Don’t miss out on being part of Maker Faire NoVa!

Time is running out to be part of Maker Faire NoVa!

Deadline extended! Submit by Sunday, January 21!

Maker Faire NoVa
The 5th annual Maker Faire NoVa is coming up on Sunday March 18 from 11AM-5PM and we’d like to invite you to be an exhibitor! It’s one of the biggest events of the year for Nova Labs! Last year we had about 140 exhibitors and speakers and 5,000 attendees.
You do not have to be a Nova Labs member to be a Maker Faire exhibitor, by the way!

Here are six reasons why you should join us this year.

Cardboard robot at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa

Cardboard robot at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa – photo by Tim-Stahmer.

  1. If you are not selling anything, an exhibitor booth is free. If you are selling something, it’s $150.
  2. We are looking for makers of all types—the bottom line is that your exhibit should be about something you make and want to talk to others about. We are looking for 3D printing exhibits. rocketry, robotics, fiber artists, beekeepers, artisans, blacksmiths, woodworkers, glass and ceramic artists, Minecraft pros, programmers, STEM programs for kids, printmakers, LEGO fans—what else you got?
  3. It’s a chance to meet interesting people of all ages
  4. This year it’s at George Mason University—so free parking!!
  5. Free t-shirts and free admission for all volunteers
  6. It’s more fun than grownups usually have

There are lots of ways to get information about Maker Faire NoVa.

3D printers on display at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa

3D printers on display at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa – Photo by Anna Kulyk

General info is here:
The application for exhibitors is here:
The email address for the Maker Recruitment team is here and we’d love to help. 
Teaching kids the wood lathe at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa

Teaching kids the wood lathe at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa – photo by Anna Kulyk.

Thanks, and we hope to see you there!
Maker Faire NoVa 2018 Organizing Committee

Time is running out! Submit your application by Sunday, January 21, 2018!

Nixie Tube Clock by Bob Cogeshall

Nixie Tube Clock by Bob Cogeshall, photo by John Nelson

3D Printer Build Group 11 is here!

Build your very own 3D printer at Nova Labs!

The 11th 3D Printer Build Group is launching on December 9th, 2pm, at Nova Labs. On that date we’ll be putting together a kit that anyone can purchase, assemble, and turn into their very own Nova I3 3D printer. If you’ve got time to help assemble, please sign up here:

The 3D Printer Build Group meets every Monday evening from 7-9pm to assemble kits.

Kits will cost $450 for Nova Labs members, $500 otherwise, and may be purchased at any time, but will not be ready for pickup until the 9th. There will probably be kits available for some time after the assembly, but they are sold on a first-come first-serve basis. If you have any questions feel free to email Paul Chase – paenian at gmail dot com – or come to any of the 3d Printer Build Nights, every Monday evening from 7-9pm.

If you’re interested in joining the build group you can email Paul Chase: paenian at the gmail dot com

The printer we’re building is the Nova I3, which is a high-end printer for a mid-range price.
Features include:

  • Genuine E3D hotend, capable of printing high-temperature materials
  • Heated Bed
  • 24v motor and heater supply for high torque and fast heating
  • 200mm cubic build area
  • LCD & SD card for computer-independent printing
  • Available upgrade to dual-extrusion

The frames and 3d printed components are made right at Nova Labs; we’re also looking for volunteers to cut frames and print parts.

Laser Cutting

If you’re trained on the laser I could especially use help cutting – each kit comes from a single sheet of MDF, and takes ~40 minutes to cut. After cutting, the parts are stored in our boxes waiting for the kit assembly. Please contact Paul Chase, paenian at gmail dot com if you can spare some laser babysitting time 🙂

3D Printing

All the parts are printed by volunteers; they’re up on my Github page:

The full_plate.stl is everything needed for a printer, about 12 hour print on a BG machine. The other three plates combine to make the same parts if you have a smaller machine. Parts must be printed in (recommended) PETG or ABS; color is not important. Again, please contact Paul Chase, paenian at gmail dot com if you’d like to print a set or two :-)​

An open letter to the TechShop community

An Open Letter to TechShop Members and TechShop-powered businesses

As makers, we are deeply saddened to hear that TechShop closed its doors this week; we believe in the Maker Movement and want to do everything we can to help makers in our community. The Nova Labs makerspace in Reston, VA would like to welcome TechShop members and TechShop-powered businesses.

