February 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

We are exploring the possibility of getting a UV flatbed printer for Makersmiths. To learn about the printer’s capabilities, see What is A UV Flatbed Printer? Quick Look at the Roland LEF-12i at https://youtu.be/Qxn96rnVLfU and how the Mutoh printer creates glossy and textured images at https://youtu.be/8jU7J08QG5k. I can see this printer used in making a variety of items such as customizing plagues, boxes and other items that can go on the flatbed. It should not go on clothing since some people may be sensitive to the ink touching their skin. Since UV flatbed printers are expensive, we want to make sure this is something the members will use. If interested in exploring this possibility, please join the Slack channel #new-equipment. I will be forming an exploratory committee if there is member interest.

We are still looking for members to join committees. Melissa Kowalski melissa.kowalski@makersmiths.org will take over the reins of the newsletter committee in April, so if anyone is interested in helping her gather news and putting together some stories about what is happening at Makersmiths, please let Melissa know. Jessee Maloney (jesseesuemaloney@gmail.com) needs members to join her on the Social Outreach Committee. Members of this committee help distribute flyers and engage in other promotional activities to help get the word out about Makersmiths. Jessee is also looking for someone with API experience to help with the Makersmiths webpage. APIs connect user-facing front ends with all-important back end functionality and data. Scott Newman, chairperson for the Membership Committee, is looking for members to help give tours to potential new members and help with orientations. Please contact Scott (maker.msgs@gmail.com) if you can help welcome our new members.

We still need to remain vigilant and continue to follow CDC and our state guidelines for group gatherings. Everyone must wear a face mask at ALL TIMES when inside a building. No more than 3 people to a large room. Classes can have 4 (instructor and 3 students). Be sure to maintain a social distance of at least 6 ft. The spaces may NOT be used for social gatherings, group recreational activities, as a substitute for a home office, work from home, or as a remote office. In many cases, pandemic initiatives have first priority such as face mask, face shield, or other pandemic support activities. Located at each site are hand sanitizers and sanitizing wipes for use in the facilities. Each member needs to wipe down any parts of the facility used before and after use.

We continue to grow in membership, adding six new members in January. Thank you to Scott Newman who is chairing the membership committee. At this time, current associates can have door rights if they have taken new member orientation and at least one red tool class. If you are an associate member requiring access, please send an email to AugustAccess@makersmiths.org 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 may be able to work something out if that is the case. Please send us an email to info@makersmiths.org and tell us about your situation.

Chairman's Statement

Dave Painter

It appears that we will begin returning to a new normal this summer.  A critical percentage of the population is projected to have received a COVID-19 vaccination by May or June and while we may not return to life exactly as we knew it, we will be able to safely drop restrictions on the size of public gatherings. For Makersmiths members this is exceptionally good news. Not only is it more fun to work and build things with other people it is often the fastest means of learning a new skill.  So I ask all of you to think about sharing your expertise by offering a class or leading a build group.  Please contact diane.painter@makersmiths.org if this is your first time teaching a class. She will be glad to walk you through the process of planning the event.

There are a number of Makersmiths initiatives that might be of interest to you.  We have again reserved an organization garden plot in the area of Leesburg, so if you are interested in joining the group, check out the gardening channel in Slack. We are working with Town of Purcellville to design and build a solar-powered kiosk that will be installed by the Old Train station. The idea is to inform residents and visitors about events in town. If interested in joining our build group for this project, please let me know.  

John Dubelko dropped off some brand new high-end chisels for use at Makersmiths-Purcellville and soon a set will come to our Leesburg location. These are only for wood-working. We are looking at getting other hand tools soon. If you would like to help with this process, let John know.  Finally, if you have experience and interest in helping Makersmiths write grant proposals that will help us grow our organization, or you have PR experience promoting organizations such as ours, please let me know. 

Thank you for your interest and willingness to serve our organization. 

Featured Makersmiths Member

Anthony Lesink

As a member of Makersmiths, I enjoy a variety of “making” activities such as woodworking, electronics, picture framing, and 3d printing. In addition, I enjoy helping new members become acclimated to the organization and teaching courses such as two new virtual “hands-on” courses that I would like to highlight.

The Microprocessors and the Internet of Things is an online course designed to give attendees a basic understanding of the world of interconnected devices. This course begins with some background on microprocessors and focuses on Arduino-based devices. Participants will learn about the components of an Arduino based board and how those components work together to create an incredible assortment of functionality.

