November 2018 Newsletter




TechShop sign over our Shop Entrance

Last year at this time, Tech Shop abruptly shut its doors. Nova Labs was uniquely positioned to lend a helping hand to the small business owners in their time of need. This brought out the best in Nova Labs members, who are compassionate, resourceful, and talented. From this leadership challenge, Nova Labs went on to reorganize, testing out a slightly different leadership model, in which team leads were identified to form the core leadership team, in collaboration with the board. The team leads and board have now met consistently for ten months. In the most recent meeting, a newly opening incubator was discussed, and there was fresh energy and innovation around ideas for how to use this space. More on this later in the newsletter. This is just one example of how the team leads model serves Nova Labs well, and positions Nova Labs for meeting upcoming challenges.

Not to be missed in November – the Green Way Roundup! On the weekend of November 17 and 18, the wood shop is a hub of activity as a load of lumber is transformed into cool shop furniture.

Happy Making!

RSVP FOR UPCOMING MEMBER MEETING (Wednesday, December 12, 2018 – 7:00 PM)


The board welcomes key members Margie Foster and Erickson Foster. Learn more about Margie and Erickson in this newsletter.

Last month, the board interviewed several candidates for the upcoming board positions. The board meeting to bring on new board members and elect officers was postponed until December to allow scheduling of a final round of board interviews. We also have been in discussions with our current landlord in order to get a firmer timeframe on when we will need to vacate this property…more to come on that later in the month.

In addition, if you purchase things from Amazon, please consider switching to and selecting Nova Labs as the beneficiary. Doing this shifts 0.5% of your purchase price to Nova Labs as a donation, at no expense to you! It’s a simple way to help Nova Labs!

>Provided by Jim Girardi & Marybeth Haneline


Seeking Artist or Artisan for Incubator

The Red Blue Collective‘s expansion to a larger space of their own creates an opportunity for others who’d like to benefit from and contribute to our Makerspace. We’re seeking to fill the space with people or firms who’d complement the skill and experience sets of our current incubator community. Accordingly, preference in consideration will be given to artists or artisans. Incubator participants contribute time and talent to Nova Labs. The participation fosters leadership and growth. Key membership is required of incubators, with preference given to applicants who have a history of investment in Nova Labs. If interested, please let us know by completing the interest form and we’ll be in touch about next steps. For more information, please feel free to contact Jeanne Marshall or Patrick Thompson.

>Provided by Jeanne Marshall

Apply for Incubator


Lieselot Whitbeck hosting the Chinese Delegation.

On Thursday, October 17, we had the privilege of hosting the Chinese Delegation. There were 20 people who attended. They took lots of pictures and asked a lot of questions. While some seem familiar with the concept of maker spaces, for others it was a new idea. They had some basic questions about our founding and funding and they were interested in how we got started and how we stay open. They also asked about government regulation of maker spaces. They seemed surprised when we told them that starting the space was relatively simple – a few guys with an idea and a bit of money. We explained that no one actively regulates Nova Labs, apart from the fire marshal, and that we get limited assistance (or guidance or control) from the government apart from our tax-free status as a non-profit.

All in all, a very successful visit – with help from Jeanne, Bob, and Bo.

If anyone knows another group that may want a presentation/tour (like a Rotary club, Government organization, or tech team), feel free to let the board know – We are always happy to host and share the joy of making.

>Provided by Lieselot Whitbeck

Don Williams

In partnership with the Woodworker’s Guild, Nova Labs welcomed VIP speaker, Don Williams, during his visit in October. Don is a conservator, educator, scholar, and all around inquisitive guy, having worked on some of the most interesting objects and historic buildings in our nation’s public and private collections. He has developed, managed, and presented educational programming on an array of subjects in the fields of conservation, woodworking, and wood finishing, and has published and presented scholarly research on subjects like ancient coating materials and craft techniques, and created pioneering uses for traditional and modern materials, including some of his own invention. (From Don’s Barn: About Don. )


Jeremy has worked very hard to bring the metal grinder up to high standard. Thank you, Jeremy, for your work and dedication!

Here’s Jeremy’s report: The belt grinder has a couple more upgrades. All of the plastic wheels have been replaced with aluminum wheels which seems to have fixed the issue with the belt wandering.

The drive wheel is also smaller which means belt speed is slower but the grinder seems to have more power now.

