In April, Nova Labs hosted a Girl Scout pinewood derby workshop with a grant from the Northern Virginia Community Foundation. Planning for the Girl Scout pinewood derby workshop started months in advance. The organizers elected to focus on skill areas including pyrography and wood shaping — and provided training sessions in advance for mentors. The advance work paid dividends as young girls through teens were introduced to woodworking. In a follow-on, participants were asked to write thank you notes. As I coached one of the girls, Natalie, on the art of saying thank you, she was hesitant. To draw her into the task, I pulled out my phone and scrolled to a picture of her sanding her block of wood on the belt sander. She broke into a huge smile at the memory and said “I look amazing!”. Why don’t you write that?, I prompted, and she did — the words came easily to her along with the gratifying memory.
The give and take between mentor and learner with the resulting confidence is part of the draw of the makerspace. The successes are building. In this issue, a pitch event coming this summer and the vibrant blacksmithing community are featured — a few of many recent success stories. Membership has doubled in the last year — currently there are nearly 100 key members and just under 150 associates. Class revenue is up along with with membership, contributing to a strong bottom line. This is allowing more investment back into the makerspace.
With funds raised from Maker Faire NoVa, and a space usage agreement with BTI360, the board approved the purchase of an 80-100 W laser. Similar in style and software to Mongo, it features a larger bed platform and upgraded rotary system.
Vint Cerf, one of the pioneers of the internet, also made a generous donation with which the board approved the purchase of a NextEngine 3d Scanner Ultra HD. As compared with the current Matter and Form scanner, the NextEngine features a larger scan area, is accurate to 100 microns vs 430 microns, and is much faster. Zachary Borschuk will steward the scanner.
For the shop areas, a monthly budget is added to support growing interest in blacksmithing (steward Bill Steinhardt), and the electronics workbench (steward Robert Clemenzi.)
Along with growth comes responsibility; efforts are ongoing for improved policy and enforcement.
Upgrade to the Security Cameras is planned with a target completion of the end of May. The upgraded system will cover each of the entrances and the shop areas. A reminder on woodshop safety is included in this newsletter.
Patrick Waters is leading an ad hoc committee to draft policy. This builds on the work initiated by the ad hoc committee chaired by Fred Briggs over the winter. The model here is to work towards long term success through iterative steps with ad hoc committees. This is a change from the standing committees that were in place during build-out. For an ad hoc committee, there is a time-limited commitment and a short term goal.
In the coming weeks, we’ll look forward to bringing online the new equipment.
A nominating committee is formed for a search for board service candidates to fill the recent board vacancy. Look for more information from the committee chair in this newsletter under Volunteers.
1) You trigger the SawStop brake. Our SawStop is equipped with flesh-detecting technology which helps keep you safe in the shop. Metal material will also trigger the brake, which shuts down the saw in a fraction of a second. The average downtime for the saw is ~1 day per incident, so you inconvenience yourself, the community, and the stewards unnecessarily. And you are responsible for a $200 replacement fee.
2) You damage the SawStop internals. The SawStop is a robust saw, but its internals are not made to withstand chunks of metal flying around inside it. There are pulleys, motors, and sensitive electronic equipment, all of which can be damaged.
3) You can damage the saw blade itself, rendering it unusable and unsafe for others. Check out the picture of the saw blade; The blade is missing teeth and several teeth are cracked. Carbide doesn’t bend, it shatters – which means if these teeth are loose, or shattered, the next user will get small carbide projectiles shooting at them from the saw. You can put other people’s safety at risk!
1) Use the correct materials. The SawStop accepts: plywood, MDF, kiln-dried lumber free of metal.
2) No Reclaimed Lumber on the SawStop Table, Jointer, Planer. Reclaimed lumber is prohibited for these tools. If you want to use reclaimed lumber, contact a Steward for appropriate tools and work flows.
1) Email/Talk to a Woodshop steward (Patrick W, Frank S, Larry R, Bob M, Nikolai T, Ka-Loon T) so we can check the equip for damage and take any repairs as necessary.
