Nova Labs Celebrates Women Who Make With May Events and Classes

Be like Wendy the welder!

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

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

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

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

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

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

 May 23: Women’s MIG Welding 101

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


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

May 12: Women’s Metal Yellow Shop Orientation


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

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.

Vint Cerf, “Father of the Internet” and Google’s Internet Evangelist, Visits Nova Labs


RESTON, VA — Vint Cerf donned special “drone goggles” and steered an onboard video camera while Nova Labs member Daniel Allen flew his six-bladed “hexacopter.” He quickly got the hang of the controls and was able to see himself from afar.

Screen capture of drone video feed controlled by Dr. Cerf

Screen capture of drone video feed controlled by Dr. Cerf


The visit by Dr. Cerf and the team from Google Thursday May 15th highlights a growing interest in the “Maker Movement” and specifically makerspaces like Nova Labs, which is providing STEM programming for children, innovating new devices, and incubating businesses.


Nova Labs Business Development Director Jim Sweeney provided a guided tour and gave a presentation about how Nova Labs’ facilities and programs are enabling community innovation.

Nova Labs Co-Founder Ted Markson and member Fred Briggs represented the Nova Labs RhinoHawk UAV Team. The team is competing in a global challenge to engineer a low-cost UAV to help fight rhino poaching in South Africa.


Bob Coggeshall, Founder of Small Batch Assembly, a low-volume PCB assembly service that started as part of Nova Labs’ incubator program, also co-authored a well-known unix-based computer command known as “sudo.” Coggeshall said meeting Vint Cerf was “a major highlight of his career.”

“It was an honor to host Dr. Cerf and the Google team at Nova Labs. The story of his visit and his profound contribution to science and technology will impress upon the thousands of children who pass through our doors that a commitment to STEM education can lead to great things,” said Justin Leto, Co-Founder and CFO of Nova Labs.

About Dr. Vint Cerf

Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He is responsible for identifying new enabling technologies and applications on the Internet and other platforms for the company.

Widely known as a “Father of the Internet,” Vint is the co-designer with Robert Kahn of TCP/IP protocols and basic architecture of the Internet. In 1997, President Clinton recognized their work with the U.S. National Medal of Technology. In 2005, Vint and Bob received the highest civilian honor bestowed in the U.S., the Presidential Medal of Freedom. It recognizes the fact that their work on the software code used to transmit data across the Internet has put them “at the forefront of a digital revolution that has transformed global commerce, communication, and entertainment.”

Source: Reseach at Google

Virginia Delegate Ken Plum Visits Nova Labs

Delegate Ken Plum meets with GEMS Club Outreach Director Elizabeth Vandenburg

Delegate Ken Plum visits GEMS Club Take Apart Zone at NoVa Maker Faire

When asked — on a tour last week to Nova Labs — what he makes, Delegate Ken Plum quipped, “I make mischief in Richmond.” But don’t let that fool you. Delegate Plum is a Veteran Maker. On the tour with Co-Founder and President Brian Jacoby, he was knowledgeable and curious.


The Virginia House of Delegates is comprised of 100 members elected from districts throughout the state. Plum is in his thirty-third year of service representing the 36th District.

Delegate Plum grew up in Shenandoah, Virginia. His proudest makes, he says, were a “digger” machine (like a back hoe that he could use to dig in the sand along the creek bank) and numerous machines and buildings constructed with his Erector set.

As a high school student, he was part of a team that built rockets (from scratch – before the Estes kits). They constructed the fuselage, nose cone, and nozzle out of metal parts, after calculating the size of the nozzle orifice. Next time you see Delegate Plum speaking about Richmond mischief, ask him what happened with those rockets.

Hackaday Visits Nova Labs !


This past Wednesday, Nova Labs welcomed Hackaday contributor Brian Benchoff (NonGeeks: Hackaday is a top geek blog featuring “the best hacks, mods and DIY projects from around web”).

Read the Nova Labs Hackaday write up HERE.

Here are some pictures of the visit…


Brian took a particular interest in our wood shop, Small Batch Assembly’s Pick and Place machine, and our massive 3D Printer build group operation.

The "Brians" overlooking TMax 2.0 3D Printer kits staged for build group #5 .

The “Brians” overlooking TMax 2.0 3D Printer kits staged for build group #5 .

Bob Coggeshall, Founder of Small Batch Assembly, shows off his Pick and Place machine

Nova Labs member and Founder of Small Batch Assembly, Bob Coggeshall, shows off his Pick and Place machine

Thousands Attend Northern Virginia’s First Maker Faire


RESTON, VA — Showing a child what’s possible could be all it takes to awaken a passion for creation and lifelong learning. That possibility was very much in the minds of the more than 300 volunteers on hand to welcome the nearly four thousand attendees for Northern Virginia’s first ever Maker Faire.

Held Sunday March 16th at South Lakes High and Langston Hughes Middle Schools, the Faire featured drones, rockets, spy gadgets, 3D printers, 3D scanners, robots, costuming, jewelry, crafts, antique bicycles, unique projects, and one of the largest selections of hands-on making activities of any Maker Faire to date.

All this week we’ll be taking a closer look at the many exhibits and activities featured at the Faire but here’s a preview. First, a special thanks to the sponsors who helped make NoVa Maker Faire possible: Innovation Fund of The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, WyoLumIdeaventions, Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club,  Holland and Knight,   Amazing Race TimingActivity RocketFairfax County Public SchoolsSmall Batch AssemblyThe International Spy Museum, FairFax Connector, and Future Makers.

Children of all ages had the chance to solder their first electronics project.

Children of all ages had the chance to solder their first electronics project.

The robots were the celebrities and everyone wanted a picture with one!


This was the first opportunity for many to see a 3D Printer in action!

This was the first opportunity for many to see a 3D Printer in action!

The robots took to the skies in a special caged in area for drone flying.

The robots took to the skies in a special caged in area for drone flying.


Crafts and arts play a major role in creativity and it had a major presence at the Faire.

Crafts and arts play a major role in creativity and it had a major presence at the Faire.


RESton Founder Robert E. Simon enjoys Nova Labs' tweetable light sign with member Eric Mitchell.

RESton Founder Robert E. Simon enjoys Nova Labs’ tweetable light sign with member Eric Mitchell.

"Squishy Circuits" uses conductive play dough to make it easier for children of all ages to make electronic circuits.

“Squishy Circuits” uses conductive play dough to make it easier for children of all ages to make electronic circuits.

Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club host Take Apart Zone.

Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Club host Take Apart Zone.

Craig Trader's Chaos Machine!

Craig Trader’s Chaos Machine!

Future careers in STEM are ready for liftoff !

Future careers in STEM are ready for liftoff !

Area CTOs Visit Nova Labs

Attendees scramble to get a good glimpse of the laser firing!

RESTON, VA — Chief Technology Officers from around the Washington area converged on Nova Labs October 5th for the monthly meeting of the Washington Area CTO Roundtable. The event was inspired by a presentation given by one of our co-founders, Travis Good, on MAKE Magazine’s Hardware Innovation Workshop (HIW), which he also co-chairs. The goal of the workshop was to showcase how the maker movement is using hardware innovation to create new products and services with its overall message being that companies need to pay attention!

“Makers, product designers, artists, entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and venture capitalists talked about bridging the gap between home hardware hacking and building a real hardware business.” –Dylan Tweney, VentureBeat, 5/22/12

To that end, the tour of our facilities gave local executives a close up view of some of the tools and projects from our makerspace. Continue reading