We also have a 10″ contact wheel now. It is medium hardness so it should give a very nice finish but please make sure you are keeping your piece cool so it doesn’t wear out prematurely.

I will hold a couple of free classes to go over all of the new attachments, functionality and some new tips for better grinding in the next few weeks.

Knife samples from our Blacksmiths’ Group

> Provided by Jennyfer Peterson


An example of Rick’s work

I’ve been turning for about 5 years now in my home shop. I escaped from the box farm (retired from my IT job) one year ago in August, discovered Nova Labs this past Spring, and started teaching bowl turning at NL shortly afterwards. I developed a couple of classes – bowl turning, and lathe tool sharpening – and am working on a bowl/vase design curriculum. I love the willingness of NL members to share what they know and to lend a hand in what others are doing. I love the way the community encourages participation and exploration. I love the multi-generational and multi-faceted nature of the community. And I love all the neat tools I get to play with. Since I’ve joined N-L, I’ve been exploring metal working, welding, laser-cutting, and blacksmithing. Not that I need more hobbies – skiing, diving, hiking, and landscape photography pretty much ensure I don’t lack for things to do when I’m not being a maker. I have several websites. My etsy store is on life-support at t he moment, I really need to post some items for sale, but its URL is My portfolio site is It’s a little dated as well, I need to post some of my recent work. Too much making, not enough publishing!

Beautiful work, Rick!


Nov 17 & 18: Green Way Roundup
Need a LOT of makers to help with a major rework of our Green Way shop commons. You can learn, learn and HELP make a BIG difference. This is an area we ALL use regardless of our home tribe. Learn more & RSVP: Green Way Roundup. Signup for a crew here: Crew signup

Nov 19, 6:30pm: VIP visit! Gina Waldhorn, CEO of Quirky “The Quirky World of Licensing”
Join us for a presentation by Gina Waldhorn, Quirky CEO. Ms. Waldhorn will share some tips and tricks for using Quirky to help you secure a licensing deal or even outright acquisition. Gina Waldhorn was named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of 2017’s Most Daring Entrepreneurs. She will join our meetup via Skype. This event is in partnership with INCA. Learn more: Quirky

Nov 22, 1:30pm – 6:00pm: Maker Thanksgiving Potluck
Our highly successful holiday Maker meal is back by popular demand! We’re gathering for a friendly potluck Thanksgiving dinner featuring turkey, ham, brisket, and all the delicious things you’ll make and bring. This is great for anyone not traveling home for the holiday who wants to share a meal, conversation, and plenty of laughter. More Info & RSVP: Potluck RSVP What are you bringing?: Meal/Dish Signup

Nov 28, 7pm: Nova Labs Safety Meetup
Join us for a discussion of our maker space safety and emergency needs. Are you interested in or experiences with any areas of safety? Do you want to find ways to contribute to our community? Do you have a safety and emergency management question or need you want to help discuss or ask about? Please RSVP: NL Safety

Dec 1: Maker Market & Artisan Fair – Need YOU to be a vendor
Calling all vendors/maker/entrepreneurs/hobbyists! Get a table for only $15 (Request your table here) at our Maker Market and Artisan Fair on Saturday, December 1, from 10am to 4pm, and we want YOU to be there to sell your awesome creations! Artists, crafters, and inventors in general are welcome. We will have 22 tables and they are going fast! We are expecting over 400 people who will see your awesome stuff. For more info & RSVP: Maker Market.

>Provided by Jennyfer Peterson


NOVA Pass is an access control system for NOVA Labs tools. NOVA Labs members use their badges to activate the tools. The system checks the member database to confirm they are they are signed-off on the tools. The project will eventually be released to open source in the hopes that other maker spaces may benefit.

NOVA Pass is being developed in-house by software and hardware developer member volunteers. If you are a software or hardware developer and would like to help, we’d love to hear from you.

NOVA Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Programmers needed for NOVA Pass development effort
  • Front Desk Volunteer for Monday evenings
  • Outreach Team: Website, social media, photos, marketing, and outreach to external communities
  • Open House Tour helpers, 2nd Saturday of each month
  • Interns at College and High School levels
  • Wiki Page Maintenance
  • Graphic designer for fliers & marketing
  • Crafter’s Cove: Admin Steward to assist Carrie
    Contact if you’re interested!