Nova Labs projects

 Here are a few practical ways to get involved:

  • Let us help you finish your projects. Our volunteers will help you get access to the tools and resources you are familiar with at TechShop. Please fill out this form to help us understand how we can help.
  • We can support your maker business. We will assign a dedicated liaison to help you find the resources you need including desk space, training, and tool re-certification. Please fill out this form to help us understand how we can help.
  • Consider becoming a member. All new members start by signing up on our website, and taking the GO (Green Orientation) class. You can be part of a strong, sustainable, volunteer-driven community with a multitude of interests: woodworking, metalworking, blacksmithing, electronics, arts & crafts, 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, CNC, and more. You can even start your own interest group!
  • Come to our membership party. You are welcome to join in our upcoming member meeting/meet and greet. RSVP is appreciated.

Some Background on Nova Labs.

We are a 10,000 square foot facility with 50% workshop and 50% office and classroom space. We have many of the same tools and equipment found at TechShop locations including two large scale, high power laser cutters, nine 3D printers, full electronics workbench, full woodworking and metalworking shops, 4×4 foot CNC router, and 4 axis Matsuura CNC machine.

The focus at Nova Labs is on community. We are member-driven and volunteer based. Everyone at Nova Labs supports the cause through teaching, maintenance, and development. We love networking, so be prepared to meet your fellow makers and make some new friends.

We look forward to meeting you,

Nova Labs Board of Directors:

  • Marybeth Haneline, President
  • Brian Jacoby, Vice President, Founder, Past President Jim Sweeney, Treasurer
  • Lieselot Whitbeck, Secretary
  • Jim Girardi
  • Tom Welsh
  • Sam Aparicio
  • Margaret Kositch



Following is a link to an open letter for Tech Shop members from:
Dan Shapiro, CEO, Glowforge
Zach Kaplan, CEO, Inventables
Ayah Bdeir, CEO, littleBits Electronics
Max Lobovsky, CEO, Formlabs


Nova Labs "Orange Bay"

The Nova Labs “Orange Bay” is hopping during an event, with many makers showing off their projects and answering questions.

Mentors at Nova Labs

Nova Labs member Jeff C. helping a maker during an event.

Small Batch Assembly

Nova Labs’ first incubator space occupant (and still going strong), Small Batch Assembly, explains the pick-and-place machine for building complete PCB boards.


Fun with Appliqué and Embroidery – multi-tool projects at Nova Labs

Ed note: This article was provided by Jeff Chanesman, a Nova Labs key member and steward in the woodshop, laser lab, and instructor for our CNC embroidery machine. Look for sessions on our Meetup page.

Applique pillowThe embroidery machine isn’t just for embroidery. Suzanne and I made these fun pillows using appliqué. Appliqué is the sewing of fabric onto larger piece of fabric to create pictures. The only thread used in this example is black. All the colors you see are pieces of fleece cut on the laser cutter and then sewn into place. It’s like painting with cloth!!!

This was very easy to do with the embroidery software we have at Nova Labs; Hatch from Wilcom. Shapes are imported or created and the converted to appliqué. This not only automatically creates the stitches to hold it in place but also creates stitch outlines for placing your pieces of fabric. You can then print out a template for cutting out your fabric “parts” or print them to PDF so you can convert them to DXF for laser cutting. I was able to cut out the eye, iris, and mouth for twenty of these pillow guys in less than 15 minutes including setup.

A bunch of pillows

You could easily make all sorts of projects using this technique. From potholders to stuffed animal friends.

