May 2021 Newsletter



President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings Members,

                I am happy to announce that we have changed our COVID -19 restrictions.  Here is the official wording that went out last week:


  • 1)      Masks will not be required for those fully vaccinated inside the facilities. Fully vaccinated means that an individual has received their required number of inoculations, and two weeks has passed since the last one. Makersmiths will not be collecting any vaccine information or requiring anyone to show their vaccination cards.
  • 2)      It is highly recommended that those not fully vaccinated wear a mask around others and follow the recommended CDC guidelines.
  • 3)      There will no longer be any room capacity limits or social distancing requirements.
  • 4)      All other restrictions will no longer be in effect, such as not using the space for telework or social gathering.  

Those Associate Members that participated in the door access program will continue to have it until July 1.  If you wish to continue to have 24 hr access after this date, you will need to upgrade to Full Membership. The board has passed a motion that all current Associate Members are pre-approved to upgrade to Full Membership during June if they wish. The only requirement is to have taken new member orientation, which all those with 24 hr access have had. Please contact the Membership Chair, Scott Newman (, if you wish to upgrade. We plan to return to a schedule of open houses and other events that will allow Associate Members greater access to the space.

I know all of these changes seem to be happening at a fast pace. I would encourage each member to be mindful of everyone's comfort level as we come into this new normal. If you see someone with a mask on, you might offer to wear yours also. In places like the woodshop, masks are a great idea because of all the dust. One thing we seem to make in abundance is dust. Remember, we are a community of makers and should be helping everyone feel comfortable and welcome. Just like when we all started to wear masks seemed very strange, not wearing them will also. If you have any questions on this, please feel free to reach out to me on Slack or


Those that have not visited the facilities in a while, come by and see what's new. Here is a list of things to check out:  

  • The Leesburg woodshop has a brand new DeWalt planer.  The old one was retired after 4+ years of service.
  • Purcellville has some new 3D Printers.
  • Leesburg will be getting a new UV printer in mid-Jun.
  • Purcellville Blacksmith area has a power hammer.
  • New computers are going into both locations with Coral Draw 2021 and Adobe Illustrator.

Finally, we are bringing back classes and can use your help with adding more to the calendar.  Please contact Diana Painter on Slack or email ( to get things started. If you are not into teaching, you can lead an interest group. This is a great way to give back to the organization. As a reminder, every member is expected to give 2hrs back to the space a month. Please consider helping!

Chairman's Statement

Dave Painter

Now that the Governor has eased COVID restrictions, we need to start getting back to our usual activities. The first objective is to get workshops and build groups fired up again. If you have a specific skill and are willing to share your knowledge with others, please consider offering a class, a demonstration, or hosting a build group. Contact Diane Painter to get the scheduling committee to show you how. The second objective is to remind all members that we are a volunteer-run organization and we rely on our members to keep our equipment and facilities maintained and running smoothly, so get our your calendar and reserve Saturday morning, June 5th, for the monthly workday in Purcellville.

Once a month, on the first Saturday of each month, we have a “work day” at the Purcellville facility. We start at 9:00 am and leave when we’re finished, usually around 1:00pm. We use this time to perform maintenance and upkeep and to make improvements to the facility. It is a fun time to get better acquainted with your fellow makers, to give back to the organization, and to fulfill your membership obligation of monthly volunteer hours.

This month, we have a long list of projects needing attention so no matter what your skill set is, there is something you can do.

  1. Cut grass – We have a riding mower just waiting for a pilot. (one person 1.5 hours)
  2. Bring your string trimmer and fuel. We need 3 or 4 people to trim the place the lawn mower can’t go (3 people 35-40 minutes or 4 people 25-30 minutes)
  3. Pressure wash the siding on the North side of the building. Dave will bring his pressure washer. (one person 30 minutes)
  4. Help install the new sign near the front gate. We need a couple of people with strong backs and stepladders to help lift the new (heavy) sign boards into position. (2-3 people 45 minutes)
  5. Have a big old pickup truck? We can use a couple to take stuff to the dump. (two people w/trucks 1.5 hours)
  6. The doors on the lower building need to be sanded and primed. (3 doors approximately 1 hour each)
  7. Build forms, dig and level ground, and pour two concrete pads – one for an air compressor and one for the new power hammer in the blacksmithing area (4 people 3 hours)
  8. Install siding on framing shop wall. (2-3 people 3 hours)
  9. Install hasp and padlock on framing shop door. (1 person 15 minutes)
  10. After grass is mowed, use lawn mower and garden trailer to bring mulch to front of lower building and spread it out along front of building around planting rings. (2-3 people 2 hours)
  11. Framing Shop need to have a few more sheets of drywall hung and the seams need to be taped and spackled. (2-3 people 3-4 hours)
  12. Housekeeping in Upper building. Empty trashcans, clean bathroom and kitchenette area, wash tables, dust chairs, sweep floors, wash windows, put stuff away. (2-3 people 1 hour)
  13. Replace fill valve on toilet in ceramics room. (1 person 20-30 minutes)
  14. Reinstall air conditioner in window in ceramics room. (2 people 10 minutes)

