September 2018 Newsletter


At the August member meeting, Jennyfer Peterson was recognized with an outpouring of handcrafted gifts and stories in appreciation of her service. The plans were in the works for months to make the recognition truly special. In early summer, I had noticed one of the stewards, Patrick Waters, putting in long hours and was curious what was engaging him. That’s when Patrick let me in on the secret “competition” underway by the stewards to create truly special gifts to honor Jennyfer’s service. This collection of gorgeous gifts, freely given, pays tribute to Jennyfer’s valuable contribution. In the banner photo, Jennyfer, with her captivating smile, is caught out and about in August at the Cardboard Boat Regatta. Jennyfer is enjoying the afternoon at Lake Anne, supporting the Nova Labs crew in the latest creative endeavor, and promoting the makerspace in the community.

We are pleased to welcome Julia Smith to the Nova Labs team. Julia works the front desk kiosk as well as providing valuable behind-the-scenes support. Julia fits right in with her “can-do” attitude, her quick assessment of the tasks at hand, and her love of Nova Labs.

A heartfelt thanks goes to Doug Newton who has nurtured the metal shop. The metal shop is a hub of activity under Doug’s leadership. Doug is transitioning responsibilities to Curt Welch, interim metal shop steward.

Empower2Make Make-A-Thon is coming September 14-16! More about this signature event follows.

Happy Making!


The board extends a warm welcome to our newest key members Troi Bandy, Jeff Nicholas, Olivia Morgan, and Pat Marstall. Additionally, welcome to Julia Smith, makerspace admin, who started August 18. Julia works Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday – please stop by to say hello! This month the board is focused on strengthening two aspects of Nova Labs infrastructure: expanding insurance coverage to include our paid instructors and board recruitment. More on board recruitment follows.

>Provided by Margaret Kositch


Nova Labs is looking for board members who embrace the all-volunteer model, who bring a lot of energy to the table, and have genuine enthusiasm for the makerspace concept and the maker movement. The maker movement includes many different worlds, so we want to draw the Nova Labs board from a wide range of candidates. We’d love to talk with candidates with skills in entrepreneurship, manufacturing, creative pursuits, marketing, grant writing, human resources, real estate, technology, finance, non-profit management and leadership in all its forms.

Nova Labs board members hold three-year terms and the terms are staggered, so that two or more directors’ terms end each year. Officer terms are one year. New terms begin in October or November, so now it’s officially Board Recruitment season!

Currently the board is comprised of 7 directors. A plan is underway to expand the board from 7 members to 9, in order to expand the skillset, extend the network of contacts and allow Nova Labs to accomplish more. We anticipate welcoming up to three directors to join the board in the coming months.

A search committee, made up of four Nova Labs members, will work with the broader Nova Labs community to cultivate a candidate pool. Board candidates will have an opportunity to meet with the collective board in October or November. The search committee is facilitating Board Q&A sessions and following up with applicants.

The right people are out there and finding them will require the entire Nova Labs community to pitch in. Ways you can help include talking with people you know who might be interested and coming to one of the Board Q&A sessions. RSVP on meetup appreciated.

Please feel free to reach out to the search committee:

For more details, check out the wiki:
>Provided by Margaret Kositch

Empower2Make | A Make-A-Thon for Assistive Technology

On 14-16 September 2018 teams of elite designers, innovators, entrepreneurs and individuals with special needs will converge at Nova Labs to build custom products to help people with physical challenges in their lives.

During this focused period, teams of engineers, fabricators and designers (we call them “makers”) will work hand-in-hand with people in the special needs community (we call them “need-knowers”) for 72 hours to develop affordable working prototypes to specific challenges. Our goal is to work with partner companies to reproduce these items and make them available the world over, open source and free of charge.

Similar to our annual makerfaire, this make-a-thon is one of Nova Labs signature events that brings our community together and demonstrates the power of the Maker Movement and our collective passion, optimism and perseverance for making the world a better place.

If you were not able to participate this time around, we are planning our next event for April 12-14, 2019. Please encourage future Makers, Need-Knowers and potential Sponsors that would like to support us to fill out the forms on our website. Email:

> Provided by the Empower2Make Team: Bo Pollett Wernick, Jade Garrett, Fred Briggs, Tae Edell, Jennyfer Peterson, Callye Keen, Mike Hogarty and Patrick Thompson


Celebrating Jennyfer Peterson

Nova Labs bestowed the inaugural Volunteer of the Year award to Jennyfer Peterson, Event Team Lead at the August Member meeting. If you have ever taken a class, attended an event, read a policy, talked to one of our incredible interns, or even asked a question at Nova Labs, you have benefited from Jennyfer’s direct or behind-the-scenes work. Where there is maker hay to be had, Jennyfer is the one tilling the field and ensuring the sun shines. When you next see Jennyfer, take the time to thank her for her hard work, positive attitude, and willingness to help Nova Labs grow and expand into the best little makerspace in the DMV.
To honor her incredible organization and execution Maker powers, the stewards of the CNC, Arts & Crafts, Wood Shop, Blacksmithing, and Metal Shop all made gifts to honor her commitment to the lab. Suzanne Chanesman, our graphic artist extraordinaire, created a wonderful picture and plaque which hangs on our wall of fame.


For the second year, Nova Labs and Maker Faire have participated in the Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta. Several Nova Labs members also took up the challenge. The material list consisted of cardboard, wood glue, water based paint, and duct tape. Sound like a challenge?

Captains Quincey (USS Cinder), Paul (Wisdom Cube), Sam (Nova Labs), and Shane (Maker Faire) ran great races. The Cinder crew, Captain Quincey and 1st LT Lea, stole the show with first place. Nova Labs tracked a straight line, sorta’. The Maker Faire boat managed to keep the bottom down. All better than the previous year.

We had a great volunteer showing, thanks to all – you know who you are. All challenges were met with fun and sun. 😉

>Provided by Shane Smith


Woodshop Round Up

The woodshop will hold an End of Summer Round Up on Sept 8th from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. The WoodshopCowboy will BBQ Texas style, so get there on time to get food.

5:30pm to 6:30pm – Round Up
6:30pm to 8:30pm – Food, Awards, Updates, Conversations

Please nominate a woodworker & Nova Labs Maker for any one, or five, or all of the following categories:

Stewards will vote/pick/draft/inexplicably choose just like the Oscars one nomination for:

  1. Woodworker of the Year – Woodworker who most exemplifies the Nova Labs maker ethos
  2. Shop Volunteer of the Year – Maker volunteer who has made the biggest impact in the past the year
  3. Mentor of the Year – Maker who has taken time out of his or her busy schedule to give back to you and others
  4. Social Media Maven/Over-Sharer of the Year – The maker with the biggest mouth and is always showing off his or her latest, greatest, sweetest project!
  5. Over-Engineer Engineer that Could of the Year – For the maker who bites off a little bit more than he or she can chew….EVERYTIME!
  6. Who Made That? Maker of the Year – An award of ambition, if not completion. Often given to the maker who leaves his or her completely weird project on the shop shelf….just because….
  7. Slacker of the Year (Maker who Contributes Most Online) – Your Slack friend and mine.

And we will give away as many of these as we have nominations for:

  • I Learned Something From You Award
  • Volunteer Appreciations
  • Donor Tip o’ the Hats!

