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

After Maker Faire NoVa 2017 – What next?

Panoramic of Maker Faire NoVa, 2016.Greetings from the aftermath of Maker Faire NoVa, 2017!

Many Nova Labs members are part of the team that runs this event, and have spent months planning and preparing for it. In addition, many Nova Labs members are exhibitors at the faire, sharing their projects, giving talks, and volunteering to help the event run smoothly.

We all hope you enjoyed the event and will come back next year, but you don’t have to wait that long to get another dose of making! Nova Labs is a community and there’s something for practically everyone, whether you’re a beginner or expert, into crafts or technology, woodworking or metalworking, additive (3D printing) or subtractive (CNC machining) manufacturing… the list goes on!

What’s next for me?

If you’ve never visited Nova Labs before, you can take a virtual visit: 

Join our Meetup group – NOVA Makers:

You don’t need to be a member of Nova Labs to attend talks, or visit open events such as our bi-weekly Friday game-night. But, you do need to join us on Meetup so you can see upcoming events, and RSVP for the ones you want to attend:

Take a “Green Session”

If you want to take classes on the safety and general usage of tools at Nova Labs, or attend events in the workshops (such as the open Blacksmithing times that have started recently), you must attend a “Green Safety Level Orientation” session. These happen several times a month and give you an overview on the membership structure and basic safety considerations for being at Nova Labs.

Sign up at

You’ll do this as part of the Green Safety class mentioned above, but all machine signoffs are tracked via an account on the Nova Labs website.

In addition, you can sign up for one of our many email listservs on topics ranging from woodworking, 3D printing, CNC, laser cutting, textile crafts, IT security, STEM and kids, robotics, etc.

Like us on social media

NovaLabsVA on Facebook and @Nova_Labs on Twitter 

March 2017 newsletter


Heart fidget toy

The affordable Valentine’s fidget designed by Mike Hogarty along with his daughter Alana.

Nova Labs was at its best at the recent Cupid’s Arts and Crafts Fair. When I walked in, metal shop steward Mike Hogarty had a laptop open with Solidworks and shared a design he was working with his daughter, Alana, for an affordable Valentine’s fidget. I am proud to hang from my key ring the prototype of a cool fidget that found its way into dozens of homes just in time for Valentine’s Day.  

Nova Labs’ strength is in diversity. Newcomer Basim Alkaim, a skilled artisan, volunteered at Cupid’s Arts and Crafts Fair and again at the February Member Meeting, sharing a Middle Eastern specialty dish alongside sliders and pizza. The familiar fragrance of biryani caught the attention of the minutes-taker, Raji Madhuvana. As the membership wrestled with policy, Raji diligently took notes. In spite of the nuances of membership at Nova Labs (and the impassioned discussion that took place), Raji was inspired to become a member herself. What was clear is the passion and value membership brings. That is the heart of what Nova Labs and this effort is about — building a welcoming space where people want to belong and contribute talents.

Even as the membership has divergent views on the path forward with membership policy, the ongoing dialogue around membership is an opportunity to embrace what makes Nova Labs special. These steps take us closer to a stronger community that is true to our core values. The Board is looking forward to continuing to engage and strengthen membership.

As we continue the policy discussion, the work on rebranding is coming to a close. A survey went out in the last newsletter, yielding 79 responses. The top choices were: Gear, Needle and Thread, Electronics, and Question and Answer. There will be follow up with a cross-section of membership to tweak the design and to ensure there is representation across interest areas.

Lastly, Maker Faire NoVa will be here in just a few weeks! Many hands are contributing as preparations are wrapped up before this signature annual event. We are especially thrilled to welcome celebrity Theo Nazz, from “Forged with Fire”, demonstrating alongside members from our latest interest group, blacksmithing. I’ll see everyone at the Maker Faire NoVa!

Read on to see a recap of the Cupid’s Arts and Crafts Fair, and more info on Maker Faire NoVa!

Continue reading

Lil Dragon v-tail quadcopter – developed at Nova Labs

Building a 250 quad racer from scratch

With 250 quad racing becoming more and more popular and local racing events starting to pop-up, Nova Labs member Fred Briggs decided to give it a try. Being a Maker, he didn’t want to buy the same ole’ frame that everyone else had so building from scratch seemed like the obvious way to go. Wanting something a little unique, Fred’s main goals were to develop something that looks cool, flies well, and is inexpensive to build. To meet those goals he quickly decided that Mongo, Nova Labs’ 100 watt laser cutter was a good option for cutting the frame. Having also recently finished building a 3D printer in Nova Labs Build Group 8, having some 3D printed parts seemed logical and a good use for the new tool. Fred also reported always loving the look of the V-tail quads so he settled on that design.

