November 2022 Newsletter

Monthly Membership Meeting

December 7 , 7:30pm to 8:30pm


New Member Orientation

Dec 5, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

Dec 19, 6:30pm - 8:00pm


Leesburg Workday - TBD - To Do List in Main Room

Purcellville Workday - Dec 3 9am - 2pm

There's something for everyone - get those volunteer hours in!

President's Message

Adam "Squirrl" McClintock

Greetings Makers,

I continued teaching some Intro to Blacksmithing classes and a BS Red Tools at the Blacksmithing shop in Purcellville which all and will put more of those up as long as interest remains. I will get some more BS Red Tools classes on the schedule.

Secret Santa is underway and I encourage anyone who is interested to go ahead and join the #2022_secret_santa channel to follow along and maybe pop in for the gift exchange on 12/17  and see if you might be interested in being involved next year.

Please congratulate/welcome our two new Stewards this month!

Parker Brainard new Co-Steward of Welding.
Bo Wernick as Steward of Ceramics

As always, we are looking for people to give/host classes.  You don’t have to be an expert on a subject to give a class you just need the time and willingness to organize something.  If you don’t know where to get started you can ping me directly on Slack or start up a conversation in the #host_a_class channel. 

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the next Membership Meeting which will be Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 starting at 7:30pm with a pre-meeting hangout starting at 7:00pm if you are interested in a little chit chat and goofing off.

Feel free to engage me with any suggestions, questions, requests for help or just a “How do you do?”

C. Adam “Squirrl” McClintock
President, Makersmiths

Education News

Diane Painter

Makersmiths Wins a STEM/KidWind

Engineering Initiatives Grant

On March 17, The Tides Foundation, on the recommendation of Google Data Centers Grants Fund, awarded Loudoun County’s non-profit community makerspace, Makersmiths, Inc. a $20,000 grant to support the organization’s Makersmiths STEM/KidWind Engineering Initiatives. Tides Foundation is a philanthropic nonprofit dedicated to building a world of shared prosperity and social justice. Recognizing that there is a gap between the technology competencies of K12 school graduates and the demands of the job market, Makersmiths, Inc. strives to work with youth to develop new technology skills and foster logical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and teamwork, all valuable skills that industries require of employees.

Makersmiths integrates a variety of STEM initiatives and emphasizes student-driven exploration, communication, and collaboration when working with youth. Makersmiths’ members serve as volunteer mentors to students who need help completing school projects for annual Science and Engineering fairs and the Maker Showcases. Students learn computer skills such as Arduino programming, computer-assisted design (CAD) and database construction. They learn manufacturing skills required to operate equipment such as a 3D printer, laser cutter or a CNC machine when constructing a school project. This fall middle school students completed a basic electronics and soldering workshop. They also engaged in a STEMLingo Arduino workshop to learn about how Arduino code and the Arduino microprocessor are used to construct and play a reaction time activity, a 2-person reaction game and to play a theremin, an electronic musical instrument.

The grant funds will be used to purchase a desktop Tormach CNC, a FlashForge 3D printer, various electronic items such as Arduino kits and soldering stations, a wind tunnel to test KidWind wind turbine projects and other consumables that youth may need to build their projects.

Beginning in December 2022, Makersmiths will begin working with middle school and high school youth in KidWind teams that will work on designing, creating and testing wind and solar projects that they will enter in KidWind’s Regional Renewable Energies Challenge at Shenandoah University on March 15, 2023. Registration for the KidWind teams is still open. Go to for information about the Middle School solar team that will be coached by member, Adam Pricer. For the high school KidWind team that will be coached by member, Justin McMillen, go to If any middle school youth is interested in forming a wind turbine team, contact Diane Painter.


In a brilliant segue from Halloween to Winter Holidays, Mike Dewan uses a chainsaw and an afternoon walk in the woods to create one of Santa's reindeer

Check out those rosy cheeks, that full beard! 