Send nominations to or or DM on Slack @woodshopcowboy

>Provided by WoodshopCowboy

Maker recognition:

Two of Chip Levy’s pieces have been selected for the 48th Annual Labor Day Art Show at Glen Echo Park in MD. The piece “Starlight Over Waco” (top) was mostly fabricated at Nova Labs. Congratulations, Chip!

>Provided by Chip Levy

New makerspace administrator: Julia Smith

Julia brings with her 30+ years of executive admin experience. She is looking forward to meeting and working with all of you. Please say hello if you haven’t met her yet! Julia runs the front desk on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.


Volunteers needed to work at two outreach events, on Saturday 10/13 at Edison HS in Alexandria, and Saturday 11/3 at Virginia Tech – Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church. Both events are aimed at kids, so we are looking for kid-friendly, mind-expanding, hands-on activities. Contact Jeanne Marshall or Margaret Kositch.
Empower2Make Hospitality and Logistics support team help. September 14th,15th and 16th. Help with organizing, food, and other event support needs. I need a few good makers with energy and team spirit. Contact

In addition, Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Programmers needed for Nova Pass development effort
  • Front Desk person for Monday evenings
  • Outreach team members – Help our team lead with the website, social media, pictures, marketing, and outreach to external communities
  • Open house tour helpers, 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Fall interns at college and high school level
  • Wiki information maintainers

Contact if you’re interested.

Nova Labs August 2018 Newsletter


Nova Labs hosted the kickoff for Empower2Make in July with a great turnout. Guests were greeted by Tae Edell sporting the new Empower 2 Make logo designed by Nova Labs member Anthony Pappas. Anthony is an experienced designer and is looking forward to learning more about CAD 3D modeling, laser cutting and CNC at our space. This is the second time around for this signature Nova Labs event — a 72-hour make-a-thon creating assistive technology coming September 14-16, 2018.


I loved the way volunteers pitched in to get out the August news. Special thanks to the metal shop crew for sharing a behind-the-scenes tour. Thanks for the design work goes to Mary Thompson of On Demand Marketing and Web services

Happy Making!



Thanks to Tech Comm and TC team lead John Hoskins, our new Internet circuit is up and live. Connectivity should be more stable for all users.

A woodshop planer upgrade is on the way thanks to a generous anonymous donation, making possible the purchase of a Shellix Helical Cutter Head.

It’s board recruiting season, and we’d like to ask everyone in the Nova Labs community to help us fill our positions. Please email or talk to a current member of the board if you’re interested in learning more.

>Provided by Margaret Kositch and Lieselot Whitbeck


Reston Museum’s 2nd Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta is almost here!

On Saturday, August 11th, the Reston Museum will host the second annual Cardboard Boat Regatta on Lake Anne. Last year was a resounding success, with 20 boats and hundreds of spectators flocking to Lake Anne to watch!

(Check out last year’s memories on Nova Labs’ Facebook page)

On the day of the event, Nova Labs will once again be running the Dry Dock Tent, where volunteers will have extra cardboard and duct tape to assist teams with last minute boat fixes and to answer any questions about Nova Labs or Maker Faire. Contact Jeanne Marshall if you’d like to hang out and help!

Nova Labs and the Nova Maker Faire have been hard at work updating their boats for the new race; feel free to swing by one of the build sessions – they’re usually coordinated in the Slack chatroom #cardboard_regatta. Shane Smith hopes to improve the temporal, lateral, and a physical stability of the “SS MakerFaire 2.0,” while Sam Winklestein’s team is adding additional warp engines to the “SpaceShip of Zoom.” Paul Chase is unable to improve upon the perfection of his previous “Tetraheboat” (cuz it sank), but will return this year with the “Wisdom Cube.”

Complete details can be found at the Reston Museum’s website:

Provided by Paul Chase

Empower2Make | A Make-A-Thon for Assistive Technology

The 72 hour Make-A-Thon to develop assistive technology takes place September 14-16th. The kickoff party in July brought a great turnout!

For more information on Empower2make check out our website or email

>Provided by Bo Pollett Wernick


A Year+ of Progress in the Metal Shop

It’s been a bit over a year of real growth in the metal shop, thanks to the leadership of a core team of volunteers and a growing interest in the discipline. Led in the earlier days by Mike Hoyer and Mike Hogarty, the team has expanded and refined many elements of the program.

The first Metal Monday – the real start of the “new beginning” – was held on April 3, 2017, after several weeks of Slack channel discussion that started coalescing the metal makers’ cohort. We began with a bi-weekly schedule and four facilitator/session hosts (Curt Welch, Siobhan Williams, Bill Steinhardt, and host wrangler Chip Levy). When a new volunteer (Doug Newton) arrived in late May, 2017, possessed of good skills, near-instant bandwidth, and an energetic leadership attitude, momentum continued to build. Then Jennyfer Peterson, our fearless Lab cat-wrangler, defaulted every host to every week in June – shifting from an “opt in” to an “opt out” hosting model – participation continued to grow, and included 2-4 hosts every week and a consistent and varied handful of member makers and visitors. Steve Malloy stepped up as Assistant Steward, Sam Steel took over welding instruction, Curt spent months figuring out the Matsura CNC mill (which takes most other humans a year). He also contributed to both shops’ buildouts and upgrades. (That whole discussion thread is still in our Slack channel, and it’s oddly fun to read – search the Metalworking channel starting early March 2017)

Since then, the shop has developed a true makerspace identity, with a broadening range of activity clearly on an upward trend. Metal Monday has become a well-established part of the Nova Labs program, with visitors and members (new and long-term, alike) stopping in for technical assistance, tool use, and simple camaraderie. We have a good array of new equipment (MIG and TIG welders, metal shear, box and pan brake, horizontal and vertical bandsaws), improved tool storage, and a healthy inventory of materials and supplies. The blacksmithing program is steadily growing under Bill’s leadership, with many others backing him up. Lead host Chip Levy took over the sheet metal program when Phil Tacas moved to the west coast. Mike Youmans stepped in to lead MIG welding instruction and as sheet metal backup (and hosting) when he can break free from his robotics mentoring. Doug Newton teaches milling and metal lathe and welding, and Siobhan Williams and Steve Malloy have refined and stepped up the pace of Yellow-level instruction. We have an improved physical layout and better lighting, a cadre of skilled and active volunteer stewards and instructors with can-do attitudes and willingness to share; an expanded class schedule, and an effective and well-used communications mechanism (thanks in no small measure to our member colleagues in techcomm, facilities, operations, events, and everyone else). We’ve more than doubled the metalshop cohort list and are adding people every week. We’re working on regularizing machine and shop maintenance systems, bringing greater rigor to our class and instructional structures, and growing our volunteer leadership and involved makers lists.

But, most importantly, we’ve collectively and individually been party to some high-quality, interesting work, from serious rocket-building (yes, actual rocket science!) to developing playground equipment, from entrepreneurial prototyping to creating art objects, ranging from jewelry to swords, car parts and fine crafts, custom tools and shop fixtures, and providing Maker Quest and university-level project assistance whenever requested. After all, all that equipment and potential counts for little unless something actually gets made. Working together, we’ve made a lot of progress. Stop by some time and find out what you can make.’

>Provided by the Metal Shop Crew

Shop Safety Moment

Members, please look out for each other this August (and beyond!).

Remember, minors must be signed-off on a tool AND be supervised by a qualified adult. Parents and guardians should also be supervising. What does that mean in practice?