I will give you an overview of instructions for doing this below, but remember you need to be signed off on the embroidery machine (and laser cutter if you plan on using it to cut your fabric) in order to sew these at Nova Labs. Hatch software is installed on all the machine in the CAD lab and you are more than welcome to use it but I would strongly encourage you to take the class. It is easy to use but can be daunting at first, especially if you are a first timer, as there are many specialized tools and settings.

Digitize AppliqueSuzanne created the initial design in Adobe Illustrator but you can use anything including Inkscape or CorelDraw (in fact if you happen to have CorelDraw X6 it integrates directly into Hatch). I had her size it to the exact dimensions she wanted and then saved it as a PNG. You then import the PNG into Hatch for digitizing. Using the Appliqué toolbox from Hatch’s left side menu. Digitize your shapes and then use the Object Properties toolbox from the right side menu to select fabric type as well as the kind of stitches to be used. This is also where you can select whether or not you will be using pre-cut fabric, or if you intend to trim in place.

Objects menuFor my project I chose pre-cut. Once you are done with each piece, save and export to the desired embroidery file type. You can then print out the templates to PDF. The machines in the CAD lab have the “Microsoft Print to PDF” as one of the printer selections. Choose this and save the file to a known location.
Import this into Inkscape or similar and save/convert it as a DXF in millimeters for importing into the laser software. If you are using Fleece, 400 speed 70 power works pretty well.

Hoop your fabric and stabilizer on the embroidery machine.

Load and run your embroidery file. The first stitch will be your placement. It will outline the location of where to place your pre-cut fabric pieces and then stop. Spray the piece with temporary fabric adhesive and place onto your fabric. Start the next part of the file which will tack and stitch your cover. Move on to each piece until complete.
Let me know if you have questions or if you would like a class specific to this sort of project.

Applique pillow eyeball

Parts of the eye after the outline (for placement) and tack-stitch were finished. The next step will be a satin stitch to cover the edge and provide a solid outline around the parts.


Nova Labs at the 1st Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta

The Nova Labs Navy

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017On Saturday, August 12, Nova Labs participated in the first Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta! The regatta, hosted by the Reston Museum at Lake Anne, went from 2 PM to about 4 PM and had over twenty participating teams – three of which were from Nova Labs! One boat was built by a Nova Labs team and another built to represent the Maker Faire NoVa – both participated in the Navigator Class (adults and students). Another craft, called the “Tetraheboat” built by Paul Chase, competed in the Skipper Class (adults).

Cardboard skeleton for the Nova Labs boat. Photo by Curt Welch.

Cardboard skeleton for the Nova Labs boat. Photo by Curt Welch.

Teams were only allowed to use cardboard, duct and masking tape, wood glue, and water-based paints. The Nova Labs boat, which utilized advanced CAD design, a gratuitous amount of laser cutting, and an innumerable number of human-hours, was voted “Most Likely to Float” during the design contest.

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017

Maker Faire NoVa’s boat embodied the spirit of teamwork, learning, and making. While Maker Faire’s boat did not make it far past the launch point, the craft turned out beautifully and got the word out about the fantastic Maker Faire NoVa. This team also won third place in the Navigator Class! Boat Maker Faire NoVa was crewed by: Shane, Jackson, and Dylan Smith.

Paul and his Tetraboat. Photo by Jim Girardi.

Paul and his Tetraheboat. Photo by Jim Girardi.

Tetraheboat was constructed with no plan – just a humble experiment with nature’s favorite platonic solid. Tetraheboat initially did a flip in the water and then pressed on to survive the rough seas of Lake Anne for a full run of over seven minutes. Scandalously, endurance was not a metric for award. Tetraheboat was commanded by the now-infamous Paul Chase.

Overall, the contest was filled with impressive and creative designs, good sportsmanship, exciting races, and spectacular sinkings (best sinking won the coveted “Titanic” award)!

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017For the Navigator Class, team Nova Labs came in First Place at 2:16. The team was awarded an epic cardboard trophy which was also designed and built by the Nova Labs team – out of cardboard, no less.

Talking about Tetraheboat. Photo by Shane Smith.