October 2018 Newsletter



Newsletter Highlights:

Newsletter Highlights:
  • Letter from the President
  • Board Updates
  • Now Recruiting for Nova Labs Board – Closes October 26
  • American-Made Solar Prize
  • Empower2Make
  • Volunteer Appreciation: Celebrating Round Up
  • VIP Visit: Josh Hix of Plated
  • Highlights in October
  • Member Spotlight
  • Call for Volunteers

Letter from the President

Brandon Davies-Sekle & Tracee Garner: E2M Team Wheel Chair Desk

When I came in to prepare for the September member meeting, one of the Empower2Make teams was engaged in a follow-up. Brandon Davies-Sekle and Tracee Garner were here at NOVA Labs continuing to work on the project. Not shy at public speaking, both were happy to share their stories with the membership meeting that evening.

Tracee works for a nonprofit that hires a large percentage of people with disabilities called Loudoun ENDependence (LEND). Her colleague at Loudoun County Area Agency on Aging (AoA or AAA) knew Bo and the E2M mission, and was able to get Tracee connected.

Brandon, a previous Tech Shop member, joined Nova Labs and was recruited for E2M while using the ShopSabre CNC. Brandon jumped in, happy to contribute. I love this story because the ShopSabre was made possible because of the prequel to Empower2Make – TOM-DC. Sponsorship funds raised for TOM-DC were used to purchase the ShopSabre in time for the earlier event and since has provided a much appreciated addition to the makerspace. This is the give and take made possible at Nova Labs. Each event builds on the success of the earlier one and stretches us. Read more about Empower2Make in this issue!

Be sure to check out Nova Labs’ newest venture: Engaging with the Department of Energy Solar Prize Competition – especially for makerspaces, in partnership with the Nation of Makers. Please come Tuesday, October 2, to learn more, at a special information session, with special guests from the Nation of Makers: Jade Garrett, Program Manager and Jeanne Marshall, Virginia State Ambassador for Making. There are many ways to get involved.

Happy Making!


Nation of Makers/Department of Energy

Compete in the American-Made Solar Prize

Come to the Nova Labs Solar Challenge Meetup on Tuesday October 2nd at 6:30 pm to learn more information on how to compete to win part of the $3 million dollar prize by creating a 90 second video and answering four questions!

The American-Made Solar Prize is a $3 million prize competition designed to accelerate and sustain American solar innovation through a series of prize competitions. Competitors will have access to a diverse and powerful support network that leverages the expertise of national laboratories, energy incubators, and other resources across the United States. The Solar Prize is a series of three progressive competitions that will incentivize the nation’s innovators and entrepreneurs to rapidly discover, research, iterate, and deliver new solutions to market. Submissions are due October 5th.

Solar Prize Info Session

Board Updates

This month, the board approved a new Key Member, Tiffany Winsor. Welcome, Tiffany! We also submitted all information for our FY17 taxes which should be filed on-time this year.

The board also approved a Greenway renovation proposal from the Woodshop and Metalshop stewards. The renovations will make the Greenway easier to organize, cleaner, safer, and more welcoming to new members.

The board continues to work on expanding liability insurance coverage for our instructors who are legally referred to as 1099 sub-contractors. The board has already approved a budget to cover the expansion of our umbrella policy and we will activate it as soon as all the paperwork is completed. The board will send out an update once the new policy is active.

As mentioned in the recent member meeting, the TechComm team is working on a new website. Margaret Kositch has scheduled several web listening sessions. Please check MeetUp for details.

We also met with Joel Leonard, a well-known maker in the national circuit. Joel discussed many strategies for raising money and engaging the community. We were very excited to meet Joel and were thankful for his insights and lessons learned.

Lastly, the board is recruiting! As you might have heard, we’re looking for new board members. Please read below for more information.

