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  • 12/06/2018 9:38 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    What are makerspaces? Makerspaces can take the form of places where individuals meet to share space and tools for the purpose of making things. Some makerspaces may be for-profit companies, non-profit corporations or organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries (https://spaces.makerspace.com). These spaces provide opportunities for people of all ages to create, build, collaborate and learn together using no tech to high tech tools and equipment. 

    On December 3 at the 2018 VSTE Conference in Virginia Beach, VA, Diane Painter (Makersmiths.org member) and Nick Grzeda, Digital Media Integration Specialist for Loudoun County Public Schools, led a presentation-discussion session about the purpose of makerspaces with over 40 principals, school superintendents and other educators throughout Virginia and Maryland in attendance. They began with observations and impressions of makerspaces in schools they have visited.

    Some schools create makerspaces for after-school initiatives. Other schools integrate aspects of makerspaces’ design thinking and experimentation into their curriculum during the instructional day. In other school districts, electives or special classes dedicated to creative exploration within their makerspace environments help to prepare students for fields in science, technology, engineering and math (https://www.edutopia.org/blog/creating-makerspaces-in-schools-mary-beth-hertz).

    Most community-based makerspaces offer their tools as well as classes and workshops to community members of all ages that help develop knowledge and skills for designing, prototyping, and creating products. The makerspaces within these community-based environments represent the “democratization of design, engineering, fabrication, and education” (https://spaces.makerspace.com).

    Makerspaces appear to be popular for many reasons. Makerspaces provide collaborative opportunities that help participants develop design and manufacturing skills and express creativity while working with tools, materials, and equipment such as woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing, laser-cutting, CNC machines, soldering irons, kilns and more. Makerspaces can also be incubators for startup businesses. For some who attended schools before the 1970s when industrial arts was an essential part of the school curriculum, it is vital to establish makerspaces that allow industrial learning opportunities for younger generations that do not currently have woodshop or metalworking classes in today’s schools. For retirees who downsized their homes and no longer have access to tools and equipment that they once had in their basements or garages, makerspaces become like a “club” or gathering of like-minded makers as they work together to create things. Joining makerspaces give retirees and others an outlet to share their knowledge of making by encouraging them to teach classes or give hands-on workshops.

    The discussions among the participants in this VSTE session focused on: Should makerspaces in community-based organizations, schools, and libraries coexist? 

    1. In what ways do makerspaces in schools, libraries, and community-based maker organizations share the same mission, goals, and objectives? How are they different?

    2. What are some examples of such makerspace partnerships? What types of exchanges of ideas and resources are occurring?   

    3. If forming such makerspace partnerships is important to a community, what strategies and desired outcomes should be considered?

    After reading this blog and thinking about these questions, we encourage you to give us your thoughts!

  • 11/05/2018 3:36 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On November 3, 2018, Makersmiths held KidWind Energy workshops in each location (Leesburg and Purcellville) for children in elementary through high school and their parents. The purpose of the workshops was to learn about wind energy, the difference between wind mills and wind turbines, and the best way to construct wind turbines to produce energy. The workshops were led by Remy Pangle from James Madison University, a KidWind Challenge coach and coordinator for KidWind-VA. Diane Painter and seven other Makersmiths members assisted in the workshops or gave facility tours to the families. At the end of the workshops, the children were invited to learn more about KidWind Challenge-VA. They were encouraged to form teams at their schools, or to join a Makersmiths sponsored middle or high school school challenge team. Registration for the Makersmiths Middle School team for students in grades 4-8 or Makersmiths High School team for students in grades 9-12 is still open through November 10, 2018. Go to https://makersmiths.org/event-3123069 to register. Any questions? Contact diane.painter@makersmiths.org. 

  • 10/28/2018 12:30 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Saturday, Oct. 27, four Loudoun County fathers and their children completed a Creepy Bot workshop at Makersmiths-Purcellville. The purpose of the workshop was to review the Virginia's Standards of Learning (SOLs) on Force, Motion and Energy (specifically the Simple and Compound Machines Curriculum) as the participants assembled the Creepy Bot's parts (levers, wheels and axles, screws) to make a compound machine (the Creepy Bot). The Creepy Bot kit parts were made by Makersmiths' instructor, Ralph Pugh. Ralph downloaded the plans for the Creepy Bot from Clayton Boyer's Web site, modified them to make it easy to assemble for children working with a parent, then used the Makersmiths laser cutter to cut out the pieces. At the end of the workshop, children held Creepy Bot races! Our next family-oriented workshop is Nov. 8 from 5-6:30 PM at Makersmiths-Purcellville when participants will make soaps the whole family will enjoy! To register, go to https://makersmiths.org/event-3098468

  • 09/17/2018 1:38 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    There are a number of fun activities coming up for families, especially for children. Here are a few examples: Saturday, September 29, we will be having soap-making the whole family will enjoy (register at https://makersmiths.org/event-3038283?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=9/17/2018). Boo at the Zoo at Wilson's Wild Animal Park will be on Saturday, Oct. 13, featuring Halloween activities and rides on our MS barrel train (https://makersmiths.org/event-3072629?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=10/17/2018). The Farm Tour stop at Southern States on Oct. 20-21 in Purcellville will also feature rides on our barrel train as well as a pumpkin-decorating station. On Saturday, Nov. 3, we will have Wind Energy workshops at both our MS locations (in the morning at MS-Leesburg- registration is at https://makersmiths.org/event-3034446?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=11/17/2018) and in the afternoon at our MS-Purcellville location (register at https://makersmiths.org/event-3034519?CalendarViewType=1&SelectedDate=11/17/2018). 

