May 16, 2016

Introducing Zotecode - Laser cut physical stuff with simple programs

Our mission is to give people the best, most natural tools to express ideas. We built Zotebook to let you sketch ideas and quickly get them into physical form. But some shapes like gears and box edges are tricky (if not impossible) to do with sketching.

Zotecode gives you another arrow in your design quiver. With Zotecode, you write little programs in your web browser that generate shapes for laser cutting. Take a look:

Zotecode Teaser


May 10, 2016

Run a Laser Cutting Workshop with Gaggles of People

It's been a crazy month at Zotebook HQ. Between the high schools, middle schools, and public library workshops we've probably helped close to 300 people learn to design and fabricate stuff.

Beth has written an Instructable on how to run a workshop with lots and lots of students. If you're a teacher or librarian wondering how you might get 20 people to go from no knowledge to laser cutting (as a group) within an hour, it is worth your time to check it out.


April 7, 2016

Zotebeasts and Designosaurs at Centaurus High School

Last week we went to Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colorado to see what the students could do with Zotebook. In about 80 minutes students went from not knowing what Zotebook was to laser cutting their own Zotebeasts and Designosaurs. We had 180 students in seven classes. We're pretty amazed at how things turned out!


March 30, 2016

Zotebook Design Challenge!

This spring we're holding a little Laser Cutter Design Challenge for anyone using Zotebook. We're holding a bunch of workshops at local schools around Denver, but the challenge isn't restricted to our area. Anyone in the US can participate!


November 4, 2015

Zotebook is free for academic use through June 2016

From now until the end of June 2016, subscriptions to are free for academic use.

Zotebook is a completely new way of designing. It recognizes your freehand sketches and turns them in to precise, machineable files ready for production on laser cutters (and vinyl cutters, and 3D printers, and other fabrication devices as well).

We didn't set out to explicitly make a tool for education. Of course we thought this was a likely use case, but we've always sought to build something that is useful for everyone who wants to build things on laser cutters. As we've worked with people, it has become clear to us that there's something special about how Zotebook connects with younger people.

So today we're announcing that subscriptions to are free for any kind of academic use. This includes:

  • K-12 schools
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Libraries
  • After-school programs
  • Any kind of home-school situation


November 4, 2015

Shape packing for laser cutter goodness

Today we're releasing a new feature that expands cutfile awesome mode that will save you time and money. We call this feature shape packing, and while that's an apt description, it does a lot more than that.

Say you want to cut this:

... on a 24x12" sheet of plywood that looks like this:


November 4, 2015

Group Mode for sharing sketches

Group Mode is the latest feature on Groups let you share your work with others. It works for collaboration among a bunch of designers, as well as classroom-style groups where one person (a teacher or machine operator) can see everybody's drawings, but other group members don't see others' work.


October 26, 2015

How to get started with Zotebook

To most (all?) new users, Zotebook is a completely different kind of UI. It is super powerful once you get the hang of it. To help you get there, keep these three things in mind:

  1. Wait for the ink to dry
  2. Zoom in for precision
  3. Check out the help tab. Everyone loves animated GIFs, right?


August 28, 2015

Cutfile Awesome

Today we've released a cool feature to help save you time when putting together a laser cutter job. You can now use to assemble a cutfile by picking the parts you want, and how many of each. Here's what it looks like for our favorite example, the iPad stand (click to embiggen):


August 11, 2015

Sketching should be the interface for (almost) everything

A long time ago when photographs were in black and white, and our future cities were definitely going to be floating in the sky, smart people were imagining what computers were going to be like. It was pretty clear to these people that freehand drawings would be a great way to provide input. After all, you can use a pen to not only write words, but also pictures.

Sketchpad was an early (if not the first) example of a zillion computery things, including pen-based interaction. Not too long after, some people at RAND made a system called GRAIL that not only let the user draw, but it actually recognized what the input meant without using a keyboard or other trickery. These were one-of-a-kind research systems. They were made to demonstrate ideas about what could be. And (I know I'm biased) those were fantastic ideas.

Time has passed. We're in the future now! And sadly, we can't work with computers by drawing.


Zotebook is available for iPad
Get it now and start sketching!

Download Zotebook from the App Store

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