>Provided by Jim Girardi

Now Recruiting for Board Members – Closing October 26

Nova Labs is currently recruiting for the board, and is especially interested in candidates with one or more of the following:
Some bookkeeping experience
Basic knowledge of cash-based GAAP accounting
Experience reading balance sheets and profit and loss statements
Experience with non-profit finances
Experience with Quickbooks
The Nova Labs board recruitment fall round is closing on Friday, October 26, but there is still time to find out more:

Please come to a Meet-the-Board session:

Wednesday 10/3 at 7PM
Wednesday 10/10 at 7PM

Please contact any of the members of the Board recruitment committee if you are interested in learning more or have someone to recommend as a Board candidate:

Margaret Kositch, (lead)
Lieselot Whitbeck,
Jeff Nicholas,
Jade Garrett,

>Provided by Margaret Kositch

If you are ready to apply for the Nova Labs Board, here’s the link to get started:
Apply for Nova Labs Board

Empower2Make | A Make-A-Thon for Assistive Technology
The Empower2Make (E2M) Event was a huge success for everyone involved. Over 60 makers, innovators, volunteers, and need-knowers converged on Nova-Labs for a 72 hour make-a-thon to make this possible. They formed into Six teams that worked together with their Knower and Pro Makers to develop some amazing assistive technology:

Team Car Chair created a removable vibrating/massaging chair seat system that helps their Knower’s legs while in the car.
Team Skateboard enabled a blind skateboarder to get haptic feedback while skating and used machine vision and signals to allow their Knower to navigate a skate park.
Team Foot Scooter designed and built a custom addition to their Need Knower’s shoe to help him walk better on his own.
Team Hand Raising fabricated two LED indicator panels controlled by a discreet custom 3D printed joystick to allow their Knower to be able to get people’s attention and communicate his needs.
Team Head Pod redesigned a neck support system so that it would comfortably fit their Knower’s head.
Team Wheel Chair Desk fabricated a slim and portable desk that helps their Knower throughout the day be able to get tasks done.

We are excited for the next make-a-thon around the corner April 12-14, 2019! Makers, innovators, need-knowers, and sponsors can sign up on our website below.
Web: Email:

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

Volunteer Appreciation: Celebrating Wood and Metal Shops –

Wood Shop Awards presented at the Fall Wood Shop Roundup

Woodworker of the Year: Woodworker who most exemplifies the Nova Labs Maker ethos Zach Borshuk for his amazing efforts building segmented vases, maintaining any and all equipment, selfless community mentorship and volunteerism and attention to detail while making pokeballs.
Shop Volunteer of the Year: Maker Volunteer who has made the biggest impact in the past the year. Dual awards given to Frank Sogandares and Doug Calvert for their tireless efforts keeping the shop organized, clean and in working order. A fantastic duo, so give them your gratitude.
Mentor of the Year: Maker who has taken time out of their busy schedule to give back to you and others. When you must go to the mountain top, you go to Larry Root. Is their another woodworker as knowledgeable or as willingly to guide you down the shining path? Maybe, but they ain’t in our shop.
Social Media Maven/Over-Sharer of the Year: The maker with the biggest mouth and is always showing off their latest, greatest, sweetest project! Our local wood-turning guru, Rick Wiel. If you haven’t seen his work, you are missing out. Absolutely incredible. The type of work that inspires you to do something with your maker self, if only your jaw could get off the floor.
Over-Engineer Engineer that Could of the Year: For the maker who bites off a little bit more than they can chew….EVERYTIME! Brian Kidwell. Ask him about the maple/walnut table that also doubled as a dog house? Or was it a dog-house that doubled as a two-toned table for different decor?
Who Made That? Maker Of the Year: An award of ambition, if not completion. Often given to the maker who leaves their completely weird project on the shop shelf….just because…. This year, we award this to Aaron “Paduk” Goldstein, a maker of argyle end-grain cutting boards, modernist menorahs and more!
Slacker of the Year (Maker who Contributes Most Online): Your Slack friend and mine. Nick Carter, proud maker dad who always has something useful to add to the conversation.

> Provided by Patrick Waters, aka WoodShopCowboy

Metal Shop Roundup

On Saturday, September 8th, our maker community came together for what has become an end of summer tradition, the Metalshop and Woodshop Roundups.


In the Metal Shop, 16 people signed up for the meetup, but many more showed up and contributed. We stripped apart the welding and fabrication area and cleaned and organized everything from floor to ceiling! Even toothbrushes were used to clean equipment to a level not seen since they were removed from their shipping boxes! Thanks, guys!


Phase two of the day kicked in with a project to build a new sheet metal rack and to resolve an important safety issue of securing our inert gas tanks to the wall. Everyone helped cut steel for parts of the project, including a well-known wood shop hero who stepped up to contribute his weight to the work!