  • 09/02/2018 7:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On Sept. 2-3, 2018 Makersmiths partnered with Habitat for Humanity to help Loudoun County youth learn woodworking skills. The youth learned to build flower boxes for houses being built by Habitat for Humanity. Purcellville's Mayor Kwasi Fraser and his family stopped by to see this collaborative initiative in action at the Purcellville location. The event was repeated at the Makersmiths Leesburg location on Labor Day. Thank you to Makersmiths' Brad Hess for coordinating this partnership. We hope to have more collaborative events at Makersmiths locations in the future with Habitat for Humanity. 

  • 06/27/2018 3:57 PM | Anonymous member

    There's a corner in my ladyfriend's house that is the "magic spot" for plants. It's got just the right temperature and just the right amount of sunlight for a lot of different plants.

    We had a little cart there, but with so many plants doing so well there, we were running out of space quickly. I thought a ladder shelf would be perfect. I looked around and they were as high as $150!!! https://images.crateandbarrel.com/is/image/Crate/Sawyer24p5BookcaseMochaSHS15_16x9/?$web_zoom_furn_hero$&160105131027&wid=1008&hei=567

    I decided that I could build one for far less.

    I was initially thinking that I'd use oak because I love its warm look, but after pricing it out, I decided that stained pine would do very nicely.

    I used 12" and 6" wide boards for the shelves, and 2x2" for the sides. After looking at a number of plans, I found that 10 degrees was about the right lean angle, so I used the chop saw and table saw to make the cuts.

    I didn't use a plan, specifically, but looked at a lot of different ones. After getting it all together, I thought it was a bit too wobbly (side to side) so I ended up adding some bracing that stiffened it up nicely.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/iMtoQDegS93vtCqM8 (before staining and the addition of bracing)

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/PBWa6kA7SXnA4u5u7

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/TbajZ2vGF3aydpNE7


  • 06/20/2018 5:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This week Makersmiths was represented at two educational outreach events. The first was Inspire Loudoun, a full-day conference for teachers at Riverside High School (a Loudoun County Public School). Member Erin W and her daughter entered the hard fought Battle of the Bots competition competing with their "bots" against two teachers. Even though our two Makersmiths contestants lost the battle, they had fun learning to guide their robotic balls under their custom-made cup bots around the gym floor trying to bust opponents' balloons secured to their bots. Diane P. manned the Makersmiths' exhibit table and handed out over 100 brochures and summer events & classes calendars to teachers and administrators who came to the table to see laser cut, 3D printed and wood-turned items that our Makersmiths members had made. The best "draw" to the table was Mike W's Photo Booth. Administrators loved the idea of having families take pictures during back-to-school, PTA and other school events and have the photos sent to them and the school that shows attendance at school events. Here is Josh A (Makersmiths member and educator for LCPS) using the Photo booth.

    The second outreach event was LearnerPalooza 2018 held at Lord Fairfax Community College in Frederick, VA. Diane P represented Makersmiths and had the opportunity to meet with the executive director of VSTE.org (Karen Richardson) and Remy Pangle from James Madison University's Virginia Wind Center to talk about how Makersmiths can sponsor middle school and high school student teams for the Virginia KidWind Challenge hosted by Shenandoah University in March 2019.  Learn more about this event at https://virginiakwc.wixsite.com/kwcva.  If interested in having your children (grades 4-12) involved, please contact diane.painter@makersmiths.org.

  • 06/03/2018 11:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On June 2, 2018, Makersmiths held a grand opening at its Purcellville location 785 S. 20th Street, Purcellville, VA. A very special THANK YOU to the Purcellville Town Council, merchants, donors and many volunteers who made this Grand Opening possible. Throughout the day Makersmiths members displayed projects that they created and held mini-"I Made This!" presentations. Visitors from the community, Purcellville Town Council members, and business folks interacted with Makersmiths members, networking and sharing ideas for future Makersmiths initiatives. A few of the day's highlights, including the mayor's ribbon-cutting statements, are presented in this slideshow!

  • 05/21/2018 9:20 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    On May 21, the first class at Makersmiths-Purcellville was a huge success. Participants used woodshop tools to create corn hole games. Hosted by Tom Hill and Jon White, the class consisted of men, women and teens who became acquainted with the space's woodshop area and made their own popular backyard party corn hole games that some say were invented by the Native Americans in Illinois- or maybe by a German cabinet maker- or by a pioneer in Kentucky...? Doesn't matter, it is fun to play!

  • 05/04/2018 2:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Makersmiths, Inc. participated in Loudoun County Public Schools first Maker Showcase held at Brambleton MS on May 3, 2018. In this video, we captured amazing student projects created by a robot team, Girls in Gear after-school club, and maker spaces in schools that tie 3D printing into curricula initiatives. In addition, children and parents collaborated in building a Geo dome in the gym! Note in the movie our member Ralph Pugh's "creepy" bot that he created using a laser cutter! Makersmiths raffled free classes for teachers and administrators at this event. We hope the raffle winners will be encouraged to learn maker skills that they can use in maker spaces in their schools as well as at Makersmiths! We hope this will be an annual event.

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Makersmiths Leesburg: 106 Royal St SW, Leesburg, VA 20175

Makersmiths Purcellville: 785 S. 20th St, Purcellville, VA 20132

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Best way to join in is to just come on by.  

We have Drop-In Open Hours most Tuesday, Wedsnesday and Thursday nights from 7:00 to 9:00.  There'll be folks here to give you a short tour, show you around and tell you a bit more about Makersmiths.  Bring your ideas, parts, projects . . . whatever.  

                                               We're here to help!   :-)

Makersmiths is a 501(c) non-profit organization.  106 Royal St SW, Leesburg, VA 20175

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