The design

250vtail2With that design criteria in mind the next step was CAD. Fred decided to use this project to learn OnShape which is becoming quite popular at Nova Labs. There were some frustrating moments with the CAD but the support of the OnShape User Group at Nova Labs helped through this portion. Once it looked cool in CAD it was time to make something!

20160131_135315Fred was able to get DXF files from OnShape and start to laser cut some wood frames which are simply hot glued together. This went through several iterations and this pic is of an early design. You can see the tabs that allow all the parts to key into place for quick and accurate assembly.

20160226_081607Then the “V” for the rear motors got 3D printed. While initially concerned that it might not be strong enough, some stress testing (i.e. crashing) has proven that the design is plenty strong and Fred hasn’t broken one yet.

Finishing touches

20160206_112645The frame was painted with a rattle can and then put together. To really make it look cool it needed a thermoformed shell and this was probably the trickiest part of the entire build. It required a CNC routed mold which was made from old 2X4’s that were glued together. After a little sanding and then some paint it came out really well.

Painted_shellOn to the thermoformer!!

20160219_11465720160219_115126Here is some video of the actual thermoforming process:

After trimming it fit great! The electronics are a very tight fit but it does fit.

20160219_21495220160219_220932Here is the finished product with a painted shell. Fred is really happy with the results and it meets all of his design criteria. It flies fantastic, it builds very easily and it gets attention every time it comes out at the field.

After looking at it Fred has decided to call it the Lil Dragon, and he hopes to run classes using the design at Nova Labs.

The final specs on it are 1806, 2300kv motors with 5” carbon props, 2200mah 3S battery and Naze32 flight controller. It gets about 12 minutes of hover and it is shockingly stable.

For more information please contact Fred directly at, or be sure to check out the Open Aeris booth at the NoVa Mini Maker Faire, Sunday, March 13, 2016

Nova Labs’ Teletype Wins Editor’s Choice Award at The New York Maker Faire

2014-09-21 12.04.24NEW YORK Member Bob Coggeshall’s Raspberry Pi Teletype won the Editor’s Choice award at this year’s New York Maker Faire. The hack allows an iPad or computer keyboard to wirelessly interface with a 60s-era teletype machine!

The teletype was a hit with children, however, they were shocked to learn that teletype machines were how the world communicated before the internet and cell phones!

IMG_7736Big thanks to Mark Millsap, Nikolai Teleguine, Brian Jacoby and Lee Ciereszko for helping to staff the Nova Labs table!

Nova Labs and Small Batch Assembly at the New York Maker Faire


Brian Jacoby staffs the  booth at New York Maker Faire

NEW YORK — Nova Labs set up camp next to the “power racing” track. The booth was shared with Bob Coggeshall and Small Batch Assembly. Bob showed off his modded 60s-era teletype machine, which uses a RaspberryPi to interface the teletype with an iPad or keyboard!


Did you stop by to say hi? Tell us about your Maker Faire experiences in the comments!

Hands-on Creation, Invention, and Fun at
 Northern Virginia’s Inaugural Mini Maker Faire, Sunday, March 16th 11am-4pm


RESTON, VA — Robots, rockets, radio broadcasts, and repurposed trash: So much to do and see at Nova Labs’ inaugural NoVa Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, March 16th from 11am to 4pm, at South Lakes High and Hughes Middle School campuses.

Inventors, hackers, crafters, artists, and DIY’ers from across the region will demonstrate and collaborate with Faire-goers to make things, new inventions, tools, and gadgets, which can often be completed with reusable materials or household items.

The Mini Maker Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds, and helping them to become critical thinkers. All kids — and adults — need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers.

                     — Brian Jacoby, President of Nova Labs


Early bird discounts are available until February 28, 2014. Students are free; adults $10.

At the door, tickets will cost $8 for children and $20 for adults.

What to Expect

Along with hands-on projects for adults and kids of all ages, Faire-goers will enjoy food, performances, and a series of short talks. More than 85 booths will feature “Makers” aged 12 to 92. A few of the unusual mix of projects and activities include:

  • Aluminum Aerogami (a combination of origami and model airplane building from aluminum cans)
  • 3D scanning and printing of YOU!
  • Musical instrument maker
  • Snoopy Robot
  • Solar- Powered Car
  • Light-up sewing
  • Hand-spinning yarn
  • Kinetic, wearable, and electronic art
  • Science experiments you can do at home by Gravity is Optional
  • Spy gadgets by the SpyMuseum
  • Open-source hardware projects

For a list of all scheduled Makers, visit


The NoVa Mini Maker Faire is presented by Nova Labs,  a non-profit makerspace in Reston, Virginia. Sponsors include, Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, WyoLum, Ideaventions, the Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMS) Clubs, Holland & Knight, the International Spy Museum, Activity Rocket, and Small Batch Assembly.