January 2018 Newsletter


Generosity and Gratitude. These traits play well together and are found in abundance at Nova Labs. The Shops and Orange Bay overflowed in December with diverse gift projects underway by makers. The banner photo in this newsletter features a hand-crafted, customized cutting board that is finding its way to into the hands of valued teachers and under many trees, thanks to one of the shop’s popular classes.

In the week before Christmas, as the Board convened for the year’s final work session, we were surprised and deeply touched to receive a gift of appreciation from the maker community. The cleverly constructed, laser cut box filled with chocolates cast with the Nova Labs gear is truly special for the thoughtfulness and collaboration that went into the creation. Special thanks to Steve Fritzinger for leading this effort; the gift is warmly received.

We are grateful for the generosity that make Nova Labs possible. The makerspace is a hub of activity thanks to the many skilled volunteers running the front desk, open hours, shops, classes, technology, membership, marketing, facilities, events, entrepreneurship program, and more.

Happy New Year!

Click below for the rest of the newsletter!


Maker Market: 2nd Annual Maker Market brought in an estimated 400 visitors

On Saturday, December 2nd, we welcomed holiday shoppers to the Holiday Maker Market.  It was a huge hit with an estimated 400 guests passing through the makerspace between 10am and 4pm.  Fifteen talented makers and artisans peddled everything from homespun yarn and 3D printed ornaments, to embroidered pillows and turned wooden bowls. Much of the work was handcrafted at Nova Labs or made on the industrial machines, and Nova Labs is proud to support the community’s entrepreneurial endeavors.

For many of the shoppers, it was their first time at Nova Labs, so the volunteers were busy giving tours of the makerspace. The Augmented Reality Sandbox and the Arduino Muscle Controlled Arm were favorites with the kids.

The market is such a success, the events committee is looking to schedule the next Makers Market early in the new year!

Links to some of the makers can be found below:



Firefighters, law enforcement officers, and paramedics risk their lives to save ours. From everyday emergencies to national disasters, each situation presents unique challenges. Technology has the capacity to revolutionize operations and change lives. Help us create innovation with impact through the Launch100 First Responder Challenge.


About the Competition

Red Blue Collective, Teqstrategy, and Nova Labs are organizing a nationwide competition to crowdsource solutions to the challenges of first responders. Participants from a network of makerspaces and colleges will develop solutions to real issues. A network of mentors will help guide participants through milestones in a Lean product development process. The competition will result in a demonstration event with corporate sponsors, investors, and community members. All proceeds will benefit Nova Labs.

About Launch100

Launch100 is the event program of Red Blue Collective. The goal is to reduce the barriers to physical product innovation by fostering an entrepreneurial ecosystem. Events help us bring startups attention to incredible community spaces like Nova Labs. If you would like to help with this event or the mission, contact Callye Keen.

>>> Provided by Callye Keen 

HAPPENINGS: Nova Labs Robotics Update

Update: FIRST Robotics

FTC #12787: FoolS TEAM Ahead

The newest member of the Nova Labs Robotics family of FIRST teams is chugging along. FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC) Team #12787 is composed of six high school students operating as a student-led unit with Nova Labs Key Member Eric Link as Captain. The team is focusing on demonstrating how a Makerspace enables success for FIRST Teams at FIRST Lego League (FLL), FIRST Technology Challenge (FTC), and First Robotics Challenge (FRC) levels. The team incorporates many of Nova Labs’ capabilities into its robot, including knowledge gained in classes as well as interacting with members. All team members and mentors are Green-certified and several hold advanced certifications that have supported building their competition robot, including the following:

  • 3D Printing and CAD – custom fit parts (assisted by Paul Chase)

  • Metal Shop – expert help on fabricating linear slide components (assisted by Sam Steele)

  • Laser Cutter – prototype chassis, custom wood parts, engineering notebook cover, booth centerpiece (assisted by Patrick Thompson and Paul Chase)

  • CNC Mill – polycarbonate chassis (assisted by Zack Borschuk)

  • Vinyl Cutter – custom T-Shirts (assisted by Zack Borschuk)

  • Woodshop – custom robot sizing and transport box (assisted by Patrick Waters)

  • Raspberry Pi and Arduino power the interactive team booth display

We would like to thank the Nova Labs Key Members mentioned above for their expert guidance throughout the manufacturing of each component.  Special thanks to Brian Jacoby, Curt Welch, and Shane Smith for ad-hoc mentoring. The team is made possible through the support of the Nova Labs Robotics leaders and the Nova Labs Board of Directors.

The robot is controlled via a pair of Samsung S5 phones.  Programming is done in Java. The first 30 seconds of a match is autonomous and the remaining two minutes is driver controlled. Points are scored based on the objectives of the challenge.

The team was highly successful at the December 2 competition at Battlefield High School in Haymarket, VA.  The team received praise for innovation and creativity in design, build, and performance of the robot.  The team booth promoted Nova Labs, prompting many “What’s a Makerspace” questions. The team advanced to the State Competition to be held in February. Learn more about the team HERE.

The team looks forward to continuing to represent Nova Labs and it’s awesome network of ‘Maker Mentors’ in the next round of competition.

>>> Provided by David Link


My name is Max Levine, and I am an aspiring artist and woodworker. I recently graduated college with a degree in sculpture, and after publishing photos of my year-long project, (see Flickr link below), I received an exciting commission for another large scale sculpture.  This one utilizes a rather complex computer model design I have generated through the use of a programming environment called grasshopper and Rhino 3D (see photos). While in the midst of this exciting project, Techshop, where I had been working full time on this project post graduation, shut its doors.  With less than a days notice, I had to empty my locker and close up shop.  With so much money and time invested in my project it was imperative that I find another shop as quickly as possible.  I had promised my customer a prototype and needed to get back to work.  I found Nova Labs and I can honestly say I was blown away and inspired by the kindness and helpfulness of its members in helping me to get back to it.  I received certification on the woodworking tools, and had many members take a personal interest in my project and offer their help, and more importantly, their ideas and perspectives.  Thank you so much Nova Labs!

A link to more photos of my past work: https://www.flickr.com/photos/marcslevine/albums/72157679110853533/with/33977842356/

Contact: maxlevine1026@gmail.com
Instagram: @max.e.levine

One thought on “January 2018 Newsletter

  1. Woo! Glad to see the FTC legacy being carried on by Nova Labs! Maybe they’ll exceed 8702’s old record this year!

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