It means if you see a minor using a red or yellow tool, ask 1) if he or she is the certified on the tool, 2) who is his or her supervising adult, and 3) determine whether or not the supervising adult is qualified to supervise that tool. Do not let the minor operate the tool before you determine he or she is allowed to use it. Be courteous, firm, and respectful. Safety is everyone’s responsibility.

If you are working outside for long hours this summer, get water! Stay hydrated and make sure to get some electrolytes in you, too!

>Provided by Patrick Waters

Call for Volunteers

Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Programmers needed for Nova Pass development effort
  • Front Desk person for Monday or Wednesday evening, or Saturday afternoon
  • Outreach team members – Help our team lead with the website, social media, pictures, marketing, outreach to external communities
  • Open House tour helpers, 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Fall interns at college and high school level
  • Wiki Information Maintainers

Contact if you’re interested!

Empower2Make Launch Party, Nova Labs is Hiring, Capitol Hill Maker Faire Demo


Carl Hutzler demonstrates a clock made by Paul Chase to Congressman Mark Takano at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire that took place on June 12 in Washington D.C.


Nova Labs hit the road in June with maker demonstrations at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire. Further afield, team leads Jeanne Marshall and Jennyfer Peterson represented Nova Labs at the first annual Nation of Makers Conference. Jeanne and Jennyfer will share stories from NomCon at the upcoming member meeting.

Tae Edell is winding up her work at the front desk kiosk to pursue new opportunities with the Smithsonian. Since she starting working here last year, Tae has been a fantastic brand ambassador for Nova Labs. Tae consistently provided a warm welcome, always ready to lend a hand and answer questions. Behind the scenes, Tae kept things running with grace and creative solutions. Tae’s last day is Friday, July 6. After that, you may still find Tae here, from time to time, working on her own maker projects, contributing pro bono on Empower2Make, and, training her replacement – currently Nova Labs is recruiting. Be sure to stop by this week to congratulate Tae on her new venture and to thank her for her many contributions.

The Empower2Make launch party is coming July 11! The woodshop is humming with summer projects, a class lineup with a mix of old favorites and new offerings, and a new wood lathe. For the youth, there are a variety of summer workshops offered.

Happy Making!

Marybeth Haneline
Board President

RSVP to Upcoming Member & Associate Meeting


This month, the board approved one new key member and reviewed MakerFaire Nova finances. The 2018 MakerFair Nova was a great success in and of itself, but it also brought in over $13k in net revenue! The board also approved a budget for a new commercial water heater for the makerspace to replace the broken unit. Furthermore, the board approved a measure to allow Physical Security Interest Group classes. This allows lock-related classes to be taught at Nova Labs by a licensed locksmith under the auspices of TOOOL US guidelines.

In addition, the board spoke with both Jennyfer Peterson and Jeanne Marshall about their trip to NOMCon (Nation of Makers Convention) to gain insights into the state of the American maker community, best practices, and creative solutions to common problems.

>Provided by Jim Girardi

NOVA LABS IS HIRING |  Makerspace Administrative Assistant

Nova Labs is looking for a customer service superstar who makes everyone feel welcome, assists with communications and membership tasks, and helps classes run smoothly at the makerspace. This is part time position of 20-30 hours per week; includes some weekday evenings and weekends.

Learn more: Makerspace Administrative Assistant
Contact us:


July 11, 7 – 9pm

We’re opening Orange Bay to host the launch party for the upcoming Empower2make event. The 72 hour make-a-thon to develop assistive technology takes place Sep 14-16. All are welcome celebrate the kick-off of this Nova Labs banner event and share a meal with our close maker community. Meet participants, explore examples of developed products in action, and find out how to get involved. Prospective makers, knowers, partner sponsors, and their families are welcome to attend to see if the event sparks your interest.

Please RVSP on meetup.
For more information on Empower2make check out our website or email

> Provided by Bo Pollet Wernick


NOVA Labs and Maker Faire NoVa attended the Capitol Hill Maker Faire on June 12 in the Rayburn House Office Building. We exhibited many maker-inspired items from the NOVA Labs community and helped spread awareness of the 6th Annual Maker Faire NoVa coming up in June 2019. We were excited to have the Chairman of the House Maker Caucus, Mr. Mark Takano (D-California), stop by for a tutorial on the 3D printed clock created by Paul Chase. Mr. Takano, as well as Capitol Hill legislators and guests, signed the clock, which will be exhibited at NOVA Labs.

>Provided by Asma Chaudhary & Carl Hutzler


Nova Labs partnered with Eric Duer at STEMSKILLS to host the first week of the Summer Maker Skills Camp for High School Students with Learning Challenges. The focus of this week was on job exploration and technology skills with the goal to build confidence through developing workplace skills. Emphasis was placed on specific skills that the kids could continue to explore on their home computers. Pulling from the knowledgeable Nova Labs maker community and using our facilities, the students were introduced to Arduino and programming, laser cutting, woodworking tools and glue ups, drones, t-shirt making using the silhouette/heat press, and soldering. The six kids had various learning differences, but our maker volunteers rose to the challenge!

Special thanks to Jennyfer Peterson, Bryce Peterson, Curt Welch, Nick Carter, Bob Coggeshall, Susan Parsons, and our wonderful summer interns, Annie Morgan and Ella Parsons.

>Provided by Jennyfer Peterson


This month, the FIRST Robotics Team 1123 brought their unique mobile workshop created from a former Greyhound bus to visit. In it there are tools, workbenches, etc. to aid in their robotic efforts. They brought their bus to the Nova Labs Robotic Interest Group free monthly meetup. Meetup members got a tour of this amazing bus and asked questions. This was clearly one of the “biggest” show-and-tell projects ever seen in Nova Labs history!

>Provided by Steve Geyer 



The Nova Labs Woodturning Program provides members with formal training in wood lathe safety, spindle turning, and bowl turning techniques. In addition to formal training, members have access to experienced turners who perform demonstrations of advanced techniques and provide mentoring when members are working on their individual woodturning projects. Finally, the program offers project-oriented classes where members can turn things to help them get started…like a pen, an ornament, a tool handle, or a rolling pin.

Members have access to lathe tools and accessories, sharpening equipment, and three different lathes – a mini-lathe suitable for turning pens and small bowls and two full-sized lathes capable of turning anything from a very small toothpick up to a 16″ bowl, a 44″ baseball bat, or a small lawn totem.

The most recent addition to the lathe fleet is a Nova Galaxi DVR lathe. This lathe is manufactured in New Zealand (home of some really amazing woodturners!) and has numerous features that make it well-suited to Nova Labs – the similarity in names is just a happy coincidence! The Galaxi weighs in at 436 lbs. providing a rock-solid turning platform for larger and more complex projects. The direct-drive motor uses 2 HP of tiger-blood infused power and a computer-controlled motor management system to provide an exceptional user experience. A turner can vary the speed continuously from 100-5000 rpm at the turn of a knob without switching pulleys and belts. The motor speed-control also helps the lathe maintain the selected speed regardless of load and can even detect a “catch” and  shut off power instantly if one occurs.

In order to use the Galaxi, previously certified members will be asked to participate in a short familiarization session, which can be provided an ad-hoc basis for free by Frank, Rick, Mike, or Zack. New Lathe 101 classes will include this information. The Galaxi will be placed in service during the week of 6/18/2018. Notification of readiness to use will be provided on the Nova public web site as well as the Nova Labs slack woodworking channel.

