March 2022 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings Members,

Spring is here and there are more things to make! I am happy to report we have gotten through a large part of the backlog of red tool classes. Thank you, instructors, for stepping up to get that done. If you would like to be an instructor or event host, please let us know on the #host-a-class Slack channel or go to the members-only area à important information à Event & Class Requirements to learn more.

As we get busier, remember to reserve machines that are reservable. This helps everyone know if the machine is available or not. This also helps us know how popular a machine is for future planning. Those that schedule have priority over those that do not. Check out the members-only area for those schedules. If you need to change a reservation, post it on the appropriate slack channel

Thank you for all the volunteer hours you're giving to the space. Things are looking great! Let's keep it up!

Happy Making!

John Dubelko


Volunteer Corner

Chuck Whiteacre

Greetings MAKERSMITHS Members –

If you ever compared other makerspaces locally or remotely, our MAKERSMITHS organization beats just about any other space out there. One of the reasons is our core commitment, as members, to support the organization with our personal skills, gifts and time. While there is a 2 hour/month membership requirement to volunteer in support our Spaces, many of our members commit many more.

In the future, we are going to do a better job of advertising opportunities to volunteer in the newsletter’s “Volunteer Corner”. These volunteer opportunities will not only go to the membership volunteer requirement but, more importantly, help the club continue to grow, improve and expand our community awareness & service.

So … the next month is going to be a busy one with 3 festivals that we need volunteers to staff. They are:





Leesburg Flower & Garden Festival

4/23 & 4/24

10-6, 10-5

Downtown Leesburg

Purcellville Music & Arts Festival



Dillons Woods, Purcellville

Loudoun Dept of Economic Development, Small Business Week



Makersmith Purcellville

PLEASE – post any amount of time you could/would commit to one of these festivals on the Slack #marketing channel or send me an email at Also, as we continue to expand our marketing program, we need volunteers to chair subcommittees for the following:




Please … volunteer as your time allows … or can allow and THANK YOU to all that volunteer in support of our MAKERSMITHS group and programs.

Education Initiative

High School Science Research Projects

Since 2018, Makersmiths members, working as mentors to school-aged students, provided guidance and support as students completed STEM related projects. This school year, three Makersmiths members served as mentors for four students at Woodgrove High School.

Alessia Jones and Marliana Marraccini are seniors in Mr. Matt Young’s science research class. The girls completed a two-year project to train a neural network to identify wheat from non-wheat plants. This process acts as the foundation for visual scanners that can be used with agricultural robots when spraying herbicide.  The goal is to only spray weeds, decreasing glyphosate residue that is a harmful substance to plants that people consume. Their Makersmiths’ corporate mentor is Shereef Sayed, a scientist at Mitre Corporation.

Learning how the neural network database works


Shareef Sayed working with the girls to build a camera stand to use in the wheat fields

Carter Nikola and Jon Kogon are seniors in Mr. Matt Young’s science research class. They designed and tested out a lower limb exoskeleton that uses a microprocessor to assist the user when walking. Jim Waldron and Dave Painter served as their Makersmiths mentors. Diane Painter helped the boys make a connection with Dr. Michele Wiley, a faculty member at Shenandoah University’s Physical Therapy program, who provided the boys with prothesis equipment that they can use to modify for their project.  

Assembling the exoskeleton


Exoskeleton on Jon Kogon

On March 16, the four science research students will present their projects to various industry scientists and educators in a virtual conference to obtain feedback on their work.

Makersmiths KidWind Teams are Winners

Diane Painter and Jennifer Chu (Makersmiths’ KidWind coaches) are beyond pleased with their three KidWind teams that performed very well at the March 9 Western Regional Renewable Energy Challenges at James Madison University. All three teams competed in the Middle School Division. The grade eight solar team members Jocelyn Ro, Katie Choi, Soren Ogelman and Zara Ramadan won first place for their solar smart house. The house uses six solar cells that keep a rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery charged, providing power to an Arduino Pro Mini that operates a fan when the house gets hot, and turns on lights when it gets dark. The team also won the Circuit Masters award for their wiring diagram of the house.

Jocelyn Ro, Katie Choi, Soren Ogelman and Zara Ramadan left to right

See the team movie!

The Silver Blades wind turbine team members, Ayden Young (Gr.5), Cameron Clarke (gr.5), Max Burrus (Gr.6) and Nick Burrus (Gr.4), tied for first place.  Silver Blades also earned the Good Sportsmanship award because as they were waiting to test their blades, they apparently helped other teams troubleshoot their turbines! Our Golden Wind Blades team members, Jack Seiter (Gr.4), Silas Herr (Gr.3), Molly Seiter (Gr.3) and Amin Ziraknejad (Gr.3), won second place.  

Golden Wind Blades’ turbine being tested in the wind tunnel


Ayden Young, Cameron Clarke, Max and Nick Burrus, left to right


Jack Seiter, Silas Herr, Molly Seiter, and Amin Ziraknejad, left to right

A very special thank you goes to Ralph Pugh for working with the solar team to learn how to interface solar panels with Arduino technology. We also could not have done this without the support of Dave Painter who worked with parent Scott Clarke to build a test wind tunnel so our wind turbine teams could test their blades before going on to the regional challenge.