Scheduling Committee Chairperson's Message

Diane Painter

We are delighted to announce that Jason Hill reports he is doing glaze tests and soon he will offer ceramics classes at our Purcellville location. Our scheduling committee is interesting in working with members to plan and offer 3D printing, Illustrator, CAD and microprocessor classes for the summer. Brenda Bartholic is looking for information about special projects folks are planning. These projects could turn into “make and take” workshops. For example, Tami Scannell and I are scheduled to meet to figure out how we can offer a dried flower workshop where participants will create shadow boxes featuring their dried flowers.

Are you a member with a making talent or expertise and willing to share your knowledge? I am available to meet with you in-person or by Google Meet. We can talk about working one-on-one with others, plan a class or a workshop or even an event that supports Makersmiths. Meanwhile, to obtain information about becoming an instructor, log into as a member, go to Members Only Content. From Important Information,choose Events & Class Requirements. Download the Organizing & Running a Makersmiths Class PDF. When ready to plan a class, workshop, or event, click on Course, Class or Event Request Form red button and fill out the form. If you have any questions, please contact me at I am available to help you.

National Inventors Month

In case you didn’t know, National Inventors Month is observed every May. Makersmiths provides myriad capabilities enabling its members and those supported by its members to experiment, create, explore and celebrate creativity. From river tables to making special 3D parts for antique cars, our members share their skills and find ways to do what would be so difficult without a place like Makersmiths.

First recognized in August 1998 to celebrate creativity, ingenuity, curiosity, and the courage to experiment, National Inventors Month has continued to recognize the talented individuals who have changed history through their inventions.  Then, in 2011, National Inventors Month was moved to May to coincide with the annual National Inventors Hall of Fame ceremony as well as to better align with the academic calendar. Celebrating inventors in May allows teachers the opportunity to encourage innovation and creativity through invention while students are still in class. Makersmiths supports scouts and students through activities like learning how wind turbines work.

A fun trip for the family would be the National Inventors Hall of Fame museum in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia. You’ll find artifacts and documents about some of your favorite inventions plus details of their programs that inspire next-generation inventors to go after their dreams. Admission is free.

On the Makersmiths site you can find many of the capabilities available in Leesburg and Purcellville.  Be sure to post your creations on the ‘Whatcha_make_today’ slack channel.  We are also looking to feature members and their fabrications. Please contact Melissa Kowalski to share information thru our monthly newsletter.

~ Brenda Bartholic

Kiosk Solar Panel Project Build

KidWind Teams Take Top 3 in Virginia Middle School Division

During this school year, five middle school students participating in Makersmiths' KidWind STEM group completed three solar powered KidWind Projects that were entered into the KidWind-VA 2021 Challenge. Winners were announced on May 25 at 4PM at James Madison University. The three of Makersmiths teams swept the Middle School KidWind Solar Challenge division! Three of the participants also entered their wind turbines into the Middle School Wind Turbine Division and were given the Wind Geek award.

Seventh graders Connor, Caleb and Soren won first place in the Middle School Solar Challenge Division for their prototype kiosk that contains a sound box. They were given the Guru award, scoring highest on the Knowledge quiz, and they earned the Circuit Master award for their careful circuitry design. Their kiosk’s sound box detects movement and plays a train sound whenever someone walks by it.  The purpose of the sound is to catch the attention of that person and draw the person back to the kiosk to read the displayed information. The sound box needs three AA batteries to operate. In order for the batteries to remain charged, the boys used three rechargeable batteries in a storage device wired to two solar panels on a rotating platform at the top of the kiosk that can be manually adjusted to follow the sun. It is tilted at an optimal angle to capture the direct sunlight during spring-summer. Why did they want to make a kiosk as their solar powered structure? Makersmiths is making a large kiosk for the Town of Purcellville to put by the former train station located downtown. The boys thought the town might be interested in their KidWind Kiosk project and incorporate their sound box idea into the town's kiosk. To learn more and see pictures and a movie of their project's development, visit Kiosk Solar Panel Project.

