August 2021 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings Members,

I want to thank everyone for their support of Makersmiths, especially those who helped spruce up the Leesburg location last month. The facility looked a little ragged but now is clean top to bottom and has a new look.  If you have not been by to see the changes, you need to. Don’t have access? All you need now as a household or individual member is to take the new-member orientation class to get it. Check out for class schedules.

Makersmiths will be turning seven years old this month.  We have come a long way from meeting at our first location on Lauson Rd.  We now have two locations, over 240 members, all kinds of classes, and lots of equipment. Most importantly, we have kept to our mission statement.  If you have not seen it in a while here it is:

To provide a community workshop where people can learn, teach, and collaborate on creative and technical works, and to promote the usefulness of competence in the technical arts to the public; and by serving as a center of information about the technical arts for members, schools, other interested groups and the general public.


John Dubelko

President & Founding Member

Chairman's Statement

Dave Painter

Just a quick reminder, you can fulfill your volunteer hours requirement by helping clean and maintain our facilities each month. MS-P is the first Saturday of the month and MS-L is the second Saturday. If you are not free on those dates, please check out the #volunteers_needed channel on Slack for new opportunities. Many hands make light work!

Scheduling Committee News

Diane Painter

There are a number of classes now on the August and September calendars for both Makersmiths locations. Please look for UV printer, laser printer, blacksmithing, and welding classes, just to name a few.  Allon Stern offers drop-in sessions for the Electronics Shop at the Leesburg location on Thursday evenings. 

Open Houses at MS-Purcellville are scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 6-8 pm and on Thursday evenings, Open Houses are held from 6-8pm at MS-Leesburg.

D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) game nights are held at both locations. On Sundays they are held at MS-Leesburg and on most Thursday evenings they are held at MS-Purcellville. Please note that on the second Thursday of every month, D&D games will be at the Leesburg location since the Purcellville location holds Basic Red Tool trainings in the main room and woodshop areas.

If you have an interest in teaching classes, please do the following: Obtain information about becoming an instructor by logging into as a member, and go to Members Only Content. From Important Information, choose Events & Classes Requirements. 

Building a SportsTech Product and Startup

James Li is a Junior at UC Berkeley, having graduated from AOS and Dominion HS in 2019. He has been a member of Makersmiths since 2017, when Mark Millsap taught him to use the laser cutter for a sustainable energy research project.

While playing ice hockey my senior year of high school, I realized I, like many other players, frequently looked down at the puck during practices and games. To know where their teammates and opponents are, you must play heads up. If your head is down, you won’t know when to make a pass or shoot the puck and you may even blindly collide with other players and sustain injury. I saw the need for a training device that specifically reinforced heads up play and went to work.

Brad Hess introduced me to Internet of Things and gave me some direction on appropriate sensors. I attended one of the Arduino classes at Makersmiths for more background. The first prototype was made with the Arduino Uno and a motion sensor and could track the orientation of the player’s head to tell when that player’s head went below a customizable alert angle. 

After I got to Berkeley in Fall 2019, I continued the work with 2 of my friends who were skilled in CS and 3D design. Until March 2020, we kept the same software functionality and started using the Adafruit Feather BLE board to make our hardware more compact. My friend made the first version of our encasement, which we 3D printed at Berkeley. This version of our prototype clipped onto the side of a player’s helmet and was very bulky, but it allowed us to start user testing and begin iterating on our prototypes with user feedback.

Spring of 2020 brought me back to Loudoun County and I spent a lot of time at the Makersmiths using the Elegoo resin 3d printer and PCB oven with the help of Michael James and Brad Hess. COVID seemed like a big bummer when it first happened but it was actually a good opportunity to do continuous product development and test with users at local ice rinks in Virginia, since Berkeley has very few ice rinks and hockey players. I was using the Elegoo printer to print new versions of our encasements and I was using the PCB oven to build new versions of our PCBs, which would change every few weeks or so. Below is a photo of one of our custom PCBs and resin encasement.

Fast forward to today and my team has practically finalized our hardware, which is patent pending and has been brought to market. We are selling SportVue on our website, Here are a few photos of SportVue being used by our earliest customers and first adopters.

~James Li

A lot of our current work revolves around marketing and we are continuing product development on the software and app dev side. Sales of our hardware is our biggest challenge. Cheers to the Makersmiths and all the great makers and mentors there!

Makersmith Educational Initiatives

Diane D. Painter

At times we have new members inquire about Makersmiths fun “maker” activities for families that involve children and youth. In 2020-2021, Makersmiths sponsored several middle school KidWind turbine and solar challenge initiatives, and began a 2-year mentorship to support two Woodgrove HS students completing an agricultural research project.

