can go from initial sketches to a final product in under five minutes. As such, it includes the company's Easel design software, which runs in a computer web browser (you can also use any CAD and machine control software).

Once the design is ready, you can pick from materials that are a lot more interesting than ABS, like hardwoods, plywood, soft metals like copper or gold or even carbon fiber. From there, the machine calibrates itself automatically and will normally carve your idea out in a few minutes -- a far cry from the hours needed by a standard 3D printer. Of course, Carvey and similar CNC machines only carve in "2.5D," and can't do complex designs like a 3D printer can. It's also far from the first CNC carver we've seen, and isn't even the first such machine from Inventables -- which also built the Shapeoko 2. But it is a very polished-looking desktop device, and should appeal to designers who may not know a veiner from a v-tool. If you're interested in pledging, you can grab an early-bird special for $1,999, with delivery slated for October 2015.

Tim Seppala contributed to this post.