Talking about Tetraheboat. Photo by Shane Smith.

Nova Labs and Maker Faire NoVa were in-kind non-profit sponsors of the event and ran a dry dock booth with supplies for quick, last-minute repairs. Remember, you can never bring enough duct tape!

Many thanks to all the volunteers, including the organizer Jeanne Marshall, Sam Winkelstein, Shane Smith, Curt Welch, Richard Freytag, Paul Sorensen, Dave Fritts, Carl Hutzler, Keane Peterson and the numerous makers who dropped in on occasion. In addition, a shout out to the dry dock volunteers including Lieselot Whitbeck, Sally Byer, and Jennifer Meinelp!

For more information about the event, please visit the Reston Museum.

For more photos and videos of the event, please check out these galleries:

Andrew Albosta | Jim Girardi

Curt Welch videos: Team Nova Labs | Tetraheboat

>>> provided by Jim Girardi. Photos by Andrew Albosta unless otherwise indicated.

September 2017 Newsletter


Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017

Nova Labs closed out summer with a splash! Nova Labs made many wonderful contributions to the inaugural Reston Cardboard Regatta – look for a detailed post on the blog soon.

eclipseLater in August, Nova Labs was a great place to experience the Solar Eclipse. There were two live feeds in the Orange Bay. In one feed, NASA tracked the Solar Eclipse across the continent. The other traced the view from the front lawn, using a specially equipped camera set up by Nova Labs’ own Bryce Peterson. The DC Area Drone User Group (DC DUG), the Smithsonian, and TechShop DC-Arlington generously provided solar eclipse glasses for safe viewing. Nova Labs Robotics workshop participants joined with a few dozen members and guests in the activities. Aimen, one of the participants reflected, “I had fun watching the great American solar eclipse.”

Along with the summer adventure, work continued through the summer months to support Nova Labs’ membership. In August, the board adopted the Nova Labs Membership Policy. This follows earlier work done to provide the Safety Policy and Code of Conduct. Together, these documents provide guideposts for Nova Labs’ growing membership. We are grateful to Patrick Waters for leading this effort.

There is an open search process for a director to serve a partial term, and we recently welcomed Jim Girardi, our newly appointed director and treasurer. Scroll down to Updates for more on this.

Thank you,



UPDATE: Board of Directors Service Opportunity

Nova Labs is currently seeking a volunteer to serve as secretary on the Board of Directors with skills in communications. Responsibilities include community building, strategic communications, and strategic planning. Before starting board service, the selected individual must agree to key membership, if not already.

The open term is through 2018. Lieselot Whitbeck is serving as secretary in the interim.

Interested individuals will have an opportunity for a conversation with Nova Labs community leaders, facilitated by Callye Keen. To nominate a candidate, or volunteer yourself, please contact Callye or one of the directors.

>>> Provided by Jim Girardi

Nova Labs Key Member Andrew Albosta traveled to Tennessee to view the total eclipse. His Facebook Live videos were viewed at the Nova Labs viewing party, and he came back with this stacked photo of the entire eclipse.

Nova Labs Key Member Andrew Albosta traveled to Tennessee to view the total eclipse.
His Facebook Live videos were viewed at the Nova Labs viewing party, and he came back with this stacked photo of the entire eclipse.

August 2017 Newsletter


LFP-featureimg“Team Ethiopia needed a hex driver so I borrowed one from Team Bahamas.” Maria, one of the teen volunteers from Nova Labs, was problem solving at the 2017 FIRST Global inaugural international robotics challenge for youth at DAR Constitution Hall. Maria was aware that there was a spare parts station with a line (staffed by yet another Nova Labs volunteer). Yet she recognized that this inter-team swap was a quicker solution, leveraging relationships she had just formed with these international teams. This is just one exchange illustrating the value that volunteering at FIRST Global brings to teens – teens who rose before dawn to arrive at the competition by 6:30 a.m., five days in a row – and were exhausted, yet eager, for more after the closing ceremony.