>Provided by Rick Weil and Frank Sogandares 



What are you making this summer? We are making cutting boards & slab tables at Nova Labs.  Nova Labs is offering two premier woodworking classes at the premier makerspace in the DMV area. If you have ever wanted to learn woodworking from tree-to-furniture, this is the time to do it!

WW: Live-Edge Slab Tables
Farm to table? We are gonna do tree-to-table! Learn to turn a massive slab of wood into a functional piece of furniture! In this class we will learn all about SLABS! Featuring a field trip to a local supplier, Local Wood of Leesburg/Berryville VA, students will learn all about how slabs are milled, dried and made ready for market. Students will purchase slabs, then flatten and prep their slab for finishing. Students can design and build wood bases during class time, or purchase pre-made legs. Consider this a build-a-long: you get access to the tools, expertise and guidance of an experienced woodworking instructor. Make butterfly keys, discuss epoxy pours, discuss (and if it’s a nice day, actually spray) spray and oil-based finishes. This is the PREMIER WOODWORKING CLASS of Summer 2018.

Be the hipster you know you can be!
Sign up at Meet Up to attend this great class! Plus, you can attend the Day 1 Session for only $10!

July 26, 6pm @ Leesburg Local Wood VA
July 27, 7pm to 10pm
July 28, 9am to 4pm

That’s over TEN HOURS of small group instruction.  LET’S DO THIS!

WW: Cutting Boards
Two-Day class: Seven shop hours. Friday July 13, 7pm – 10pm & Sun July 15, 10am – 2pm

Have you ever wanted to learn woodworking, but didn’t know where to start? In this course, build a beautiful wood cutting board while learning the ins-and-outs of the major woodworking machines in the woodshop.  We learn the basics about makerspaces, hardwood vs. softwood, shop safety, milling dimensioning and more. This is a popular class, offered quarterly…in fact, it might already be full!

Learn to use the SawStop Table Saw, Jointer, Planer, Miter Saw, Band Saw, Disk/Belt Sander, Oscillating Sander, Drill Press, Small Band Saw, Scroll Saw – every tool except the lathe and the kitchen sink!

>Provided by Patrick Waters, Woodshop Cowboy


Nova Labs Robotics

These workshops are put on by Nova Labs Robotics teen mentors and coaches. The lead mentor is Elena, captain of Marshall High School FRC Team 5549 – in her fourth year of volunteering with Nova Labs Robotics. Ian Willebeek-Lemair is also assisting with the camp.  He is a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech, majoring in Aerospace Engineering.Nova Labs Robotics: Robot Makers
Rising Grades 5-9
July 30 – Aug 3, 9am – 4pm

Build and code a robot to solve increasingly complex challenges. Kids will get to bring their strategies to life with servos, sensors and LEGO EV3 Mindstorms.

TEQ Strategy Teen Summer Drone Workshop
Session 1: July 9 – 13, 10am – 3pm
Session 2: Jul 16 – 20, 10am – 3pm

Students will learn how to build their own drone from scratch, which they will keep at the end of the session. Taught by a Drone Prototype Product Developer and university professor, this intensive workshop designed for students who want a deeper understanding of how to assemble, program, and operate drones.

For more information & registration, contact:

STEMSKILLS: Summer Tech Camps & Pre-Employment Skills for Students with Disabilities
Ages 15-20
Sessions: Jul 2-6 (except Jul 4), Jul 9-12

STEMSKILLS offers camps for young people with autism, ADHD and LD. It will give students interested in STEM fields a change to learn necessary skills to thrive in the workforce.For more information & registration, contact:

STEM Summer Camps from Mindframe Education
Rising Grades 3-6 & 6-12
Weekly Sessions from Jul 9 to Aug 17

Mindframe summer camps include hands-on, project-based activities with real world tools with topics ranging from robotics programming and app creation to website development and digital filmmaking.For more information & registration, contact:


Sundays, 1 – 4pm
Tiny Woodshop Series
Have a passion for woodworking, but very little space? This series will cover building shop furniture, using and maintaining hand tools, and working in a small space. With these skills and some inexpensive tools, you can build a tiny woodshop of your very own.


Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Open House tour helpers, 2nd Saturday fo each month
  • Helpers Nova Labs activity tables, STEAM Day, National Air and Space Museum at the Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Volunteers get free parking, free day access to museum
  • Fall interns at college and high school level
  • Wiki Information Maintainers

Contact if you’re interested!


Zany Pillows, Empower2Make, and Artisan Ana Lopez Visit

June 2018 Newsletter


Nova Labs’ Crafter’s Cove is pleased to welcome a state-of-the-art PFAFF embroidery machine! The pillow featured is created by Nova Labs’ very own design team, Suzanne and Jeff Chanesman, on a similar machine. Click on this link for a tutorial!

About this time last year, Nova Labs rolled out our first safety policy and formed a safety committee. Over the last year, the committee has made tremendous strides in creating a culture of safety. As a next step in our work with roles and responsibilities, we are transitioning the responsibility for safety to a team. Patrick Thompson is the team lead. Thank you Patrick Waters for your leadership is bringing the shops to this point. Thank you Patrick Thompson for taking the lead moving forward.

In May, Nova Labs kicked off the month with special guest Elizabeth Dougherty, acting deputy director, USPTO, presented in partnership with INCA. Girl Scout troop #6036 came out and were inspired by the deputy director. Likewise, we were inspired by the scouts – who had done their homework on innovation.

This June, Nova Labs is thrilled to welcome Anna Lopez, author and artisan. Startups Ignite is offering summer internships. For the youth, Nova Labs is hosting summer camps. Explore these opportunities and more!

Marybeth Haneline Signature



It’s been awhile since we’ve done a survey to understand who is part of the Nova Labs community and why or how they use the wide range of resources, so we’ve come up with one and we need your help to get as many data points as possible. This will help us determine what workshop areas and interest groups need going forward. Please take a few minutes (we’ve timed it, it should take no longer than 5-10 minutes) to help us gather some information. Thanks!

>Provided by Brian Jacoby



Nova Labs and Maker Faire NoVa will have a table at the Capitol Hill Maker Faire on Tuesday 6/12/18. The CHMF is sponsored by Nation of Makers and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and there are two sessions: panel discussions from 9AM-2PM and Maker Faire from 5PM-8PM.

Admission is free.

For more details:
Questions, email

>Provided by Margaret Kositch


The upcoming TEQ Strategy Teen Summer Drone Workshop will be lead by Fred Briggs, Adjunct Professor at James Madison University & Product Developer at TEQ Strategy.

TEQ Strategy Teen Summer Drone Workshop
Session 1: July 9 – 13, 10am – 3pm
Session 2: Jul 16 – 20, 10am – 3pm

Students will learn how to build their own drone from scratch, which they will keep at the end of the session. Taught by a Drone Prototype Product Developer and University professor, this intensive workshop designed for students who want a deeper understanding of how to assemble, program and operate drones.
For more information & registration, contact:


Nova Labs Robotics

These workshops are put on by Nova Labs Robotics teen mentors and coaches. The lead mentor is Elena, captain of Marshall High School FRC Team 5549 – in her fourth year of volunteering with Nova Labs Robotics.