The course also introduces types of devices that communicate worldwide. We use this knowledge to modify our own lab kit that includes an Arduino based processor, water sensor, and USB power cable. Participants in the course modify the arduino code that I provide so that the sensor will alert them when water is detected, such as a water heater leak.

I also teach a course entitled Introduction to Node-RED Microprocessor Automation. This is an introduction to using Node-RED, a simple graphical programming language for automating microprocessor functions such as monitoring temperatures, triggering alarms, or controlling household automations.

The Introduction to Microprocessors and the Internet of Things course is a recommended pre-requisite, but not required.

In this course, I provide the participants with a lab kit consisting of an arduino-based microprocessor connected to a sensor (water level or humidity, your choice) and related wiring. During the course, participants learn to program a Node-RED function (function nodes in Node-RED were designed to process messages as single entities) to monitor the sensor to create a log file and email or send SMS alerts when thresholds are reached. We also discuss the MQTT protocol (a messaging protocol built on top of TCP/IP) used for communication between the device and Node-RED.

I will be offering these courses again in March 2021. Please look for them on the Makersmiths online calendar at https://www.makersmiths.org/events

Purcellville's EBF creating a sign for Deputy Gentry's ramp project.

Deputy Gentry's Ramp Project

Mark Richert

I saw a Slack post by David Lang regarding Sheriff's Deputy Gentry. The post explained that Deputy Gentry was recently shot in the line of duty. David had been in contact with Deputy Gentry's father, Tony, who indicated that his son is expected to make a full recovery but will require the use of a wheelchair for the foreseeable future. Tony requested the construction of two wheelchair ramps to assist his son on the stairs to their house. I contacted David to explain that I have an extensive background in construction and would be happy to assist. David put me in touch with Tony so that I could meet him at his house to measure for the ramp, and then on to his son's house to measure for the second ramp.

From there, I came up with the design and purchased the materials. The structure of the ramp is made of 2x8 lumber and the top is made of plywood. I stained the plywood black and painted the recessed portion blue. The color scheme represents ‘the thin blue line' which symbolizes law enforcement's commitment to protect our communities from violent threats. This symbol is widely adopted across the law enforcement field.

Functionally, the rough texture of the plywood and the recessed lines help provide traction for the ramps. The smaller ramp is 36 x 48 and the larger ramp is 36x60. Since the plywood was 48" wide, I was 12" short of the required 60." That's where the pine stair tread came in. I notched the 2x8 structure to accommodate the thicker stair tread material so the surface was even and routered the edge into a bullnose profile.

I then solicited help from fellow makers to customize this plank and Jonathan White graciously accepted. Jonathan and I worked out the design, he created the file in Inkscape and finalized it in VCarve. We customized the pine stair tread on both sides. The top depicts a law enforcement badge and is inscribed, “You Are The Thin Blue Line.” The bottom is an American flag with the caption, “Thank You For Your Service.” I debated staining the piece before machining it but ultimately decided to use a propane torch to burn the surface instead.

When I met up with Jonathan at MS-P, he showed me the process of using the ECB CNC machine (Big Blue) from start to finish. Once routered, I finished the piece with two coats of satin polyurethane. The idea is that when Deputy Gentry is fully recovered and no longer requires the ramp, he can remove the plank and the flag side will be untarnished from daily use. Deputy Gentry can keep the plank as a reminder of how much his community appreciates his service and sacrifice. I installed both ramps and the Gentry's were incredibly grateful. Thank you to Makersmiths for informing me about the project and to Jonathan White for helping take it to the next level!

AmazonSmile Supports Makersmiths

Diane Painter

Because in late 2020 when I chose Makersmiths as my AmazonSmile supported charity, the purchases I made generated $64 that went directly to Makersmiths.  The purchases I made in January 2021 generated $10.29 for our organization. According to a notice I received in mid-February from Amazon, Makersmiths has received $287.78 from November 2020 through mid-February 2021 and that donated money came from people who chose our organization as their AmazonSmile charity. 

If you are an Amazon customer and have not chosen a charity to support through AmazonSmile, please consider choosing Makersmiths. With the pandemic limiting class and workshop offerings that help generate income to keep our nonprofit going, donations are needed. Thank you for considering this way of helping Makersmiths. Learn more about AmazonSmile!  Thank you! 

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

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