June 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings Members,

Happy 4th of July! I am excited to announce that the UV flatbed printer is up and running at Leesburg! Look for classes to be posted soon. We will not only have red tool classes but additional ones with a make-and-take theme. The idea is students can personalize an object, see it printed and take it with them. If you are interested in helping with any of the UV printer classes, contact Mike Tomlin via Slack. Watch the #whatcha_make_today channel on Slack to see all the fantastic items that members are printing.

If you have not been to either location lately, come and check out the gardens. Purcellville has some creative planting using manhole ring hardware around the lower building, and a deer-proof rose garden behind the upper building.  The back of the Leesburg location has a nice place to sit and have lunch with butterfly-friendly plantings. Check out the #garden channel on Slack for more information on what the gardeners are doing.

We are seeing more members coming in and using our incredible machinery.  With more use comes more possibility of breakdowns. At each location, there are signs to be posted on a machine letting everyone know what the issue is. You should also report the problem using the posted QR code that takes you to a google form to fill out. By doing this, you are alerting the stewards right away to the issue and helping to get it corrected as soon as possible.   

Finally, we are working on providing opportunities for members to give back. The #volunteers_needed channel on Slack will be used to communicate these small jobs. You can also help by cleaning up more than the area where you were working. This extra effort helps keep everything clean. Remember, we are a community of volunteers. Please consider helping give back to our community makerspace where you can. See you around each of the spaces and happy MAKING!

Chairman's Statement

Dave Painter

We have a lot of new members who have joined us in the last several months and now that Covid 19 restrictions have been relaxed we are finally getting to see their faces! Being “the new kid on the block” can be awkward so please take a few moments to introduce yourself and make an effort to make them feel welcome. Find out what sort of projects they enjoy and let them know that we are glad they have joined.

Being part of Makersmiths means doing more than just greeting new members and working on your own projects, we rely on volunteers to keep things running. A golden opportunity to help out and enjoy the company of likeminded people is to come to our monthly work days. We have one coming up this Saturday July 3rd at Purcellville from 9:00AM til noonish. Come on by, say Hi to some friends and contribute a little time to keeping our unique organization running!
See you there!

Dave Painter

Scheduling Committee News

Diane Painter

Many classes are now on the July calendar at both Makersmiths locations. Please look for classes on 3D printing, the new UV printer, laser printer, blacksmithing, welding and learning how to use the plasma CNC. We are also offering a dried flower shadow box class (participants bring flowers from their garden that are dried and all other materials will be provided). Allon Stern will again offer drop-in sessions for the Electronics Shop. These will be held on Thursday evenings beginning July 15 at 7PM for anyone who wants to start a project, get help with an on-going project, or just hang out with Allon and toy with Arduinos, raspberry pi, and other cool electronics stuff.

Jennifer Chu is now our newest scheduler member to our Scheduling Committee. If you have an interest in teaching classes, please do the following: Obtain information about becoming an instructor by logging into www.makersmiths.org as a member, go to Members Only Content. From Important Information, choose Events & Classes Requirements. Download the Organizing & Running a Makersmiths Class PDF. When ready to plan a class, workshop or event, click on the Course, Class or Event Request Form red button and fill out the form. If you have any questions, please contact me at diane.painter@makersmiths.org. Jennifer Chu and I are available to help you. Thank you for your interest!

Election Results

Huge thank you to departing board members Erin Werling, Brandon Bullis, and Michael James. All your hard work during your tenure has been greatly appreciated!

Looking for great things from the incoming class - Mike DeWan, Scott Newman, and Beverly Murdock. Welcome aboard!

Featured Makersmiths Member

Meet Kristina Rall…she grew up on a farm outside of Warrenton helping her dad around the farm.  Her obsession with creating and making grew into a passion a few years ago when she got tired of dealing with sagging pantry shelves. While her husband and son were out of town, she went to the hardware store, bought a couple of tools, and built a custom pantry.  With that as a tipping point, she looked for anything and everything she could think of to build or fix.  YouTube videos became her friends teaching her how to use woodworking tools. When the pandemic hit, she made desks for her husband (a teacher), son (a 3rd grader) and a friend’s daughter. Then she moved on to cutting and charcuterie boards and recently made cedar planters along with new tops for her mom’s planting table.  These most recent projects are featured here.


