April 2022 Newsletter

President's Message

John Dubelko

Greetings Members,

I hope everyone can make the 4th of May open house in Purcellville. The event will be from 4-7 PM, with the member meeting right after. This will be the first in-person meeting in quite a while. Feel free to bring a project to show everyone what you have been making. There will be giveaways and food!  May the 4th be with you!

The board elections will be at next month’s member meeting. Two seats will be
available on the seven-person board. If you would like to be on the ballet, please send a letter of intent to Maggie Toth on Slack or email info@makersmiths.org. This is our governing body and they chart the course of the space. I hope everyone will carefully consider running.

At the July board of directors meeting, the officers for the upcoming year will be
appointed. Those positions are secretary, president, and treasurer. The bookkeeper will also be identified. If you would like to be considered for one of these positions, please let me know or email info@makersmiths.org.

Happy Making!
John Dubelko

Volunteer Corner

Chuck Whitacre

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.





Loudoun Dept of Economic Development, Small Business Week



Makersmith Purcellville

PLEASE – post any amount of time you could/would commit to this event on the Slack #marketing channel or send me an email at chuck.whitacre@makersmiths.org. 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.

Makersmiths booth at the Purcellville Music and Arts Festival April 30 2022

Education Initiative

All three teams competed at the Virginia State KidWind Renewable Energy Challenge at Virginia State University on April 23rd. The Silver Blades Wind Turbine Team placed 3rd in state and the Solar Middle School Smarties solar team placed 1st in state. As all three of the middle school KidWind teams placed in the Western Regional Renewable Energy Challenge at James Madison University on March 9, the two teams mentioned above and the Golden Wind Blades Team are now eligible to enter national competition. The wind turbine teams chose to enter the virtual national competition rather than the in-person event in San Antonio, Texas that will be held May 16-19. There is no virtual option for the solar team at national level.

See the "In The News" section for an article on the JMU competition in the Blue Ridge Leader and a great article on the importance kids and STEM instruction Diane wrote for ISTE.

Silver Blades 3rd place at state at the middle school level. Pictured left to right are Ayden Young, Max Burrus, Nick Burrus and Cameron Clarke.

Solar Middle School Smarties (SMSS) won 1st in state at the middle school level. Pictured left to right: Jocelyn Ro, Zara Ramadan, Soren Ogelman, Coach Diane Painter (not pictured is Coach Jennifer Chu)


Plants vs Kitty led one Maker to a creative solution to protect both! Zachary Thompson repurposed an old 10 gallon fish tank from his parents into a beautiful terrarium. Let’s check out this recipe for an in-house greenhouse.


cactus soil


succulents and cactus of choice

black paint

mdf board

grow lights

rocks (harvested from the backyard)

terrarium charcoal


Laser cutter

Hot glue gun

Metal shears

Paint brush

Thin cardboard

Leather gloves

  1. Lay a layer of gravel followed by a thin layer of charcoal to help purify the tank.
  2. Use the largest container of your chosen plants to estimate depth and add soil to the appropriate height
  3. Plant your succulents and cactus. Here’s where the leather gloves come in - safety first, protect your hands!
  4. Add a layer of sand to the top of the soil and around the plants. The trick to making the soil appear to go the full depth when looking from the front of the tank is to use the piece of thin cardboard between the glass and the existing soil at the front, then slip sand between the cardboard and glass. Carefully remove the cardboard and you should have only sand visible from the outside of the terrarium. Add the rocks.
  5. Use the laser cutter to cut the mdf into the desired design to hold the grow lights. Hot glue spacers to act like legs. Fit the grow lights on, using the metal shears to clip off extraneous pieces for a better fit (be careful not to cut the circuit).
  6. Attach mdf piece with grow lights to the lid using command strips (which in this case, came with the grow lights).
  7. Enjoy your cat proofed terrarium!


Jigsaw Puzzle

Ralph Pugh

“Palau de la Musica Catalana”

“Glade Creek Grist Mill”

A neighborhood friend of mine is a keen and knowledgeable photographer.

In talking about photography, woodworking and laser cutting, we ended up discussing jigsaw puzzles as a means to share photos that might otherwise remain hidden away on a memory stick.

I've included materials and resources below, as well as some tips I've learned on this project thus far.

Paper - Fujiflex Crystal Archive –https://www.fujifilm.com/us/en/business/photofinishing/paper-lab-products/fujiflex-printing-material

Printed by – Bay Photo, 920 Disc Drive, Scotts Valley, California, 95066


The basic jigsaw pattern downloaded from Shutterstock.


Added tessellations and whimsically shaped pieces just for interest.

I found that if the pieces fitted together too tightly, it could degrade or delaminate the photo.

Using the Contour feature of CorelDraw, made a second hairline 0.004” apart, around all the original piece lines.

Thus, each puzzle piece is cut twice with a small offset.

The goal was to get a slightly larger kerf between the finished pieces.

Picture below is from Corel Draw showing the lines at the intersection of 4 pieces of the puzzle

WoodCraft 1/8” Plywood


Lightly sand the surface before applying the glue.

There are normally hardness variations throughout the sheet.

I did a test cut through the photo paper, low tack tape and plywood, put a sacrificial piece of plywood underneath so I could get a feel for how much extra power had been set to ensure thru cuts for the whole puzzle.

Scotch Photo mount adhesive spray.


Low Tack Paper Tape – to protect photo paper from smoke while laser cutting.

Easy to remove, afterwards any tape glue remnants could be cleaned off the photo using mineral spirits.


Frame for puzzle – work in progress. Looking for ideas.

“Palau de la Musica Catalana”

“Glade Creek Grist Mill”

Makersmiths In the News

Students Explore Real World Energy Projects by Diane Painter in International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

and also!

What's New? 

Want to get in on the ground floor of Makersmiths' Ida Lee Community Garden plot? Join the #gardening channel on Slack for more dirt on this project!

Did you know...

Makersmiths has a blog on their home page? 

Makersmiths is on Instagram?

Makersmiths has a YouTube page?

You can support Makersmiths using Amazon Smile for your purchases?

Have you checked out the channels on Slack? You can find all kinds of interests! Check out this latest from the #beekeeping channel, a Lego beehive!

Upcoming Classes

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


Machining Monday - 5/2

Red Tool Woodworking - 5/3

Red Tool Training for Woodturning Using a Lathe - 5/9, 5/23

UV Printer Advanced Class, Golf Balls - 5/9

Advanced Laser Cutting, Rotary Tool - 5/10

Intro to Laser Cutting - 5/17, 5,24

Woodturning Open Shop - 5/11, 5/25

Electronics Night - 5/12, 5/26

Red Tool Training, UV Printer - 5/23


Red Tool Woodworking Basics - 5/12

Red Tool Metal-working Basics - 5/18

As always, check the calendar for additional classes

Board/Officer Name



Brad Hess

Board Member


Bev Murdock

Board Member


Dave Painter

Board Member/Chairperson


James Waldron

Board Member


Jonathan White

Board Member/Secretary


Scott Newman

Board Member


Mike DeWan

Board Member


John Dubelko



Mary Waldron



Interested in serving on the Board of Directors?

There are two spots opening up! If you'd like to run, you must send a letter of intent stating why you are qualified for the position to info@makersmiths.org by May 29th. Voting happens during the June membership meeting.

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

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