At the inaugural FIRST Global challenge, there were robotics teams representing nearly 160 countries, all under the same roof, for four intense days this July. Nova Labs provided hundreds of volunteer hours from dozens of teens and adults over the last several months, culminating in the competition. This newsletter highlights a sampling of the latest efforts. Over the years, Nova Labs, which places a high value on outreach, has fostered collaboration with mentors and robotics teams at area schools, positioning us to step up to this amazing service opportunity. The opportunity shines well-deserved national attention on Marshall High School teens who went above and beyond to make this a success.

FIRST Global President, Joe Sestek, recently shared with the volunteers, “Please know that without you, FIRST Global would not have been the measure it was…you made its reach go beyond our grasp, and I will always be beholden to you for that.” I echo the sentiments of this former Navy admiral and statesman, who expresses so elegantly for FIRST Global, the gratitude I feel for Nova Labs volunteers. Volunteering is what Nova Labs does best. I am humbled by the strength and quality of Nova Labs volunteers that come through for our fledgling organization, time and again, and allow us to realize more than I can imagine.





This month, the board continued the effort to hire Nova Labs’ first paid position. As you’ll see in this month’s newsletter, we’ve posted the job description. We’re very excited about taking this first step into our next phase of the nonprofit world.

This month, Nova Labs made two capital acquisitions – a new flammables cabinet for the woodshop and a new industrial sewing machine for the Crafter’s Cove. Both should be setup in short order. In addition, the board also approved the purchase of a defibrillator (AED) for emergency situations.

As for internal board news, Jim Sweeney is working with Jim Girardi to transition the treasurer office in the coming months. Also, there is an additional open board position, stay tuned for more updates on that.

As always, please feel free to reach out to the board members on Slack, e-mail, or in person if you have any questions, concerns, or creative ideas (that’s a given!).

>>> provided by Jim Girardi


HAPPENINGS: Industrial Sewing Machine Arriving

IndustrialSewing_img2The Crafters Cove just got an incredible upgrade, we are expanding our capabilities in multiple areas…with one new device.

The Consew 206RB-5 industrial sewing machine is capable of sewing a wide range of materials from regular fabrics to almost a 1/2 inch of leather. Other materials include all weights of canvas, multiple layers of the heaviest denim, any cordura nylon fabric, neoprene, thick quilts, etc. Basically, whatever that can fit under the foot can be sewn with a few exceptions, of course. So you will be able to tackle and complete a wide variety of interesting projects.

Classes on the use of the new sewing machine will commence around mid-August.

IndustrialSewing_img1Since this machine is able to sew leather, beginning leather working classes using the sewing machine will start before the end of August.

Leather working is a broad area and one class, broken into two sessions, will in no way cover the gamut. It will, however, provide a space for those interested in exploring the wide world of leather work.

>>> provided by Kirk Slowe (including LEATHERWORK)

[ Kirk Slowe, Nova Labs Associate, previously a member Tinkermill, a larger makerspace in Colorado (they have over 450 paying members).]


HAPPENINGS: Dog Days of Summer with Nova Labs’ own Robotics Workshops

>>> Provided by Elena Bachman, Workshop Lead and FRC Team Captain 5549

Lead Mentor Elena is in her third year volunteering with Nova Labs Robotics. FRC Team 5549 received national news coverage for their work mentoring Team Iran for the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge this July.

NBC Now:

NBC Washington:


HAPPENINGS: Marshall High FRC Team 5549 Mentors Team Iran at Nova Labs

TeamIran_img1Over the course of the FIRST Global happenings at the makerspace, it was brought to the attention of the volunteers that it was impossible to ship a kit of parts to Team Iran due to tight security and sanctions. Thankfully, local FIRST Robotics Competition Team 5549 from Marshall High school stepped up to lend a hand. Through a series of Skype calls, pictures of designs, and late nights, the team built a robot from the FIRST Global kit according to the designs and strategy of Team Iran.