This school year’s educational initiatives began on August 25, when four members of the KidWind 2021 Makersmiths middle school team tested out a STEM Lingo workshop given by Makersmiths member and retired engineer, Ralph Pugh. The STEM Lingo kit was created by Washington DC resident Aisha Brown, an accomplished engineer and entrepreneur, and friend of Ralph’s daughter. The kit consists of an Arduino (microcontroller that can read inputs and turn them into outputs to make something happen such as activating a motor), wiring diagrams, programs called Sketches, and a guide that helps one build projects.

See for images and movies from this event. Look for future announcements about StemLingo workshops Ralph will offer for families. He envisions a parent working with a youth (ages 10+) in a three-hour workshop that promises to be a fun, hands-on experience at the novice level on how Arduinos work.

Beginning in September, Makersmiths members Dave Bock, (a software engineer and founder of and Rob Shirley (a Loudoun County Public Schools Tech Ed teacher) will offer 6-week Arduino workshops for youth in grades 8-12. This will be a fun hands-on introduction to the Arduino programmable microcontroller system and many accessories and sensors, potentially leading participants designing and building their own project for fun or for a specific project.

Rob Shirley’s MS-L Hacking a Robot Brain for Fun and Productivity will be on Friday afternoons at Makersmiths Leesburg from 4:30-6PM beginning Sept. 24 (enroll at Dave Bock’s MS-P Hacking a Robot Brain for Fun and Productivity will be on Sunday afternoons at Makersmiths Purcellville from 2-3:30PM beginning Sept. 26 (enroll at

In March 2022, Loudoun County Public Schools plans to hold a Maker Fair. They asked Makersmiths' educational liaison, Diane Painter, to be on the planning committee.

If you have an idea for an educational initiative, particularly one that will help students create a project for this fair, please contact Diane Painter at

Scheduling Tool Time

Jessee Maloney

Want to reserve your time on one of the many tools at Makersmiths? We now have reservation calendars for the Laser Cutter, Roland UV Printer, 3D Resin Printer, Big Red CNC, Big Blue CNC & Tormach! (Plasma CNC & Welding will be available in the future)

There is a SINGLE form, but then separate calendars. Please be sure to select the correct machine when filling out the form!!!

Just like with the old Laser Calendar, if something needs to be changed or fixed, you will need to contact the machine steward to do so. Each steward has been given admin access to their respective calendar (stewards, check your Makersmiths emails)

Each calendar can be viewed under Members Only Content > Tool Reservations. You will find the link to the form, as well as different reservation rules for each machine on the pages to make it easy for everyone.

Please message Jessee Maloney with any questions!

HUGE thanks to Jonathan Skeate for this much-needed upgrade to our tool scheduling!!!

Adobe Illustrator Class

Julien Tricheux

Come join us at Makersmiths Leesburg to discover the wonders of Adobe Illustrator!

Illustrator is a useful and versatile vector software used to create a myriad of things like illustrations, blueprints, posters, logos, stickers and even cool pie charts. Over a three hour class you'll learn the very basics of this industry standard design software that can also be used with our vinyl cutter, laser cutting machine, our CNC, and our brand new UV printer.

Julien begins this Basics course by introducing you to the software’s interface and showing you how to set up your first documents. He'll then show you how to draw your first shapes and graphics with the program’s fundamental tools.

The class ends with some more fun-oriented practice to discover some of the advanced potential of Adobe Illustrator.

There is no prerequisite and we'll provide participants with a laptop for the class if you need one. Please let the instructor know in advance if you are borrowing a laptop for the class.

The amazing thing with Illustrator is almost everyone can find some use for the skill they learn. If you're into quilting, woodworking, cosplay, forging, videography, or you are simply someone starting your brand, there is something for you in learning Illustrator.

There are currently 3 upcoming classes on the calendar, including a class this Saturday September 4.

Please paws to admire Kristina Ralls' "bark-cuterie" tray

Holy cow, check out this dragonfly puzzle made on the laser cutter by Phil Poliquin


* Leesburg Board Game Night is looking for some new games to add to the mix. Got anything interesting gathering dust at home? Contact Jessee 

* Have you seen the #hire-a-maker channel on Slack? Check it out!

*  Gentle reminder that we do not have trash service at Makersmiths Purcellville. When you generate significant scraps, or find the trash cans half full, PLEASE take the bag home with you and dispose of it with your other household trash. Thank you for your continued support of our mission.

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

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