Nova Labs Robotics: SuGO Bots

Rising Grades 4-6
June 18 – 221-4pm

Learn about mechanics while building robots with LEGO EV3 Mindstorms. The camp culminates with a robotics sumo challenge with family and friends welcomed in as the cheering section!
Register: Labs Robotics: Robot Makers 
Rising Grades 5-9
July 30 – Aug 3, 9am – 4pm

Build and code a robot to solve increasingly complex challenges. Kids will get to bring their strategies to life with servos, sensors and LEGO EV3 Mindstorms.
STEMSKILLS: Summer Tech Camps & Pre-Employment Skills for Students with Disabilities
Ages 15-20
Sessions: June 25-29Jul 2-6 (except Jul 4), Jul 9-12

STEMSKILLS offers camps for young people with autism, ADHD and LD. It will give students interested in STEM fields a change to learn necessary skills to thrive in the workforce.
For more information & registration, contact:
STEM Summer Camps from Mindframe Education
Rising Grades 3-6 & 6-12
Weekly Sessions from Jul 9 to Aug 17

Mindframe summer camps include hands-on, project-based activities with real world tools with topics ranging from robotics programming and app creation to website development and digital filmmaking.
For more information & registration, contact:



June 26, 7-8:30PMIn Flux: A Metalsmith’s Journey” Ana M. Lopez

Ana M. Lopez is a recognized metalsmith, educator, and decorative arts scholar. Her creative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. She is also the author of the reference book, “Metalworking Through History: An Encyclopedia.” In this talk, Ana will discuss the development of her creative work over the course of two decades.

Her work is currently on exhibition at the Delaplaine Arts Center in Frederick, Maryland, from May 5 through June 24. More information about her can be found at


Team Paper Towel Dispenser (Tony, Mana Momen and Jade Garrett) built a prosthesis for “need-knower” Jordan Reeves.

What if you could impact lives in just 72 hours? Are you ready to put your maker skills to the test?

Mark your calendars for September 14-16! Planning has begun for the next big makeathon at Nova Labs. Empower2Make is a 72 hour make-a-thon, in the style of our 2016 TOM:DC event. This amazing event combines teams of makers and people with disabilities to invent and build solutions for their day-to-day challenges. This is a powerful and real way you can use your maker abilities to help people in the community. Fully catered and supported by local sponsors, we just need you help. Maker application for this event are open now on our website,

For inquiries, contact:

>Provided by Bo Pollett Wernick


June 17, 2-4pm, How To Grow Almost Everything You Need to Eat Using Spirulina
During the zombie apocalypse, what will you do for food? Using the fast-growing and nutritionally-dense superfood, spirulina, you may never have to worry about meeting your basic nutritional needs ever again! Learn essential tips and tricks of how to grow your own fresh spirulina and the different dishes you can prepare with this beautiful green powerhouse.

Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:
    – Electronics Steward
    – Wiki Information Maintainers
Contact if you’re interested!

Accelerate24 Summer Cohort 

The application for the Startups Ignite Accelerate24 Summer Cohort is currently open. Nova Labs Incubator and Regional President of Startups Ignite, Callye Keen, would like to invite any entrepreneur at Nova Labs to apply.
The Accelerate24 is a three-month program which introduces powerful concepts that help entrepreneurs develop vision through action. Startup Ignite provides mentorship, tactical support and a community that learns together.

Spots are very limited, but participants will receive an incredible level of support from

Click HERE to complete the application. Due by June 14. 
More information about Startups Ignite can be found on their website.


Nova Labs has acquired some new PFAFF embroidery equipment!  This includes a Creative 4.5 machine with an embroidery unit plus multiple hoops, 8 spool thread guide, as well as 6 licenses of the Premire+ Ultra software. The workflow on this machine matches our current PFAFF Creative Vision machine in Crafters Cove. Classes are in the works for projects with general usage as a focus. They will also include sign off for these machines. Please contact with ideas/interest.

>Provided by Jeff Chanesman 



Updates in Crafters Cove are a continuing process. As our membership needs change and grow we to obtain tools our users find useful. Occasionally in anticipation of future use we take on tools or donations as appropriate.

During the past quarter we have added several items of note:
* Stamps & punches, swivel blades & rotary cutter for leather working and tooling
* Pop up Table top photo booth – 2ft x 2 ft, with lights, camera stand & 3 color backdrops
* A Pfaff sewing machine was donated by Jeff Chanesman toward the end of 2017, and we were then able to purchased an embroidery attachment in anticipation of new classes.
* Thanks to an anonymous donor we have received a 2nd Pfaff Machine
* Grommet Press
* Newer Paper Trimmer donated by Mike Hoyer

It’s been almost 2 years since we did the micro-fundraiser for the Silhouette machines and they are being used regularly, as are the sewing machines, the heat press and a wide variety of smaller tools. Tool requests are actively considered and several have been acquired as time and budget permits.

Our membership and several of our visitors have been very generous over the last few years. This includes our instructors who give their time to develop and teach classes. Tool donations are reviewed before being processed and made available. If you are interested in teaching a class – we can use more instructors for some items like the Sergers, or various projects classes.

There are a lot of tools and resources that have not been specifically mentioned. All members are welcome to explore Crafters Cove at their leisure. Some tools require Yellow sign off classes, and the Consew Industrial Sewing Machine is a Red sign off tool. We do ask that you respect the tools – read restrictions posted, report problems and make note of where you took a tool from and return it to that location when finished.

If you are interested in a more in depth introduction to what is available in Crafters Cove, just ask or stop by on Fridays. We look forward to seeing you!

>Provided by Carrie Hafer

Help build a massive Rosie the Riveter sculpture, and learn about 3D printing

On Monday, May 7th, Nova Labs kicked off a two-part event to help print out a 6-foot-tall statue of Rosie the Riveter. Calling all woman makers to come out next Monday, 5/14, to help print a part of Rosie!

You can sign up for a part here:
You’ll need a Google account so they can track who has what part 🙂

If you need help printing, we’ll have printers and helpers on hand Monday, May 14, 2018 from 7-9pm; we’ll also have a rack of printers dedicated to the project at Nova Labs in the Orange Bay.

You can mail in the parts yourself, or leave them in the Rosie Box and we’ll mail a batch in. Please send an email with your part # to – he’ll send you the tracking number when your batch ships.

Sign up here for next Monday:


ed note: As of 5/8/18 at 2:15pm, Paul and the Nova Labs community is at the top of the leaderboard for number of parts printed!

All the Nova Labs parts are being tracked in this Google Doc.

Summer Makerquests, Workshop, Camps, and Ask the Parent’s Panel, May 9th, 7pm

Find out about kids and teens activities at Nova Labs. Summer Camps, workshop, and classes. Our kid’s programming show case will be on May 8th, at 7pm. Sign up here:

Does your son or daughter have a passion for taking things apart, building things, or working with tools? Have you been wondering how to best encourage your young maker? Want to learn the best ways to include Nova Labs in your child’s learning this summer? Want to know more about Makerquests?

This event will answer those questions and more. Bring your questions!

– How to leverage Nova Labs to Make a Young Maker who makes
– Makerquests this summer
– Q&A with Nova Labs parents panel! We have assembled parents from our maker community who have successfully fostered their children’s love of innovation through the programs available at Nova Labs. Learn from the experiences of these makers of makers
– Upcoming summer camps. Speak to the camp organizers. Drones, all girls drones, robotics, programming, internships, maker workshops with equipment sign offs.

Nova Labs welcomes Elizabeth Dougherty, USPTO, Parents Panel, Spring Maker Market

May 2018 Newsletter


Elena working in the metal shop. Elena’s mom, Joanne, will be one of the parents participating in “Making Young Makers and STEM at Nova Labs” panel.