Makersmiths wind tunnel with blades on a turbine stand

We also want to recognize the KidWind parents who served as volunteer helpers in preparation sessions and at the challenge. Makersmiths member, Ted Markson, also met with the solar team to explain how he works in the renewable energy industry as an engineer.


John Seiter assisting the team at the challenge

Ted Markson speaking to the solar team

We are awaiting specific information about going on to state competition that will be held at Virginia State University on April 23. But it looks like another road trip is in store for us to compete all over again with winners from the other regional Renewal Energy Challenges that will be held in the Eastern Tidewater Region and the Southern Virginia Region.  

Sharpen Your Skills

with Knife Making

Jim Waldron

Five intrepid knife makers joined our first Knife 101 workshop.  Staring with a pre formed blank, they selected wood for the scales (handle), drilled, epoxied, pinned, shaped, sanded and polished their creations.  Walnut seemed to be the popular wood choice, with mahogany and oak following.  Each participant left with a completed knife.

This workshop is meant as the first in a series of workshops that will be offered again in the near future.  The next workshop in the series will start with a basic cut-out shape of knife steel and, using stock removal (grinding and sanding), shape the blade then attach scales, finish, and sharpen the custom result.  The third workshop starts with a raw billet of steel that will need to be forged into a knife shape, ground, polished, have scales attached, sharpened and finished.  A fourth workshop will be offered to create a leather sheath for your creation.

Knife 101

Knife 201 - starting with a blank cut out shape

Knife 301 - forging from a steel billet

Knife Sheath

Knife 101 is pretty easy to complete in a 2 hour workshop.  Knife 201 will likely require some outside work, mostly putting on the scales and sanding.  Knife 301 will require some additional grinder work after forging, hardening and tempering.  Putting on the scales will also be homework.  2 x 72 belts in a couple of different grits will be provided where required.  (1 inch belts and grinders are provided in Knife 101.)  Finally, leather, punches, heavy thread, needles and finish will be provided in the sheath workshop.

After Knife 101, you should be able to source blanks and finish them on your own.  There are a wide variety of blanks available (and Makersmiths has the tools to help you finish them).  In Knife 201 you'll work with more advanced materials, and in Knife 301 we'll start in the Blacksmith shop.  The sheath workshop will show you a variety of ways to make a sheath (and MS-L has a box full of leather working tools).

Ken Fuentecilla - "Turned a checkered cup today using the last of my maple and scrap wood taken from the woodshop bin. Fun!!"

Ralph Pugh - made from a log originally destined for the firepit!

Alex Shatalin -

"Last night made a goblet from Angelique wood. Wood was extremely hard and gave me a lot of challenges but it was a lot of fun"


Baby Rattle

turned by Bryan Boston

Does woodturning intrigue you? Do you want to make pieces like this? Check out Red Tool Woodturning!  You can also sign up for Woodturning Open Shop - 3 lathes available but you can always stop in for questions. Add #woodturning to your channels.

Always looking for additional instructors. Bryan can work with you to develop a project class you can share with others, giving back to Makersmiths as your 2 hours a month volunteer time. 

Makersmiths is run by volunteers - you, too, can become an instructor and increase the number of class times we offer!

Upcoming Classes MS-L

Intro to Laser Cutter - 4/12, 4/26

Adv Laser Cutter - 4/9

UV Printer - 4/25

Red Tool Woodturning (Lathe) - 4/4, 4/25

Woodturning Open Shop - 4/27

Big Red CNC - 4/2, 4/5

3D Printing FDM - 4/24

3D Resin Printing - 4/12

Cosplay Night - 4/7, 4/14, 4/21, 4/28

MS-L Workday - 4/9

Upcoming Classes MS-P

Woodworking Basics - 4/14, 4/21

Adv Woodworking - 4/6

Metal Shop - 4/20

Beginning Welding Gas - 4/2

Beginning Welding MIG - 4/2

Beginning Blacksmithing 4/3

Homemade Soaps/Mother's Day - 4/30

As always, check the calendar for additional classes!

Homemade Soaps for Mother's Day

Learn to make lavender-chamomile and honey-almond goats-milk soaps using a melt and pour process. We will also use glycerin-based soap with a variety of scents and molds that will create fun-shaped soaps moms will love to use. Participants will be given an opportunity to "package" their soaps as gifts to give to their moms, grandmothers or other special folks on Mother's Day.

Since this is a family-oriented event, a parent or teen bringing a child is considered one registration. In addition to the soaps made in this workshop, each family will receive a silicone soap-making mold and set of instructions to take home so participants can make soaps for other holidays during the year.

Register for this popular class here

Board/Officer Name Position Term

Brad Hess Board Member 2019-2022

Bev Murdock Board Member 2021-2024

Dave Painter Board Member/Chairperson 2020-2023

James Waldron Board Member 2019-2022

Jonathan White Board Member/Secretary 2020-2023

Scott Newman Board Member 2021-2024

Mike DeWan Board Member 2021-2024

John  Dubelko President 2020-2022

Mary Waldron Treasurer 2020-2022

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

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