April 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings!  I want to thank all of you for being part of Makersmiths. This month, we have broken a new record for members. There are now over 200 people in the organization. I look forward to seeing what all of you are making. Keep posting the #whatcha_make_today channel on slack!

We are in the final stages of purchasing a flat bed UV printer for Leesburg.  Fingers crossed that it will be in by the end of May.  Look for classes on that and if you want to help with setup and training let me know.

As I wrote last month, the pandemic is hopefully waning. Many of us are now vaccinated and feel like venturing out more. We still need to remain vigilant and follow the CDC and Virginia guidance on group gatherings.  Members must wear a face mask at all times while inside our buildings and adhere to social distancing guidelines.  Each site has hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes for use in the facilities. 

While the pandemic continues, we are providing Associate Members full access to both the Leesburg and Purcellville spaces after they have taken New Member Orientation and at least one Red Tool Class.  A Red Tool is a machine or tool with the potential for personal injury or damage if misused.  Red Tool classes are available through the tool/room steward or the events calendar on our webpage. 

Chairman's Message

Dave Painter

Welcome to May! A time to dust off the lawn mower, replant the garden, and get to some of those house repairs that you’ve been putting off all winter waiting for fairer weather. The urge to get out and do something is doubly strong this year as we are all suffering from the isolation that Covid has imposed. While we can’t say that things are back to “normal” just yet, we are well on our way with over 50% of the adult population now vaccinated and further easing of Covid-based restrictions on the near horizon.

Now is a good time to look toward the needs of Makersmiths. We only exist through the generosity of our members who donate their time to do all the hundreds of little things that need to be done to keep things moving along. In fact, a couple of hours of volunteer work each month is a requirement of membership. Saturday May 1st  from 9:00AM to 1:00 PM is a work day at Purcellville and we need LOTS of people with their string trimmers to socially distance and help fight back the weeds around both buildings and the driveway. We also need to perform a Spring Cleaning on the buildings to get them ready for the busy summer months so bring cleaning supplies, too.  The building in Leesburg also needs a good airing out and Spring Cleaning, so consider that.

We all know that our members are some of the most interesting and talented people out there so think about offering a class to share your knowledge with other members. You don’t have to offer a masters-level class, you can share in a Slack channel a “This is an interesting activity and here is what I’ve learned so far” kind of class. At the very least you’ll meet other people who share your interests and isn’t that one of the reasons you joined Makersmiths in the first place? 

Scheduling Committee Chairperson's Message

We are looking forward to offering small classes and workshops this spring and summer. With new members joining and itching to learn to use the tools and make things in our workshops, let’s be creative and think of quick but useful projects that we can offer that will help them build some skills. For example, we could offer a workshop on creating a simple wooden plant stand or corn hole game. I know I would like to take a workshop on tuning up a bicycle so I can get out and enjoy our nice weather! Wouldn’t it be nice to make plant markers to identify the plants growing in our gardens? These markers could be made on the laser cutter or even using CNC machines. What ideas do you have? Are you willing to be an instructor? Please contact diane.painter@makersmiths.org and let me know!

Featured Makersmiths Member

Anders Ogelman

This month, we are featuring one of our high school members, Anders Ogelman, who has taken his passion for livecoding music and shared it with others at Makersmiths. He hosts both a Slack channel and Monday night Livecode Meets, where he is able to teach and collaborate with other enthusiasts.

Some may view music as an art and computer programming as a science, and thus assume the two are incompatible. However, a burgeoning audiovisual art movement known as algorave indicates otherwise. Algorave is a portmanteau of “Algorithm” and “Rave”, the former being a set of rules and processes used to solve a problem, and the latter being an electronic dance music party, historically held in abandoned warehouses or other illicit locations. 

At a Rave, a DJ plays tracks for the crowd to dance. The DJ reads the mood of the crowd, and selects and mixes music accordingly. Like Raves, Algoraves are live events oriented around a group experience with electronic music. At an Algorave, a performer reads the crowd and plays music accordingly, but they go about it in a very different way. Algorave performers use livecoding to deliver performances. 

Livecoding is, simply stated, writing and updating computer programs in real time, generally in front of an audience. These programs are the “algorithm” part of Algorave, and they instruct the computer to produce sounds. People dance to these sounds, which turns the event into a “Rave”. It is important to note that Livecoders are not DJs, and have no intention of replacing traditional DJs. Livecoders create music in collaboration with a computer in a live context, as opposed to playing existing pieces (though that’s not to say one can’t incorporate existing pieces of music into a Livecoding performance should they wish to). The music people create with Livecoding ranges from danceable and accessible beats to off the wall experimentation and bizarre electronic sounds. And best of all, many of the softwares necessary to get started with Livecoding are free. 