May celebrates Women in Making. Nova Labs kicks off the month with a keynote address by Elizabeth Dougherty, U.S. P.T.O, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition. This is made possible by Nova Labs partnership with Inventors Network of the Capital Area (INCA).

Sam Aparicio and I continue the work of the board working group on Roles and Responsibilities. The team leads are meeting monthly to collaborate across interest areas. This month, we welcome Jeanne Marshall as team lead for Outreach.

Team leads Jeanne and Jennyfer will represent Nova Labs at the Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON) in June. I was privileged to represent Nova Labs at one of the first series of Nation of Makers conferences at the White House a few years back. I found it inspiring to meet up with others engaged in the maker movement across the country.

In April, Nova Labs was a finalist for the Community Impact Innovator of the Year at the Greater Washington Innovation Awards hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Thank you Carl Hutzler for preparing a video that was presented at the awards celebration. Thank you Paul Chase, Margaret Kositch, and Brian Jacoby for representing Nova Labs at the events.

In April my work with Nova Labs was recognized at the Best of Reston, hosted by the Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones, and featured in the Reston Connection. Patrick Waters, Jennyfer Peterson, and Eric Link braved a freak spring snow storm to contribute to a video that also included footage by Launch 100. Leadership team volunteers, including Jennyfer Peterson and Bo Pollett Wernick, several directors, past and present, and youth leaders participated in the gala. There were also guests from partner organizations including Women in Technology leadership, George Marshall HS youth with the FIRST Robotics team captained by Elena Bachman, educator Angela DeHart and youth leaders in the STEM Impressionists program Angela founded. Suzanne Chanesman designed promotional literature, including Open House bookmarks that built on the success of an idea piloted at Maker Faire NoVa. I am deeply grateful to each of Nova Labs dedicated volunteers for the support.

The community service awards from the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Reston Chamber of Commerce, and Cornerstones show the strength of Nova Labs partnerships. These awards are a tribute to the many makers who work every day to build the successful community that was recognized. These recognitions make Nova Labs an award winning makerspace — something that can be used to attract more interest from potential members, donors, and partners.

Marybeth Haneline Signature


This month the board approved three new Key Members – We warmly welcome Mike Norusis, Kent Taylor, and Susan Parsons!

The board also approved to send a Nova Labs delegation to NOMCON (Nation of Makers Conference) this June in Santa Fe, NM. Our delegation will represent Nova Labs on the national level and collect useful information from other maker spaces around the country.

We also approved the purchase of a new lathe for the woodshop. This lathe will be mid-sized and will replace one of the current lathes that is currently co-located. Speak with Frank Sogandares or Mike Norusis for more information.

>Provided by Jim Girardi and Margaret Kositch


Elizabeth Dougherty, Director of Inventor Education, Outreach and Recognition at the USPTO’s Office of Innovation Development, speaking at the Smithsonian’s Innovation Festival.

May 2, 7PM, Encouraging Women and Girls in STEM and Making

May is “Women in Making” month at Nova Labs and we are kicking off our series of events with a special guest speaker on Wednesday May 2. Elizabeth Dougherty is the Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition in the Office of Innovation Development at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). She is frequently called upon to lecture, often to student groups of all ages, about innovation and creativity. She will be speaking about “Encouraging Women in STEM and Making.”

As Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition, Ms. Dougherty develops, implements and supervises programs that support the independent inventor community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and the intellectual property interests of colleges and universities. She also coordinates the agency’s ombudsman program for small businesses and entrepreneurs and has spearheaded a number of special projects to promote and support invention and innovation in the United States.

Special thanks to Kris Paul and our friends over at Inventors Network of the Capital Area (INCA) who helped organize this event. More information about INCA and their current calendar of events can be found at


May 9, 7-9PMMaking Young Makers and STEM at Nova Labs

Does your son or daughter have a passion for taking things apart, building things, or working with tools? Have you been wondering how to best encourage your young maker? Want to learn the best ways to include Nova Labs in your child’s learning this summer? Look no further than our Nova Labs parents panel! We have assembled parents from our maker community who have successfully fostered their children’s love of innovation through the programs available at Nova Labs. Experience from these makers of makers will be the topic of discussion as well as details about our upcoming summer camps. Bring your questions!



Open to all members and prospective members as an opportunity to receive updates on the community, provide input and meet your fellow makers. Pizza and networking before the meeting.

Our makers and local artisans will be peddling their wares. Homemade soaps, handspun wool items, jewelry, paper crafts, and much much more. Lab tours, live demos and fun for the whole family!

Ready! Set! GO! A series of races will take place using the TinyWhoop Drones. The first race will start at 12:30pm, with subsequent races every 30 min until 3pm. An awards ceremony take place at 3:20pm.


Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Electronic Steward
  • Helpdesk Software Evaluator
  • Wiki Information Maintainers

Contact if you’re interested!



The Metal Shop Roundup held on March 24th drew a tremendous crowd considering it was a very short notice. The shop was completely rearranged with equipment being placed near like equipment to make a much smoother operational area.
We’ve been running new kinds of classes including the garden art welding and a sheet metal. At the end of the month, we will have our very first ring making on the lathe class. All in all, exciting times in the Metal Shop!

>Provided by Douglas Newton


The new 3D Scanner is the HP SLS Pro S3 with automatic turntable. This is a structured light scanner (SLS) that works by flashing patterns onto an object with a projector and recording them. Out of the box, we can scan objects up to the size of a 500mm cube accurately, however, we can print larger calibration boards and scan even larger objects with high accuracy. The resolution of this scanner is 0.05mm and the structural accuracy of the scans is 0.5% the size of the object. Classes will start in May as this is a yellow tool requiring sign off prior to use.

>Provided by Zack Borschuk


I’m Sally Byers, the person behind Threadwitch Light & Fabric. I’ve been a fiber arts person all of my life, and have recently taken up electronic textiles. I’m still working on getting this web site set up, but I’ve put up some pictures of projects including, Loom LightingVolcano CoatHat That Lights UpGalaxy CoatFlower JacketMoon Flower Jacket and Flame Skirt.

Nova Labs Maker Market: Artisan Fair, Drone Swap Meet, Drone Races, May 5

Join us at Nova Labs Maker Market, our special showcase of our Artisans and our makerspace just in time for Mother’s Day. More interested in high tech? The market also features a Drone Swap Meet where you can buy, sell, or trade robots, electronics, and parts. Bring or make your TinyWhoop drone and participate in our drone race! Play in our magic sandbox, drive our robots, blacksmithing, woodworking, welding, and laser demonstrations. See below for a list of vendors.

Mark your calendars for a day of shopping, playing, learning, and just plain fun. The market is FREE and open to the public. If you want to try your hand at selling at either fair, contact!

The Maker Market is on Saturday, May 5th from 10am to 4pm. Get there early because many of the items are one of a kind. Looking for unique and special for Mother’s Day gifts? Handmade bowls, glass ornaments, mushrooms, jewelry, rings, and many other items to choose from

Vendor – Custom Engraved Art


The Drone Swap Meet is from 10am to 2pm. All are welcome to buy, build, socialize, talk tech, or show off your special mods. The DC Drone Users Group is sponsoring this event and will be on hand to answer your questions and help with technical questions. Sign up to sell your drones, robotics, parts, or tools; or just to have a display booth. Contact Fred Briggs. More informmaton:

And in the afternoon? Oh, boy, let the drone races and demos begin. First, we are going to clear Classroom B out and have drone races. This series of races will be based on the Tiny Whoop class drone. More information and pilot signup:

 While you are here, get a tour of our amazing maker space and try your own making in our craft making room.