TeamIran_img2After weeks of work in their school as well as the Robot Corral, they finally welcomed Team Iran at the airport on July 11th. The teams returned to the corral for a Persian feast generously donated by Amoo’s Restaurant of McLean and a happy introduction to the robot. Over the course of the competition, members of Team 5549, volunteering for FIRST global, continued to help out the team as well as the whole event. Team Iran departed on July 25th, having witnessed the experience of a lifetime.

>>> Provided by Elena Bachman, Captain, FRC Team 5549

HAPPENINGS: Volunteering behind the scenes with FIRST Global

Volunteering at GlobalFIRST Global brought to Nova Labs an official competition field in early summer for use in training and demonstration. Not only did officials train on the field in the Robot Corral, it was also used for Team Afghanistan who was denied a visa until days before the competition. Afghan Americans practiced running Team Afghanistan’s robot in the Robot Corral in preparation to stand in for the Afghan team.

A hardy team of volunteers battled the sun, heat, humidity, and birds to install the practice fields on the south veranda of DAR Constitution Hall. It was teamwork of the highest degree (figuratively and actually). There was even a volunteer who answered the Meetup call for volunteers and trekked downtown to assist.

There was a slight delay because the foundation platform on the veranda was not wide enough. We pressed forward to assemble all of the pieces we could, and positioned them for final assembly when the platform was widened. It took a solid team of build professionals to make it all work. Despite the heat, we accomplished much in a few hours. We stayed hydrated and got way cool FIRST Global water bottles.

During breaks, we cooled off inside Constitution Hall. Lots of activity to ready the venue. Country banners galore and serious activity to set up the main stage. Note: the AC works really well inside – it was comfy cool inside.

>>> Provided by David Link

Field Leaves Nova Labs  |   Set-Up Practice Field  |  Inside Field Setup  |  Competition

HAPPENINGS: Portable Magic – Nikki Rooney, Seed Grant Awardee

Have you ever been to an escape room? If so, you’ve probably see the myriad ticks, puzzles, codes, and technology that make them fun and engaging. Nikki Rooney, one of Nova Labs’ seed grant awardees, became involved in puzzle solving and puzzle making almost 10 years ago – this love of code breaking, clue finding, and problem solving inspired her to moonlight at an escape room (right in Herndon!) where she gained experience running the rooms, brainstorming puzzles, and even working on some of the electronics.

Through her work, she realized that the same puzzle theories, combined with available technology, could be utilized to help kids learn, explore, and improve critical thinking and problem-solving skills while, at the same time, having a “magical” experience. Since no such thing existed, she took it upon herself to use what she had learned to create interactive puzzles for her children. And what’s even better? Her kids don’t have to go to an escape room as she’s made them portable – and as anyone who’s traveled with kids knows, mobile entertainment is always a challenge. Like an actual escape room, all the puzzles are connected through content, but unlike an escape room, they are all physically modular. For example, one of her projects, a jigsaw puzzle, when completed, lights up and gives a clue to the next puzzle.

Nikki’s creations use multiple technologies that’s she’s learned about through her work experience as well as through Nova Labs classes. These include Arduino, Raspberry Pi, RFID, reed switches (reacts to the presence of a magnetic field), and more. We’re excited to see the final versions of her imaginative designs.

UPDATE: Board of Directors Service Opportunity

Nova Labs is currently seeking a volunteer to serve as secretary on the Board of Directors with skills in communications. Responsibilities include community building, strategic communications, and strategic planning. Before starting board service, the selected individual must agree to key membership, if not already.

The open term is through 2018, to complete the term of Kelli Kedis Ogborn, who recently resigned. Lieselot Whitbeck is serving as secretary in the interim.

Interested individuals will have an opportunity for a conversation with Nova Labs community leaders, facilitated by Callye Keen. To nominate a candidate, or volunteer yourself, please contact Callye or one of the directors:

Contact Info for Board of Directors  |  Callye Keen

UPDATE: Nova Labs is Hiring!

Nova Labs is hiring its first paid position – a makerspace coordinator! This is an important moment for any non-profit – the hiring of its first paid staff. We’re looking for a customer service superstar who can coordinate events at the makerspace, ensure they run smoothly, make everyone feel welcome, and assist the President with membership management tasks.