Planters, just right for the season…a raised planter, perfect for easily clipping herbs and a tiered strawberry planter, for growing your own.  The second and third pieces are replacements for the tops of her mom’s planting table.  Most of them were made from her own designs.  The strawberry planter, made for her sister, was a modified version of Ana White’s plans.  You can find the plans here https://ana-white.com/woodworking-projects/10-cedar-tiered-flower-planter-or-herb-garden.  Once things settle down for Kristina, look forward to her class on the smaller planter from this link.  

~ Brenda Bartholic


I grew up in Lincoln, VA and have recently been spending some extended time with family in the area. I was very excited to find Makersmiths which happens to be right around the corner from my house. It happens to be one of the most well equipped shops I have EVER seen. I am a structural engineer, designer, woodworker and attempt to integrate all three in my small private practice; Lukas Designs, LLC.

Early this spring (as the snowy photos illustrate) I was asked by a friend to help her build a raised garden bed. 

She wanted a small 4' x 8' garden bed to begin growing vegetables for herself. Raised beds are far from innovative and happen to be one of the easiest home projects one could pursue but they are rewarding AND practical. I have built many over the years ranging from salvaged pallet wood, sawmill off cut slabs, masonry, etc. To me, there are several basic principles to a premium raised garden bed and this project aimed to address these. (Bonus points could be achieved by planing, jointing, sanding, and finishing the wood...)

Balance decay resistant material with potential toxicity.

There may be various opinions on the subject but to me pressure preservative treated material is a deal breaker. Why risk the potential for contaminating your healthy, homegrown veggies? Therefore, I look towards naturally decay resistant wood species. The Forest Products Laboratory (FPL out of Madison, WI) is a USDA Forest Service program that provides a wealth of information on all things wood related. One of their publications (The Wood Handbook) includes a very nice table illustrating the relative decay resistance of various species. In this case, we were fortunate to have a neighbor willing to give us a few boards of rough sawn, 1” x 10” Black Locust.

Other decay resistant materials would be stone / masonry, composite decking (see “Trex” product), and galvanized steel (see “Castlecreek” product).

Solid corner connections while minimizing projections into the soil.

There are many ways to join the corner and they all will work to some degree for some time. It is hard for me to recommend butt joined corners with screws into end grain. These connections provide very little integrity over the long run and will eventually deteriorate and fail. Another very common connection is to use a wood brace inside the corner to screw into. I wanted to get away from this because it can be annoying to have so many protrusions in those corners when it comes time to dig or turn the soil. Plus, I wanted to use one of my favorite resources, Simpson Strong-Tie. JWe used the galvanized Simpson ML28Z Angles with 1/4” x 1-1/2” Strong-Drive SDS Heavy-Duty Connector Screws. In order to get sufficient end distances for the fasteners, it was necessary to miter the corners. (We were stretching it in terms of edge distance but wanted to put the brackets on the outside.) Since our boards were only 1” thick, the screw tips projected through the wood. In this case, we ground the projecting fasteners down with an angle grinder but would recommend 1-1/2” thick boards. (1/4” x 1” lag screws might work too.) In either case, make sure to pre-drill into locust! Ratchet straps are your friend during assembly.

Prevent outward bowing of sides from soil lateral load.

It seems that beds over 4’ long really need an interior brace to prevent the sides from bowing out over time. In this case, we used a full depth brace at mid-span yielding (2) 4’ x 4’ planting areas. This was simply accomplished by connecting the brace with (5) #9 x 3.5” long deck screws from the outside. (Yes, these are endgrain connections, but we didn’t scrutinize this one as much…) Another option would be to build (2) 4’ x 4’ beds. You use more wood and connectors but you are left with a more manageable and modular raised bed system.

This project illustrates the use of indigenous, naturally decay resistant, and locally harvested material contrasted by the use of resilient connection hardware.