The results for the day were outstanding! It’s such a joy to be part of such an outstanding and energetic community that can work together to make our organization such a great place!

> Provided by Curt Welch

Josh Hix Visit

Nova Labs partnered with Josh Hix, Co-Founder and CEO of Plated for an event on September 20, focusing on Engineering a startup.

Josh Hix, has built three companies from scratch (two were sold, one is still running), some technical business-to-business products, and one direct-to-consumer food delivery business (Plated). Having grown up with an engineer as a mother, and earning an electrical engineering degree himself, Josh very much approaches the world with an engineering mindset. He has applied this to engineering – and building – companies from inception to hundreds of millions in revenue, and where this mindset has been a help, and on occasion a hindrance.

Biography: Josh is the Co-Founder and CEO of Plated, which is on a mission to make it easy to eat well by building a data science driven perishable food supply chain and empowering people to cook more. To date, Plated has shipped millions of meals to over 95% of the United States, and partnered with the Albertsons Companies family of grocery brands in 2017 to create the first truly omni-channel meal kit experience. Josh received his MBA from Harvard Business school, a BS in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech, and founded two SaaS businesses prior to Plated.

Highlights in October

American-Made Solar Prize Info Session
Come to the Nova Labs Solar Challenge Meetup on Tuesday October 2nd at 6:30 pm to learn more information on how to compete to win part of the $3 million dollar prize by creating a 90 second video and answering four questions! Sign Up Here: Solar Prize Information Session

INCA Meetup
Inventors Network of the Capital Area Oct 9th MeetUp

An evening with Dr Lonnie Johnson – the inventor of the Super Soaker and Nerf Guns! Hear about “The Power of Perseverance” from this world class inventor and NASA engineer. Dr Johnson, who holds over 130 patents, will discuss his NASA engineering and inventing history, and the determination he needed to find success. Tuesday, Oct 9th at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Full event info at: INCA Meeting 10/9 RSVP

Highlights in November

Greenway Roundup

On Nov. 17th and 18th, the Greenway will undergo a huge renovation. If you are interested in helping build out a new space, learning to use woodworking equipment and adding your mark to Nova Labs, this is the event to do it! Be on the look out for more information as we get closer to the date.

Greenway Roundup – Nov. 17
Greenway Roundup – Nov. 18

>Provided by Patrick Waters

Maker Spotlight
Adam Winsor
Adam Winsor is making a big impact on Nova Labs! Adam has been making some pretty radical Halloween decorations and has encouraged many to join him in getting spooky! They’ve been meeting almost every Friday evening, but the official meetup is every two weeks (signup below!). You will be amazed at the costumes, decorations, and community. Come join us! RSVP here: GET SPOOKY!!

>Provided by Julia Smith

Call to Volunteers


Nova Pass is an access control system for Nova Labs tools. Nova Labs members use their badges to activate the tools. The system checks the member database to confirm they are they are signed-off on the tools. The project will eventually be released to open source in the hopes that other maker spaces may benefit.

Nova Pass is being developed in-house by software and hardware developer member volunteers. If you are a software or hardware developer and would like to help we’d love to hear from you.

Sign Up here for the next info session: NOVA Pass

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.

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
  • Graphic Designer for marketing Flyers
  • Crafter’s Cove needs a serger and/or Sewing 101 Instructor
  • Crafter’s Cove: Administrative Steward to assist Carrie

Contact if you’re interested!

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

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.

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.


Maker Faire NoVa with Theo Nazz at GMU on March 18

March 2018 Newsletter

Global Leadership Reception at the Mexican Cultural Institute

Mónica Martínez Lopez (right), Educational Liaison with the Mexican Cultural Institute greets Maria (center) and Marybeth Haneline (left) of Nova Labs at the Global Leadership Reception, February 2, 2018. Photography by Ricky Bowden, Prime Media Solutions.

The Olympics are the inspiration for the FIRST Global robotics challenge for youth to be hosted this summer in Mexico City, following the inaugural competition this past summer in Washington D.C. at DAR Constitution Hall. Nova Labs volunteers provided critical support over the past year at the enormous undertaking for the new venture. This February, youth leadership from Nova Labs were special guests together with dignitaries from around the world welcoming Mexico as the host country for 2018. Introducing youth leadership to enriching experiences is one of the most rewarding aspects of my volunteer work.

