December 2020 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

As we begin to close out 2020, we need to plan for next year. Please let me know if you would like to continue to lead a committee or be a shop steward. Most everything is being done virtually. We are going to lean on folks to provide a few things like goals, training schedules and such. I will be having a few meetings to help the chairpersons and shop stewards on this. I am still looking for someone to lead these committees:

  • Marketing
  • Ham Radio
  • Maintenance
  • Electronics
  • Scouting
We also need members to join the following committees:
    • Membership
    • IT
    • New member orientation
    • Newsletter

    It is great to see members using our facilities to work on various projects and sharing what they create in Slack's Whatcha_make_today channel. Here are some important reminders when working in the spaces:

    • Everyone must wear a face mask at ALL TIMES when they are inside a building.
    • No more than 3 people to a large room. Classes can have 4 (instructor and 3 students). Maintain a social distance of at least 6 ft.
    • Current associates can have door rights until Jan 1st if they have taken new member orientation and at least 1 red tool class.
    • We are would like to bring back small classes. Please consider helping teach a class.
    Things that have not changed:
    • The space may NOT be used for social gatherings, for group recreational activities, as a substitute for a home office, work from home, or remote office.
    • In many cases, the sites will be used for mask, face shield, or other pandemic support activities, and those activities will be given priority.
    • We have provided hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for use in the facilities and request that each member wipe down any parts of the facility used before and after their use.
    • If you are an associate member requiring access, please send an email to so we can set you up on the August smart lock. We will need your full name, cell phone number, and the first date you plan to visit the space.
    • If you must drop your membership for financial reasons let us know. We maybe be able to work something out. Send an email to

    We wish you and your family a safe, happy holiday season!

    Chairman's Statement

    Dave Painter

    Happy New Year! I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to putting 2020 behind us. The year 2021 can’t help but be a huge improvement! So, as you are making your New Years’ Resolutions, please put more involvement at Makersmiths near the top of your list. Not only is it a fun place to indulge your inner learner, but there are few things as rewarding as creating something, and it is good for the soul! Resolve to help your fellow makers, and support Makersmiths by remembering to contribute two hours a month to benefit our community; teach a class, share what you’ve discovered as you made something, or pitch in and help with maintenance and housekeeping chores. The more of yourself you put into something, the more you benefit.

    Introducing the Maintenance Committee

    We recently started a Maintenance Committee. We made a list of every tool we own, and we are in the process of completing a library of the owner’s manuals. When this task is complete, we will create a customized "Preventative Maintenance Check List" for each tool and determine proper intervals to perform maintenance. Then, we will train a group of people to do the maintenance so that many members can share the burden of caring for our equipment. Our expectation is that a robust preventative maintenance program will benefit us by increasing tool availability, prolong the life of our tools, keep them in top-notch condition, and improve everyone’s enjoyment of the tools. Please consider joining this committee, (we hold video meetings) as there is a lot of research, writing, editing, training, and maintenance that we need to do.

    We are also beginning to write “Pre-Flight” checklists for our most popular tools so that members can refresh their memory before using a tool. These checklists will not take the place of tool training and certification because members still need to take a class before using our tools, but the checklists will act as a refresher when a tool has not been used for awhile or when members are just starting to learn how to use the tool. We are confident that everyone will benefit because as members gain confidence in using our equipment, we will experience less tool damage. These are just two ideas for volunteer hours that will benefit Makersmiths, but there are many more volunteer opportunities. Next month we will spotlight the Membership committee.

    Featuring Makersmiths Member
    Demian Pedroza

    There are some members of Makersmiths who have an idea for a new product and they find that our spaces are great places to work on their prototypes. It is always exciting to see their ideas take off and become a success. This month we asked member, Demian Pedroza, to share his story.

    ZooSmart, Bring the Zoo Experience Home!

    I am a business development consultant for emerging markets and I am also an entrepreneur. I recently moved back home to Leesburg after three years of work and living in Africa where my personal interest for animal conservation grew and combined with my since-childhood passion for puzzles, chess and brain-teasers, motivated me to develop and design of the ZooSmart concept.

    It was on March, 2020, while searching for printing and laser cutting shops in the area, that I learned about Makersmiths and its shop capabilities. I joined as an associate member to prototype my product. ZooSmart by Ignithink is a collection of cluster puzzles, real-life animal figures creatively illustrated and designed to interconnect with other similar figures. Containing anywhere from 20 to 220 animal tiles, each puzzle is color printed in wide format and then adhered to a wood board which is engraved and laser cut on its reverse side.

    As of today, ZooSmart has prototyped seven of their products to present to our initial market composed of the gift-shops at zoos and museums organizations. And one of our puzzles, the Dinosaurs Cluster Puzzle, is already in mass production overseas.

    I am very appreciative for the equipment and educational resources I have found in Makersmiths, but I am mostly thankful for the warm and helpful environment I have found within Makersmiths’ staff and member base.

    ZooSmart promises to be a novelty product in the toys market, different than jigsaw puzzles, because each ZooSmart piece is different and assembles in a uniquely fun and challenging way due to its cluster feature. To top it all off, the puzzle educates its users about animal behavior and habitats, and the puzzle “grows” by adding more animals through puzzle extensions.

    I am also looking for partnerships to open a local production site for low volume retail orders and faster turnaround. Please let me know if you have any leads or ideas for me. I would love hearing from you!

    Demian Pedroza, Ignithink

    Prototyping the puzzles was particularly difficult for a myriad of reasons.  Accurately locating registration marks on the backer board and aligning them with the engraving and laser cutting files was a challenge as was minimizing burn marks on the colored image. Most challenging, though, was creating separate vector images that would line up perfectly when multiple pieces needed to be run due to the lasers’ limited working area. Makersmiths provided the tools, help and expertise I needed to create the puzzles I have created so far. 

    Demian Pedroza

    What's New? 

    Have you checked the Makersmiths’ YouTube Channel lately? Jim Waldron just created a movie entitled, 2 X72 Grinder Instructions

    View it on Youtube at

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

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