In late 2020, Makersmiths Purcellville launched a series of classes to introduce people to livecoding.  This became a small group of individuals who meet on Mondays at 7:00 p.m. to learn and talk about Livecoding and Algorave.  They are centered around the music Livecoding language Tidalcycles. The hour long meetings have a very loose structure with participants sharing what they’ve been working on, giving each other tips, and enjoying each other’s music. 

Through these meetings, they are all learning and improving their Livecoding skills, with the goal of eventually holding  a real Algorave.  The group highly encourages anyone who finds the idea of programming music in a real-time context exciting, to stop by one of the meetings. You can join through the recurring event “Live coding music” on the Makersmiths website. 

Enjoy a sampling of Algoraves below


Mandalas - Art on the Laser Cutter

Mike Tomlin

Since I was a young kid, I have always been mesmerized by the symmetry and intricacies of the mandala. I used to draw them in my sketch books - literally hundreds of them. After learning how to use the laser cutter at Makersmiths, I realized it was a perfect tool to bring my childhood fascination to life! I use Inkscape to draw each of the layers after sketching them out on paper. These multilayer mandalas are cut from 1/8 inch MDF then each cutout is painted individually, stacked, and glued to make the final piece.


Bird's Mouth Bowl

Mike Werling

Mike Werling recently made this beautiful piece called a “Bird’s Mouth Bowl.” A neighbor gifted him some wood, a live oak branch that came down during the recent ice storms, from their parent’s Texas home. Mike says, “The wood is very green, moisture was pooling in my gouge as I turned it. I expect some cracking, since this is an entire branch with pith. I put some CA glue on the bark to keep it from popping off, so the bark seems a bit shiny. I coated the body with some boiled linseed oil to give it some protection and color.” Following an article from Woodworkers Journal for the turning, Mike used his Nova DVR lathe at his home but assures, “...it could easily be done on the midi lathes we have at Makersmiths.”

Makersmith Virtual Tour Videos

Have you seen the videos of our spaces in Leesburg and Purcellville? One of our many talented members, Jonathan White, crafted these with support from the Video Committee. The video was recorded with an iPhone 11 and the DJ Mimo Mobile V2 gimble. The gimble keeps the video recording steady while walking through the space. Jon has found many uses for it during the pandemic, including stabilizing Facetime calls with his wife. This enabled her to watch their son’s sports events when only one parent was allowed to attend.

To put it all together, Jon used Cyberlink Power Director, on the recommendation of a friend. Jon has done some basic video/sound editing in the past, but this was definitely more complex with the intro clips, speed up sections, and callouts. One of his friends helped with ideas and turning those ides into software reality. The “corporate sounding” music clip was free, as long as it was attributed to the artist.

This was his first video project in a long time. Jon’s learning process works best with a tangible project like these videos. Cyberlink Power Director has lots of resources on the internet. The hardest part for him was designing and sketching out the details to make it look professional. He learned a lot from the process, like the optimum video movement speeds and when to freeze frames. Like most makers, Jon’s philosophy is, just do it and you will learn. If you are interested in creating your own video, he suggests coming up with a 1-minute idea, shooting the video, and then start editing. The good thing about the software is that you can always go back and change the video clip, change the music, and change the title screens. Nothing is set in stone until you hit “Produce” or “Render.” Even then, you can delete the video file and start again. So just jump in and make something and check out the videos on the Makersmith YouTube channel (be sure to subscribe) if you haven’t seen them yet! 

What's New? 

Upcoming class for the whole family! Make something fun for Mother's Day with a Virtual Soap Making Class on Saturday May 8th. Register by Wednesday May 5th to have the kit dropped off at your door.  https://www.makersmiths.org/event-4259310

Watch your email for new classes coming up - Ceramics will begin schedule classes starting next week! Join the #ceramics Slack channel to keep up on the latest info


Board of Directors

Want to be more involved with running the Makersmith space? We are looking for members who are interested in running for the Board of Directors. Each Board member serves at 3 year term and attends monthly meetings. If you have any questions, reach out to Erin Werling on Slack or email at werling6@gmail.com. Election will be held during the June member meeting!

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

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