Seventh grade student Katie won second place in the middle school Solar Challenge.  Katie was interested in finding a way to clean pond or stream water that can be used to water plants. She created a system that uses a fish tank filter box with a charcoal filter, two water pumps and three solar panels on a platform that can be adjusted to obtain the optimum angle to capture direct sunlight at different times of the year. The solar panels operate the two water pumps. To see her movies and images of her project's development, visit Vegetable Garden Watering System.

Eighth grader Sofi won third place in the middle school Solar Challenge along with the Dream Big award. Sofi initially wanted to create a way to use solar panels to run a system that filters out salt from seawater to make the water drinkable. However, she found that obtaining suitable filter material to use was not easy to find. She then decided to figure out a way to use solar power to run a system that captures hydrogen from water that would fuel vehicles instead of vehicles using fossil fuels. Her Google Slideshow and movie documents the steps she took, first using batteries to produce power to run her electrolysis system, then switching to solar power. To see her project's development, visit Solar Powered Electrolysis.

Caleb, Connor and Soren also entered their wind turbines in the Middle School Wind Turbine Division. Even though their wind turbines did not produce the most energy when tested in the wind tunnel, their documentation of their work and performance on the knowledge quiz qualified them for the Wind Geek Award. To see their wind turbines in action, visit Wind Tunnel Testing.

The Makersmiths organization wants to thank its members Diane Painter, Jennifer Chu, Ralph Pugh and Dave Painter for their time and expertise in helping the students learn about solar power, help the students build their projects, and work through the steps they needed to collect and document the effectiveness of their projects using solar power.

~ Diane Painter

Kiosk Build back

Vegetable Garden Watering System

Solar Powered Electrolysis

Wind Turbine - Caleb

Wind Turbine - Connor and Soren

Mary Waldren wanted to grow sun-loving flowers like roses, peonies, irises, and more but her partial-to-deep-shade yard was less than ideal, so she brought her hobby to Makersmiths. She requested approval to build raised beds on the south side of the Purcellville upper building which was granted. While we are not allowed to grow edibles at the Purcellville Makersmiths location per the lease, flowers are fair game!

She started with zinnias and some perennials like salvias and daisies. Diane Painter contributed some irises she’d thinned from her own home garden. The beautification of the outdoor area continued with the addition of container plants – potted roses, Siberian Iris, clematis, and peonies. Butterfly-friendly ligularia, a shade-loving perennial with yellow flowers in the fall, found a home on the north side of the building. Lavender is about to bloom to the south of the large open storage building.

When deer found the roses this year, Jonathan White, Scott Newman, and Jim Waldren installed metal stakes that will support a bamboo deer fence made with locally harvested bamboo. Those manhole covers recently moved to the front of the lower building by Jason Hill? They will become plant containers filled with butterfly magnets like coneflowers, black-eyed susans, and verbena. And the new entrance sign will feature a flower bed.

All of these garden projects stemmed from Mary’s desire to grow flowers and practice greening up her thumb. Are you also interested in a little planting or propagation? Do you have plants in your yard you are removing or thinning that could find a home at the Purcellville Makersmiths? Join the #gardening channel on Slack to chat about all things gardening, including these ongoing projects and help make our gardens grow.

~ Melissa Kowalski


Makersmiths Board of Directors Elections Wednesday June 2 2021 7:30pm

  • There are three open spots in this election so you can only vote for 3 people.
  • Everyone’s letters on intent and bios can be found under Members Only Content > 2021 Board of Directors Candidates on
  • Only one member within each membership can vote, preferably the main name on the account. Ex: you are a Full member with several family members as part of your membership. Only one of you gets a vote. This follows our bylaws and keeps it fair with Associate memberships that are just one person.
  • Voting is already open and will close right after the last candidate gives their speech during our Monthly Member Meeting this weds. We would really like to see as many faces as possible at this meeting, so please take a look at your calendars and add this on. In case you don’t know, it’s always the first Weds of every month at 7:30. We are currently holding it virtual, so it’s even easier to attend.
  • Emails were sent out the same time as this newsletter, so if you are the main name on your membership, check your inbox for the voting link.
  • The list of candidates will show up in a random order each time someone looks at it. This eliminates any favoritism, preference or anything else like that by the members who set up this election.
  • Join the monthly member meeting on Wednesday. The link/phone to join is Phone Numbers (‪US‬) ‪+1 570-630-1100‬ PIN: ‪368 823 885#‬ 

contact Erin Werling or Jessee Maloney with any questions.

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

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