Working on a hook

Image result for nova labs lathe kidsPlay with Mandy the robot, explore our magic sandbox, enjoy our virtual reality room, fly a drone, see the blacksmithers in action (3pm), watch a lathe or welding demo, and just hang out with the indigenous makers (they’re friendly!).

Makers/Artisans/Vendors: We encourage our artists, crafters, and inventors, both young and old. Metalworking, woodworking, electronics. Contact events

– Tables (approx 6X4) are $15 each. Limit of 2 tables please.
– Send some pictures of your products so we can pre-market your items
– Give me a brief description of your product please
– Send us your website/facebook/etc
– Table request must include # of tables


LOTS of free parking close to the door. While here you can connect and network with our growing community of fine artists, craters, and makers entrepreneurs.No automatic alt text available.

Blue Jay Cards

We still have a few tables left! A large inventory is not needed at this small, maker-centric fair. We have lots of public foot traffic who do not sign up on meetup. Get exposure to the maker community of what you make and who you are. Mother’s Day gift buyers are also attending. This is meant to be a relaxing day for everyone, including the vendors. Lots of laughter and community spirit. Nova Labs and DC DUG participants of all types can sell at this event. Don’t feel intimidated if you have a small inventory, You can even share a table with another maker.

Cleverly Concocted:  Flower/vases for Mother’s Day. Accepts pre-orders.
Tricia Radcliff: Painter,
Tricia’s son: 3d printed invention and robotics  costume will inspire young kids
Dave Fritts: Handcrafted gifts, bowls, glass birds, etc.
Ann Savage: Handmade bookmarks
Carrie Hafer: Jewelry
Sean Crane: Handcrafted rings
Rick Weil: Wooden bowls
Dan Menes: tools, art supplies, and materials such as wood, acrylic sheets, metal
Rebecca: Patterns, textiles and craft kits from Lee & Pearl
Kent Slowinski: Washington Monuments in acrylic
Joyous Yoga Soap, gift boxes for mom,
Brie Hayden: Dots Gone Wild, animal paintings,

Nova Labs Celebrates Women Who Make With May Events and Classes

Be like Wendy the welder!

Moms, girls, teens, wives, dads of girls, husbands of maker women, brothers of girls; we all have a role in encouraging makers who make. You are all potential mentors and supporters of women and girls in their quest to discover the joy of making things. 

Add these action items to the ToDo (or HoneyDo) lists this month ladies (and gents).

 Celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, May 13th. But first, drop by the Maker Market and Artisan Fair for your handmade gifts for your Mum or other special lady. She’ll love the awesome handmade art made with love by our makers and artisans. Bring her for a tour of the lab and show that she can join in on the making. Ladies, teens, and girls should join us throughout the entire Month of May for a celebration and encouragement of women who make. 

5/2/2018: Our keynote speaker and kickoff event.  Featuring Elizabeth Dougherty from the US Patent and Trade office where she is the Director of Inventor Education, Outreach, and Recognition.

“Encouraging women to participate in STEM fields is not an issue of competing with men or debating whether men or women are better these fields; it is about recognizing and accepting differences and the success that diversity can bring. ”  

Come meet some of great female makers in the metal and woodshops. Then, sign up for some of our women/girls-only shop classes during the month in the woodshop, metalshop, electronics, laser, and all over the makerspace.

 May 23: Women’s MIG Welding 101

View a Larger Image of Premier Cigar Ballpoint Pen Kit - Gold


May 20: Women’s Wood Lathe – Wood barrel pens. Learn to make gorgeous pens and other objects on the lathe.

May 12: Women’s Metal Yellow Shop Orientation


***More events to come. Tune back in to this blog post as we put more up on our meetup!***

Maker Faire NoVa 2018 with Theo Nazz a resounding success!


Maker Faire Nova 2018 goes to college! We have much to celebrate as Nova Labs hosted the 5th Annual Maker Faire in partnership with George Mason University.  This is a tribute to the vision and dedication of the Maker Faire committee led by co-producers Jeanne Loveland and Carl Hutzler.   Special thanks to the Maker Faire NoVa team.  Read more about highlights, including the return of Theo Nazz!

We have great news to pass on from the Maker Faire team alumni. Amy Shaw, co-lead of the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa, continues to make an amazing impact in our community. Amy, along with her colleagues at the South Lakes High School PTSA Food Pantry, will receive the distinguished Vade Bolton-Ann Rodriguez Legacy Award at the 2018 Best of Reston Awards for Community Service. This award has only been given four times since its inception. I recently ran into Amy around town and asked her if she was out on behalf of the pantry — which indeed she was. Generosity of time and talent is the hallmark of the Nova Labs community.

Marybeth Haneline Signature

Upcoming Member & Associate Meeting


For the month of March, the Board of Directors welcomes three new Key Members. A warm welcome to Elliot Roth, Alina Koos, and a welcome back to Charles Galpin!

The board also discussed several of the large capital expenditure requests on the table. We referred some back to their originators to gather more information. However, the metal shop will be pleased to hear that the board approved two requests – a vertical metal bandsaw and a horizontal metal bandsaw. These high-end saws will add new dimension to the metal shop.

If you are interested in making a pitch for a new tool at Nova Labs, please work with the steward to fill out a large capital expenditure request. The next cycle starts April 1 and all submissions are due by June 30th.

The board’s membership experience working group is developing a new member survey which will launch in April. In addition, the Tech Committee is close to selecting our enterprise-level Internet provider as well as completing the requirement for the AV buildout for Classrooms A and B – this AV upgrade will significantly improve our overall capability and audio-visual fidelity. All knobs are required to go to 11.

The board is also working with the Safety Committee to update and revise our safety policy. Keep an eye out for specific updates.

Nova Labs is a finalist for the 2018 Greater Washington Area Innovation Awards, Community Impact Innovator of the Year.  Winners will be announced at an event at the Hamilton Live in Washington DC on April 4. Thank you to Paul Chase, Brian Jacoby and Margaret Kositch for representing Nova Labs as part of this event.

Marybeth Haneline will be honored at the 2018 Best of Reston Awards for Community Service, co-hosted by the Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones. The honorees will be celebrated at an event on Thursday, April 12 at the Hyatt Regency Reston.

>Provided by Jim Girardi and Margaret Kositch



What a great day for Maker Faire NoVa 2018!  In spite of questionable weather in the days preceding and an actual snowstorm afterwards, the new partnership with George Mason University to host Maker Faire NoVa 2018 was a resounding success. More makers participated, more attendees came, including GMU students, staff and faculty, and everyone saw and engaged with interactive exhibits to their great delight. Everyone enjoyed Makey who made his first appearance at the Faire. There was a definite maker energy in the air.

With three buildings and several outdoor locations, there was room for makers to show their stuff and for the larger attendance crowd to spread out and explore. There were about 140 maker exhibits, 10 speakers, and 11 Maker Ed speakers. Some of our favorite exhibits included NASA, Cutaway CreationsFairfax County CERT, Lofaro Labs, Dogwood Think-A-Bit Lab, and of course, the blacksmiths including our featured blacksmith Theo Nazz and the Nova Labs blacksmithing group. There were actually too many to list, the entire list can be found here.