 ~ Lucas Burgher

A Sampling of Upcoming Classes 

Dried Flower Shadow Boxes/Plaques

Do you love seeing flowers grow in your garden? Wouldn't it be nice to see your flowers year round? Tammi Scannell and Diane Painter will offer a dried flower shadow box workshop on July 15 (Thurs) from 7-9 pm at MS-L. In this workshop, you will learn how to arrange dried flowers on laser-cut words and place them in a shadow box or on a plaque! Directions for drying your flowers to bring to the workshop are provided on this slideshow

Participants will work at two stations in the main room at Makersmiths-Leesburg. The first station will be at the laser cutter where you will customize and laser cut the words you want to cover with flowers. The second station will be where you will learn to arrange and tacky glue your flowers to your laser cut words and then hot glue them into a shadow box or on a plaque.

Participants please bring home grown or store bought flowers that they have dried to the workshop.

The instructors will provide shadow boxes, plaques, glue, spray and directions!

Go to https://makersmiths.org/event-4352993 to register- and bring a friend!

Ceramics Basics 

This ceramics basic workshop will be given in two parts. Part I is 2 hours long. It involves learning to work in clay, exploring 2-dimensional shapes and surface decoration. Some examples of what you can create are tiles, decorations you can hang on a wall, simple plates, soap dishes, spoon rests, plant markers, etc. You can bring your own cookie cutters, textured items such as sea shells, rubber stamps, and leaves. When in doubt, just bring it. Your instructor will fire the items. 

Part II will occur one week later for one hour. We will be glazing your fired pieces. 

Your instructor will fire your pieces again. They will be ready for pickup two days later. 

Go to https://www.makersmiths.org/event-4394939 to register - and bring a friend!

See all our upcoming classes on https://www.makersmiths.org/events, where you can choose calendar or list view. This updates often!

In the News!

Loudoun Now - "Makersmiths Make a Comeback" - thanks to Scott Newman and Jessee Maloney for a great interview!


In 2019, Makersmiths awarded Loudoun Valley/Academies of Loudoun student Brian Minnick the Maker Award: Innovation in Building Physical Apparatus or Code for his project "Creation of an FDM 3D Printer Constructed Entirely of Parts Created with Additive Manufacturing Techniques." Part of that award was a 6 month complimentary membership, which the then-16 yr old put to good use teaching the 4 part "Intro to Fusion 360 Design, Assemblies, Finite Element Analysis, and Topology Optimization" class at MS-P before heading back for his Junior year. Check out what this 2021 graduate, headed to MIT this fall, has been up to with his continued work on his quest in this article from engineering.com. Congratulations to Brian for all his hard work!

psst - judging science fairs is fun and rewarding! A number of our members have done this year after year. If you have any questions about how you can get involved, ask on the #general channel

What's New? 

Power Hammer at Purcellville! When you want to draw out your metal in the Blacksmithing shop, make it really long and thin, the new power hammer (soon to be mounted in the Blacksmith shop) is just the assist mere mortals need to get the job done. Click on the video link below to see it in action. Thanks Jim Waldron, Andrew McKinney, and Dave Painter for this very cool addition.


~ photo Tom Hill


** The Custom Framing Shop committee is looking for a new chairperson or co-chair to assist in getting the custom framing program online. Knowledge of custom framing is a bonus, but not required if you are willing to learn! Contact Anthony Lesink for details.

** Ceramics classes are starting up in July! You can sign up now. Check out the #ceramics channel on slack. Interested in becoming a ceramics instructor? Contact Jason Hill for more information

** MS-P needs additional shop stewards and trainers in Woodshop! Contact Dave Painter on Slack for more information

Makersmiths runs on volunteer power. When you become an instructor, you open up more classes for everyone!

Reminder! Saturday 7/3 is the monthly work day at Makersmiths Purcellville, 9am to noon

Weeding, lawn mower, building clean up, and many other small tasks will need to be done. Use this as your opportunity to complete your 2 hour monthly volunteer requirement!

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

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