Just as FIRST Global anticipates new possibilities with their move to Mexico City, Maker Faire NoVa welcomes a new host partnership this year. Nearly two years ago, the Maker Faire NoVa steering committee recognized the value of forging new host partnerships for the Maker Faire and began exploring options. This March, that vision is realized as Maker Faire NoVa is proudly hosted in partnership with George Mason University at the George Mason campus. We are indebted to the all-volunteer team led by co-producers Jeanne Loveland and Carl Hutzler for this significantly elevated production. Special thanks to the second lieutenants who lead major areas: Sara Bradley, Todd Snedden, Taylor Sweeney, Asma Chaudhary, Margaret Kositch, and Brian Jacoby.

Rediscover the Joy of Making at Maker Faire NoVa at George Mason University on Sunday, March 18! Maker Faire Nova Tickets are on sale now and are available at a discount before March 14th.

Marybeth Haneline Signature



This month, the board welcomes Doug Newton as our new Metal Shop Steward and we congratulate Mike Hogarty on his new role as Entrepreneur Team Lead. This new position gives focus to one of Nova Labs’ key missions – the support and promotion of entrepreneurship.

As we move toward improving Nova Labs’ infrastructure, the board is currently reviewing proposals for upgraded, business-class Internet service. Nova Labs currently utilizes consumer-class Internet which no longer meets the needs of our growing community. This upgrade will allow for a constant, stable Internet connection – a key component to our technology-heavy maker space.

The board is also working closely with our TechComm team lead, John Hoskins, to analyze current options for upgrading our website infrastructure to allow for a better user experience – and eventually, more robust billing options.

Additionally, we continue to develop and define roles and responsibilities for the key functional areas of our maker space. This process allows us to define areas where the maker space requires a leadership position from within the community. Current examples of this are the Steward Team Lead and the Entrepreneur Team Lead positions.

Provided by Jim Girardi


Nova Labs is honored to be among the nominees for the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Greater Washington Innovation Awards Showcase 2018 – Community Impact Innovator of the Year!!! Congratulations to our maker community!

More information can be found here.



“Bill Steinhart teaches the blacksmith open studio at NoVa Labs in Reston. He reminded his student blacksmiths that Theo Nazz – the Champion of Champions of ‘Forged in Fire Season 4’ would be at the upcoming Maker Faire NoVA.”

>Reprinted from “Maker Faire Gets Bigger & Better” by Merica Hobson in the Reston Connection, 14-20 February, 2018.




“During the Reston Camp Expo 2018 held at Reston Community Center on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, Ryan Le, 5, of Wolf Trap tries out a “bot” created by makers at NOVA Labs. From left: NOVA Labs makers Sathvik Narayana, 14 of Centreville and Spencer Allain look on.”

>Reprinted from “Reston Camp Expo Draws Nearly 500 People” by Merica Hobson in the Reston Connection, 21 Jan – 6 Feb, 2018.


More information on Nova Labs Robotics Summer Camps found here.


You could be forgiven for not knowing about Maker Faire Nova. Perhaps you’re new to the area or to Nova Labs. This is the Nova Labs community’s signature event of the year celebrating the diversity of makers and interests at Nova Labs, throughout the extended NOVA area, and in the larger expanse where other makers and makerspaces are found in Virginia, DC, and Maryland. Nova Labs members organize Maker Faire NoVa, participate as makers or maker teams, and staff by volunteering. This culminates an almost-year-round planning cycle led by co-producers Carl Hutzler and Jeanne Loveland.

Maker Faire NoVa 2018 is at George Mason University, Fairfax this year as we have well and truly outgrown our previous location. There is ample onsite parking for makers, volunteers, and attendees.

The organizing team is now stepping into high gear with some of the logistics operations starting to pre-stage material at GMU, layout and mapping, and communication to makers and volunteers.

Now at approximately 130 makers (or maker teams), there is such an interesting range of interests represented this year. All the makers are listed at and are being featured on social networking as part of the outreach effort.

There will be a team of GMU scientists fielding questions from the public. You will know them by their “Ask a Scientist” t-shirts. If you know folks that are still unsure about Area 51, vaccinations, whether we actually went to the moon, or climate change, see them. Separately, NASA will have an exhibit which was located specifically for its advantage in proximity to a loading dock (must be big!).

