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

Forged in Fire: Blacksmith, Bladesmith, and Grand Champion Theo Nazz Shares His Story, 19 March 2018

Theo Nazz won the Forged in Fire competition twice and lived to tell about it. Come hear the behind the scenes tales. Learn about the competition, the publicity, and how his win affected him as an entrepreneur. Theo is a maker’s maker. He dives deep into the technical side of bladesmithing and combines that with innovative new techniques like laser cutting and 3D printing to create work that rises to the level of beautiful artwork.

Former journalist Bill Steinhardt will get the discussion rolling by interviewing Theo to get some juicy details from behind the scenes in Forged in Fire, and find out how Theo was able to use his success to start a blade smithing workshop in the heart of New York City. Then we will open it up to you to ask questions and get Theo talking about his knife making techniques, his business, and life as an entrepreneur in the cutthroat world of blade smithing. Sign up here:

This event is designed to foster up close interaction with Theo, however Bill, our awesome blacksmithing steward, has also helped arrange 2 other events to benefit our  community of once and future bladesmiths.  Theo will be have a booth at the upcoming Nova Makerfaire and he’ll also conduct a bladesmithing class at Nova Labs. The class is for experienced smiths, however, makers are welcome to observe him at work at both venues.

See some of his work:

Check out this video of his shop:

Quote from the video by Theo Nazz about his own shop. “This is a shared space..Seeing other people working kinda gets the juices flowing for me. So it’s always nice to see other people working on their own projects and doing neat things. Help me with my own projects.”

We agree with Theo wholeheartedly! This is a key value in the Nova Labs community. This is why we have open shared session such as our Blacksmithing Meetups, Metalshop Monday, and Woodshop Open Office days. Take advantage of these sessions. These are practice sessions, inpriration session, push your game higher sessions, go deeper/learn more/collaborate/mentorship session. We’d really like to see more of you guys coming back after taking Blacksmithing 101. By design, these open sessions are either free or low cost because they are all about makers making their own individual projects while building a stronger community of makers making together. Don’t just come to classes folks, come back to make stuff.

Come to Blacksmithing Meetup Sessions on Saturdays. Signup first to share the cost of the propane.

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

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

Deadline extended! Submit by Sunday, January 21!

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

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

Cardboard robot at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa

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

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

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

3D printers on display at the 2017 Maker Faire NoVa

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

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

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

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

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

Nixie Tube Clock by Bob Cogeshall

Nixie Tube Clock by Bob Cogeshall, photo by John Nelson

3D Printer Build Group 11 is here!

Build your very own 3D printer at Nova Labs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Laser Cutting

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

3D Printing

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

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

Nova Labs Maker Market and Artisan Fair, Dec. 2

Join us at Nova Labs for a special showcase of our Artisans just in time for the holidays!

Mark your calendars for a beautiful day at the Nova Labs Maker Market and Artisan Fair on Saturday, Dec 2nd. The fair goes from 10am to 4pm. Get there early because many of the items are one of a kind. If you are a holiday shopper looking for that special handcrafted gift. The fair is FREE and open to the public.

More information:









Browse, meet, and be inspired by our talented artisans and entrepreneurs. Crafting at Nova Labs includes 3d printed designs, metalworking, woodworking, jewelry, handmade wool items, scarves, painted glassware, stained glass, canvas paintings, cards, personalized items, key chains, and much more!

Bring your family and friends. Meet our robots, see our drones, and play in our new augmented reality sandbox. Buy products or order a custom design.


Saturday, December 2, 2017. 10am to 4pm. See you at Nova Labs!

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

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

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

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

A bunch of pillows

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

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

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

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

Hoop your fabric and stabilizer on the embroidery machine.

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

Applique pillow eyeball

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


Nova Labs at the 1st Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta

The Nova Labs Navy

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017

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

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

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

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

Reston Cardboard Boat Regatta - 2017

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

Paul and his Tetraboat. Photo by Jim Girardi.

Paul and his Tetraheboat. Photo by Jim Girardi.

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

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

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

Talking about Tetraheboat. Photo by Shane Smith.

Talking about Tetraheboat. Photo by Shane Smith.

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

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

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

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

Andrew Albosta | Jim Girardi

Curt Welch videos: Team Nova Labs | Tetraheboat

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

Reston Museum’s Cardboard Regatta sets sail Saturday!

LakeWeigh anchor for the 1st Reston Museum Cardboard Regatta!

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

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


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

More details at the event website.

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

Reston Museum Cardboard Boat Regatta – 8/12/2017

Summer fun for makers – cardboard boat race in Reston!

Cardboard boat hull

The hull of boat #1 is largely complete!

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

Cardboard hull pieces

Hull pieces cut on the laser cutter


A cardboard boat race!


Saturday, August 12th from 2-6pm


Boat rental area at Lake Anne Plaza

Join the fun:

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

Cardboard boat hull being assembled

Boat #1 coming together

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

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

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

Paper boat prototype

Paper boat prototype

We Are a Twisted Lot – Blacksmithing Group Takes Shape at Nova Labs

Bill S, Blacksmithing

Bill Steinhardt: Blacksmithing Steward, making sparks while working on a project after dark.

Artistic creation and physical exhaustion are great ways to cleanse the mind of stress.   Welcome to Blacksmithing!

Full forge, happy smiths

So many irons in the fire, so many people working well together and around each other.

Gary's Pineapple twist railroad spike

This technique as worked by Gary Walker is a pineapple twist worked into a railroad spike.

forge at night

Come out and see the forge lit up at night this summer!


  All are welcome to come watch our activities, satisfy their curiosity, and ask questions. 

Youth project

Youth working individually on a project.

ornamental smithing

Marnie works on an outdoor ornamental piece that is sheer inspiration










Father daughter teamwork

Keith and his young daughter working together on a project

See what happens, see how we work together and individually. What starts as an individual endeavor often transitions for a while into a team effort as we all work to support each other in our creative vision. Look on, as one person holds a large piece of metal with tongs, while a second person guides a chisel and yet a third person very precisely drops a large 12lb hammer to move metal without use of anything but brute force, heat, and gravity. 

Keith, Bill and Gary (left to right) work together to strike a chisel into a hot piece of metal with a 12lb. hammer.

Keith, Bill and Gary (left to right) work together to strike a chisel into a hot piece of metal with a 12lb. hammer.


Ready to jump in with both hands? Sign up for our hands-on intro class and get step-by-step instruction on creating your very own “S” hook. Classes are taught weekly at this point by either Curt Welch or Keith Meidling.

First S-Hook

My first S-hook as taught to me by Curt Welch

S-Hook Class

Keith’s first class instructing the beginners S-hook class