2) Meet us in person during Open Shop Hours (W&TH 7-9, Sun 3-5) so we can show you a safer, more appropriate way to accomplish what you want to do. We are here to empower the community to make awesome stuff, but we need your help to do it.
And one last reminder:
Please DO NOT use the tool surfaces as benches.
Thanks, Woodshop Steward Team
>>> provided by Patrick Waters
Mere months ago, the blacksmithing group started to coalesce. It initially proceeded along the lines of what some at Nova Labs would find a familiar story, but with a twist. A large set of folks simply don’t have the space at home: they’re in a townhouse or apartment, or have a garage (but it’s full). The twist here is that some of these crafts – like blacksmithing – include roaring furnaces and shooting fire that would probably freak out neighbors. Just maybe.
A handful of smiths started building forges at Nova Labs in October 2016. The impetus and built-in deadline of wanting to do something for the spring Maker Faire NoVa threw their activity into a faster pace. Even more so when they found out renowned artist Theo Nazz was coming down from New York to be at Maker Faire NoVa. The Maker Faire weekend was full of preparation and practice with Theo and the group was able to go through advanced knife-making skills with him all day.
Current projects include building a bigger, hotter forge to make patterned steel, like cable Damascus or layered Damascus. They’re also in the middle of building a programmable heat-treating oven for tempering and dealing with complex steel alloys. All of that is basically infrastructure, but individual members have specific projects revolving around furniture, knives, kitchen tools, staffs & swords, and steampunk lamps.
The group is gearing up for more and specialized sessions to accommodate the growing interest and to take on more ambitious projects. By building so much of the supporting infrastructure from scratch, it can also possibly support glassblowing and pottery.
The group is open to anyone with curiosity and interest of all ages. There aren’t any particular requirements (other than some basic ones around safety, and having taken the GO! safety orientation).
>>> provided by Brian Jacoby
This spring, Nova Labs announced the first-ever pilot Seed Grant program. This is a program to encourage and support innovative projects from the Nova Labs community that might not happen for lack of minimal funding or membership status. The results will be more interesting projects and additional people involved in the Nova Labs community.
The Seed Grant recipients are:
If appropriate, temporary membership periods include training classes for key Nova Labs fabrication equipment or families of tools (laser, wood shop, metalworking shop, etc).
For more entrepreneurial ideas, we now also have a better resolution in that budding ideas and entrepreneurs can be part of the new Nova Labs incubator program, Launch100. A subset of the projects and applicants will be referred directly to Launch100.
Due to the fact that Suzanne Chanesman has too many commitments right now, she is unable to continue with the monthly editing needed to put out the email newsletter.
If you have a full-time job, no problem, the commitment should take you no more than a few hours once a month. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to volunteer for this. The only requirement is being able to use Adobe Photoshop from a basic stand point, an interest in learning how to use MailChimp along with the ability to meet the monthly deadline. If you are looking for a way to volunteer at the lab in this capacity, please contact Marybeth Haneline.
Suzanne will be available for any questions needed to use MailChimp and Photoshop moving forward.
The Nomination Committee is conducting a search for nominees for the Board of Directors to help build and guide our community’s future.
We’re looking for diverse skills that will help build community at NOVA Labs including, but certainly not limited to, business management, financial and entrepreneurship. In addition the ideal candidate would have relationships within local government and business organizations to help the board to create outreach programs and opportunities in the wider community.
Nova Labs is a very exciting and challenging place, filled with creators, learners, mentors, and teachers. Leadership at the lab is a very rewarding and memorable experience. Our vision is to create a community in which everyone is a creator, learner, mentor and teacher who finds fulfillment from tackling challenges with passion, generosity and fearlessness.
Who can apply? Anyone! We welcome applications and nominations alike. If you are interested or know someone who may be a good fit for our community, please send an email to Nominations@nova-labs.org or contact a member of the Nomination Committee; Siobhan Williams, Jennyfer Peterson, Patrick Thompson, Chip Levy, and Bo Pollett Wernick.
The selection process involves collecting applications or nominations and an interview with the nomination committee. Successful interviewees will continue on to an interview with the Board of Directors.
>>> provided by Siobhan Williams
We are open! See our COVID-19 Phase III reopening guidelines.