We are ahead of schedule in terms of volunteer staffing, but there are still a few slots left. Go to to sign up for a slot or two. Volunteers get a free ticket and volunteer t-shirt, and our heartfelt thanks. If you have some time, we always seem to need help afterwards straightening up and packing away stuff.

If you have questions about Maker Faire NoVa or someone asks you about it, try looking at You could be a hero in your office, neighborhood, place of worship, or civic organization by introducing your friends to Maker Faire NoVa that first time. Just point them at to get tickets. If you still have questions, direct them to

Our sponsors list has grown ( and they really help make this event happen: Google, the Innovation Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia, Fairfax City EDA, Forcewave, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, EAI Technologies, and Fairfax County Library Foundation, just to name a few.

As in previous years, there is a pre-Maker Faire NoVa gathering of makers on March 14th. This Maker Celebration is sponsored by Fairfax City Economic Development Authority and is for makers exhibiting at the Faire and Sponsors. Makers should have received a specific invitation based on their Call for Makers submission. Often they may not get a chance to mingle and discuss their projects because they’re busy showing, demonstrating, or answering questions on the day of the Faire. This is also a chance for makers to get their maker ID badges, parking information, T-shirts (if they arrange for them in advance), and location. Makers will also have an opportunity to talk with some of the Faire sponsors. The Faire committee thanks you for your cooperation for this event.

Provided by Brian Jacoby


We are very excited to have Theo Nazz back at Maker Faire NoVa this year! Theo is also raffling off a custom forged knife from his collection. Buy a raffle ticket online now (through March 18, 2018) or at the Faire and we will pull a random winner the day after. All proceeds donated to Nova Labs.


Nova Labs and Inventors Network of the Capitol Area (INCA) welcomed Mr. Richard Levy on February 13. With over 30 design & utility patents, and over 12 books, including “Toy & Game Inventors Handbook,” Richard is a world recognized expert. Through stories of his trials and tribulations as an inventor, he shared the key factors of his success, and how he has successfully licensed his products to companies including Hasbro, Mattel, General Mills, P&G. Nova Labs incubators, Callye Keen and Mike Hogarty of Red Blue Collective, had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Levy after his presentation.




Candles, fine wine, golden forks, romantic music, and… blacksmithing? That’s how we do Valentine’s Day at Nova Labs!

For the first time ever, Nova Labs hosted “Makesperience” to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Couples came to take a class of their choice to spend time together, learn something new, and enjoy a romantic dinner to top it off. During class and dinner, participants deepened their connection with their significant other as well as made new connections with other makers. After the couples took their chosen class, they entered the classroom for dinner. The atmosphere of the classroom was transformed to a romantic restaurant where people could celebrate their love for each other and for making. Décor was added to give a more romantic vibe, but all the tools remained. Married maker couple Joshua and Lauren Capehart attended the event. Joshua notes, “The space still felt like a makerspace, which is a good thing.” Members also gave Makesperience some finishing touches by providing real china and fine wine for the dinner.

Makesperience provided couples with a truly unique Valentine’s Day experience that did not compromise on romance and kitsch. Jennyfer Peterson came up with the idea for this event as an alternative to going to an over-crowded, expensive restaurant. This would give couples a chance to connect in a creative way and spend time making something together. Patrick Waters, better known as the “Woodshop Cowboy,” taught one of the Makesperience classes, Woodworking in the Kitchen. “I wanted them to have… time together [and] skills learned,” says Patrick, who is most proud of his corny power ballad soundtrack he played in his class.

Perhaps one of the best parts of Makesperience was that the participants were a mix of new attendees and long-time Associate and Key members. The new attendees were warmly welcomed by Nova Labs more seasoned makers. As always, everyone excitedly collaborated about their ideas and projects. While talking to other makers is a daily occurrence at Nova Labs, for the first time people could talk about making as a couple to other couples in a romantic setting. For some couples, making is at the forefront of their relationship for much of the time. This is not the case for every couple, however, and Makesperience gave couples a chance to connect through making, for both experienced and new makers.

Valentine’s Day 2018 was quite special at Nova Labs this year, thanks to Makesperience. Some couples got to make something together for the first time, while other couples added to their repertoire of projects. Time spent together is priceless, and spending that time at Nova Labs makes it that much better. Especially when the classroom is lit with nothing but candles and has slow, romantic music playing in the background.