Initially, this will be a part-time position of roughly 20 hours per week (position may be shared). We’re excited about this important step as Nova Labs continues to grow and prosper.

Direct Referrals  |  Job Description

>>> Provided by Jim Girardi

Reston Museum’s Cardboard Regatta sets sail Saturday!

LakeWeigh anchor for the 1st Reston Museum Cardboard Regatta!

Preparations for the Reston Museum’s 1st Cardboard Regatta are wrapping up at Nova Labs. Two boats have been taking shape over the past several days – one for Nova Labs, and another for NoVa Maker Faire. Both will be ready to go for the race.

Please come and cheer us on, or volunteer for the repair booth that is being staffed by the Nova Labs community.


The main event is THIS Saturday, August 12, with the race starting around 2pm. Location is the Boat rental area at Lake Anne Plaza

More details at the event website.

Check out some of these photos of the construction of the two boats:

Reston Museum Cardboard Boat Regatta – 8/12/2017

Summer fun for makers – cardboard boat race in Reston!

Cardboard boat hull

The hull of boat #1 is largely complete!

Nova Labs and Maker Faire NoVa will sponsor and staff a boat repair clinic & dry dock at Reston Museum’s Cardboard Boat Regatta. Both Nova Labs and the Faire will enter a boat in the regatta, too!

Cardboard hull pieces

Hull pieces cut on the laser cutter


A cardboard boat race!


Saturday, August 12th from 2-6pm


Boat rental area at Lake Anne Plaza

Join the fun:

Please consider joining our boat build sessions! They’re held evenings and weekend afternoons between now and race day at Nova Labs – look for sessions listed at

Cardboard boat hull being assembled

Boat #1 coming together

You can also help out the day of the race at the Nova Labs dry dock tent. Volunteers will have spare cardboard and duct tape to assist race teams with last minute boat fixes and answer questions about Nova Labs and the Faire. Contact [Jeanne Marshall] if you are able to help (see the email in the Chatter list serv).

 If you’d like to enter your own boat, you’ll find rules and registration at the event website. If you can’t help out in advance, please come to Lake Anne Plaza to cheer on our 2 boat teams!

We look forward to seeing you at a boat build or on race day!

Paper boat prototype

Paper boat prototype

July 2017 Newsletter


“Here is the original 3D printed prosthetic hand.” 3D Printer build group lead Paul Chase demonstrated the working prosthetic as we prepared for the FIRST Global Innovation Awards. Next Paul pulled out a newer model hand with missing components that didn’t work. “Why would I want to bring that?” I asked. Paul answered my question with a question “Is there value to iteration?” So I packed the hand to showcase the progressive nature of innovation the next day with young entrepreneurs (John Link pictured leading the demo). All of the participating teams presented innovative ideas that won a spot in the final rounds of the international pitch contest. I asked if anything had changed since the regional competition that led up to this event; Every team had improved on their design.

In addition to Nova Labs encouraging young entrepreneurs at the FIRST Global Innovation Awards, Nova Labs hosted Launch100 — our inaugural pitch event to foster entrepreneurship in the broader community served by Nova Labs. Launch100 is featured in this issue with the focus on the entrepreneurship called out in our mission.

The value placed on iteration is serving Nova Labs well as we continue with the initiative to roll out policy in an iterative fashion, learning and listening as we go. A Safety Policy and Code of Conduct have been approved. The shop is reorganized to better serve our growing needs — a huge effort that affirms the wonderful commitment of the volunteer membership to keeping our space beautiful and functional.


The Board is pleased to welcome Jim Girardi to the Board of Directors following a search to fill the vacancy from the previous treasurer’s resignation. Jim, an enthusiastic maker and member of Nova Labs, brings financial skills and a love of entrepreneurship. Jim Sweeney and Jim Girardi will work on transitioning the treasurer role over the coming months. Please join us in welcoming Jim Girardi to this leadership role.





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