Many Nova Labs members either participated or staffed Nova Labs booths. There was almost always a line at The Soldering Station, coordinated by Patrick Thompson, where they created a used a new custom-designed board.  The Take Apart tables, organized by Shashi and Ellen (logistics by Brian Jacoby), were always full. Nova Labs Robotics worked with other area robotics teams to provide lots of different robotics activities. Our young visitors never tired of Craig Trader’s Chaos Machine. The cardboard boats from Lake Anne Cardboard Regatta, organized by Sam Winkelstein, were very popular. Other Nova Labs makers included: Jim Call – Idea to Product at NOVA Labs; Paul  Chase – Nova Labs Makerspace, Jeff Chanesman – Machine Embroidery – From First Steps to Fruition, Lauren Capehart – 57 Chapters about Textiles, Ethan O’Toole – LED video screen / laser projections, Bo Pollett – Rhinohawk, Fred Briggs – Drones, Patrick Waters (aka woodshopcowboy) – woodworking, Gravity is Optional (Dave Fritts and Robert Clemenzi) and the Magic Sandbox (Nick Carter, @localmicro and @Elena) and others.  Speakers from Nova Labs included Mike Hogarty & Callye Keen, Sam Aparicio, and Jennyfer Peterson.

Thanks to our sponsors who helped make this event possible. A special thanks goes out to George Mason University for being our Event sponsor and working with us to bring the Faire to new audiences. And many thanks to the 241 volunteers who helped with so many aspects of the Faire.  Nova Labs is especially grateful to the dozens of volunteers who faithfully return year after year.

And special thanks to the Maker Faire NoVa team, led by co-producers Carl Hutzler and Jeanne Loveland, for all their efforts and providing such an awesome showcase for Nova Labs. The Faire leads include: Brian Jacoby, Sara Bradley, Asma Chaudhary, Tae Edell, Jade Garrett, Nick Grzeda, Paul Hancher, Becky Howick (GMU), Lauren Hubbard, Jeanne Marshall, Shane Smith, Todd Snedden, and Taylor Sweeney. We have expanded our reach into new areas and look forward to future ventures. As the Faire grows, more team members are needed, so let us know if you’d like to help.

We’d love to see your pictures to add to our archives. Please upload hi-res photos to Maker Faire NoVa Dropbox.  Feedback welcome at

>Provided by Brian Jacoby


Knife makers and fans of the History Channel’s Forged in Fire show got to see Theo Nazz, Champion of Champions, make a blade from start to finish this year at the Maker Faire NoVa.  Theo followed that up the next day with a master class at the Nova Labs makerspace on how to make a knife with an integral bolster or guard.
Forging alongside Theo was a Forged in Fire contestant named Josh Fikentscher who gave a demonstration of how to melt down iron with carbon to make steel.  Fikentscher showed us how to make “bloom steel,” which is similar to the ancient steel from Damascus that shows crystalline patterns throughout the metal.  His methods are modern, but the steel has the same qualities as the original.  Josh will come to Nova Labs later this year to demonstrate this technique again.

Theo’s knife making class was the first in a series of bladesmithing and blacksmithing master classes at NOVA Labs.  We are working to bring more smiths from Forged in Fire, as well as some of the top smiths from the East Coast and beyond, to teach in Blacksmith’s Alley, behind the makerspace.

We plan to teach beginning through master classes on a wide range of subjects, including:
•    Playing with patterns: forge welding layered Damascus steel
•    Twisted beauty: making patterned Damascus from crane cables
•    Turning farrier’s rasps into scaly snakes and other art
•    Using heat to create gold, blue and purple patinas on steel
•    Heat treating steel to make it hard and springy
•    Forging hammers, tomahawks and axes
•    Making metal look like wood by etching wrought iron
•    Knives on sticks:  forging spear heads
•    Decorative twists for furniture, door handles and railings

Come join the Twisted Metal Blacksmiths for these classes, or forge with us every Saturday or Sunday.  We have fun with our metal, combining modern tools with traditional skills to make everything from steel jewelry to furniture, battle axes and swords.  We are not your grandfather’s blacksmiths.  Check it out for yourself at Nova Labs of Reston.

>Provided by Bill Steinhardt

Nova Labs Robotics 12787 – FIRST Super Regional East Competition

Nova Labs Robotics FTC Team #12787, foolS TEAM ahead, participated in the FIRST Super Regional East competition March 16-18 in Scranton, PA.  The event included the top 72 FTC teams from Maine to Virginia advancing from state championships.  The team proudly displayed Nova Labs orange in its booth and on the field.  The makerspace elements of the robot captured a lot of attention from judges and other teams.  Our robot showcased Nova Labs CAD, Laser cutter, Woodshop, Metalshop, 3D Print, CNC, vinyl cutter and heat press for our shirts. We had lots of discussions with other teams on makerspace connections in their communities.  People were impressed with the capabilities of Nova Labs.

The robot performed well – nearly flawless on autonomous on all matches and scored well in operator mode. The makerspace fabricated parts held up through tough competition matches.  When all the points were tallied, we did not make the cut to advance.  But we had a great time trying and learned a lot.

We debuted an new XL version of the 3D Print Group marble machine at the booth.  It attracted ‘kids’ of all ages the entire three days. Many thanks to all of the Nova Labs makers who helped us and the other Nova Labs Robotics teams this season.  It’s awesome that members support youth in this important STEM activity.

>Provided by Eric and David Link


It may have been 65 million years since dinosaurs roamed Reston but thanks to Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live, they roamed the CenterStage for a delightful hour.  Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live Delivers laughs, science and most importantly, big dinosaurs, to small audiences. In the show audience members met baby hadrosaurs, giant dragonflies, Tyrannosaurus and Titanosaur. How did they see such ancient long-dead beasts? Through the magic of puppetry!

These giants of the past were brought alive by talented puppeteers. These aren’t your everyday puppets either. These beasts sport intricate mechanical manipulations, even full body puppets with integrated cameras. It doesn’t take long before you forget they are simply puppets and fall headlong into a journey into the past – adults and kids alike.  “The giant puppet looked realistic!” my science-loving son said about the show. Eight-year olds are notoriously hard to impress, and this one certainly was.
Creative theater like Dinosaur Zoo Live makes the CenterStage and the Reston Community Center such an asset to the community.   You can check out future programs and give your support by visiting their schedule at

>Provided by Patrick Waters


April 8, 2 – 4PM, Introduction to Welded Sculptures and Found Art Projects
Learn the basic skills needed to make welded sculptures and found object artwork. Each student will make their own sculpture based off a frog design.

April 12, 7 – 9:15PM, THREE WAYS to INLAY – Designing Wood Inlays for Box Covers & Beyond
Attendees will learn THREE ways to quickly add Inlays to their wood projects such as box covers. Techniques will use the laser cutter, heat gun and demonstrate which adhesives should be used.

April 14 & 15, 9AM – 5PM, Geometric Marquetry/Inlay Class
Learn the art of marquetry from master woodworker, Dave Heller. Spend two full days exploring the art of of using pieces of wood veneer to form works of art. This class is sponsored by the Washington Woodworkers Guild.

Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following
-Electronics Steward
-Wiki Information Maintainers
Contact if you’re interested!


Looking for new work opportunities?  Check out the #job-postings channel on our Slack workspace.