See you and your significant other at Makesperience 2019!

>Provided by Yarden Cottrell



Nova Labs continues to grow and evolve. The many challenges are a daunting task for the volunteer core. The operational arm of Nova Labs handles the things members and associates interact with. We fondly refer to these people as our Stewards.

As Stewards, the responsibilities and roles abound. Everyone has their personal touch. On the other hand, Stewards need to know what is happening on a global scale. A forum was needed to get our Stewards to sit down and talk about all things Nova Labs.

From this, StewardCon 2018 was born. The Stewards discussed finances, resources, roles, and a few other topics while enjoying a nice home-cooked meal. The Nova Labs Stewards hope to keep the dialog going on a quarterly basis.

Provided by Shane Smith



March 13, 7 – 9PM, Build a Humanitarian Drone with Team RhinoHawk 
Team RhinoHawk will be developing and flying a huge drone to compete in the UAV Challenge Outback 2018 competition. They are looking for dedicated enthusiasts in the areas of structures, electronics, software, and media content to join them.

March 18, 11 – 5PM, 5th Annual Maker Faire NoVa at George Mason University Fairfax Campus
Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. Glimpse the future and get inspired!

March 19, 7 – 8:30PM, Forged in FireTales from behind the scenes with Grand Champion Theo Nazz 
Theo Nazz won The History Channel’s Forged in Fire twice and lived to tell about it. Come hear what he learned about competition, publicity, and how his win affected him as an entrepreneur.

March 29, 7 – 10PM, Quantum Computing DC: Hudson Quantum Initiative (HQI): The Intersection of Policy and Quantum Technology
Speaker Idalia Friedson is a Research Associate and Project Manager at Hudson Institute, where she works on issues relating to national security, including cybersecurity and technology, defense strategy, and energy. She will discuss HQI’s recent work and broad policy goals as well as the plan for Hudson’s upcoming conference to set standards for quantum communication networks.



Nova Labs is seeking volunteer help for the following:

  • Electronic Steward
  • Helpdesk Software Evaluator
  • Wiki Information Maintainers

Contact if you’re interested!


Nova Labs is on Instagram! Follow @nova-labs for the latest photos of events and projects. Tag @nova-labs in photos of your Nova Labs made projects to be showcased on our account!

Maker Faire NoVa also has an account! Follow @makerfairenova for all the latest happenings on the upcoming Maker Faire NoVa.


Are you a ‘Young Entrepreneur’ under the age of 25? Do you know a Young Entrepreneur? Around Reston Magazine is establishing a new feature segment that will share the story of one Reston/Herndon ‘Young Entrepreneur’ per issue. Currently Around Reston is accepting stories for consideration. This is a great opportunity for some lucky entrepreneur to get maximum exposure in front of 60,000 local readers! Please send your short story about you and your product/services to Around Reston, Feel free to include why you feel you are a best candidate! Be sure to mention you read about it in the Nova Labs Newsletter!

Provided by Kat Toussaint, Around Reston Magazine


My name is Olivia Morgan. I operate my own industrial design and product fabrication business. My mission is to help inventors with cool ideas get their products to market. In addition to my clients’ projects, I develop my own designs. I am so grateful to be a new member of Nova Labs and be able to use this space to complete some of this work. One of my products currently in development is Mag.Net. It is a flexible, organically shaped net that uses earth-magnets to mount to any magnetic surface. You may have seen some prototype versions hanging around Nova Labs. Originally conceived for use in kitchen storage, it’s use has expanded to a variety of applications. More information is available at Please feel free to join my mailing-list to become eligible for free Mag.Net prototypes.

Before becoming a product designer, I was a model shop manager for ZGF Architects, one of the largest architectural firms in the US. With three years experience, I moved on in order to expand and diversify my fabrication and design skills.

I became involved with Nova Labs in September 2017 when I got the amazing opportunity to learn the concepts of metal milling with Mike Hogarty. Working here has been a significant source of inspiration for me. I am so happy to be a part of a community so enthusiastic about learning and teaching fabrication skills to others!

I will be showcasing Mag.Net at the Maker Faire NoVa 2018 on March 18 at George Mason University.

More of my own work can be found at

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!

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