The Plot Thickens

Have you wanted to learn to use the plotter at MS-P but were intimidated by the process? Longtime members Tom Hill and Jonathan White have offered to show you the ropes one on one - reach out to them on Slack. The desktop is now hooked up to the plotter to make things a little less challenging and there is an update on operation in the Wiki. Just in time for the holidaze!

Do You See What I See?

Bev Murdock

Somehow, our friends know we can’t resist trying to solve problems. And our twin 5-year-old god daughters are no exception. Once they were done nagging me about when their dollhouses (note the plural) would be ready for them (apparently not for a while because your mom won’t let you have them until I have BOTH far enough along), then came the glasses problem.

Gwen won’t wear her new “Pair Eyewear” glasses because the changeable magnetic toppers won’t stick on, and a girl who wears a lot of glittery unicorn fashion is NOT going to wear boring black glasses. I was sent home with the offending girl glasses to see what we could do.

Factory made toppers with magnets in the corners. Topper is too straight and/or magnet isn't strong enough to force it to bend

Three potential solutions came to mind:

1) bend the toppers (looks like cast acrylic) and see if the existing magnets will be strong enough to do the job,

2) 3D print new ones and use stronger magnets,

3) cut new ones out of acrylic

John had an existing stack of 5mm diameter, 2mm thick magnets stuck on the vent hood in the workshop, so I shamelessly stole them and started playing. I scanned one of the toppers in on a flatbed scanner, cleaned up and vectorized the graphic to get a first prototype for cutting or printing.

Scanned in one of the toppers, converted it into a Black and White bitmap and then did an auto-trace in Corel Draw. Then smoothed out the number of points in the vector.

Initial results are in:

  1. Bending the existing toppers using a heat gun and the topper lying on my metal flour canister worked pretty well. Would be even better if I made a jig at the exact radius (forgot I had bendable plywood scrap on hand). But the factory made toppers are $25 ea
  2. 3D printing using regular resin worked but was overly brittle, so John printed it again in flexible resin and that has a lot of potential. We also used the FDM printer and that also looks promising and pretty sturdy, but I didn’t have the time or patience to get it smooth to my satisfaction.
  3. Print, cut and bend new ones out of acryclic. We did a set using a scrap of 2mm and those worked great for a first attempt. The depth of the holes for the magnets wasn’t precise since we just rastered them a few times (one too many in fact).  

Glasses on top, Red/cheetah prints are factory made with thin square magnets in the cast, and the white in the middle is 3D resin printed. The resin layer slumped a little since the hole is almost the full depth (will need to make a little thicker next time)

A quick print onto scrap acrylic from home, then onto the laser for cutting (this order works well for me, lining up the registration marks on the laser but others have good success going in the other order)

Not bad, eight pairs out of one piece of acryclic scrap for just the cost of printing/cutting

Concept worked well. I find I like the bolder/bigger prints and next round will have slightly thicker acrylic to accommodate the magnet thickness.

Magnets in place with super glue. I marked one side with a sharpie to ensure I kept the polarity correct.

Next iteration:

I have now acquired 3mm acrylic in a rainbow of colors and that will give me a bit more room to accommodate the magnet hole depth. And I’ll probably attempt UV printing the 3D printed ones as well (using the flexible resin) to compare results in terms of speed, cost, and durability. 

Cheetah print is a favorite (note in the corner you can see for the prototype the magnet hole on the back was a little too deep)

KidWind Update!

The 2022 Makersmiths’ Silver Blades Wind Turbine and the Solar Middle School Smarties KidWind teams will be honored at the Dec. 4, 2022, Kid Talk luncheon at the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) Conference that will be in Virginia Beach. Winning state and national KidWind solar and wind teams will be at this luncheon, representing over 60 youth and their parents throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Following the luncheon, internationally known motivational speaker and K12 educator Ken Shelton will address the winning teams and moderate a panel discussion consisting of five KidWind youth that will give their perspectives on what they learned while creating their wind and solar projects. Stay tuned in December to learn more about our Makersmiths youth’s participation in this event!

Member Parker Brainard brings a little Holiday Cheer everywhere he goes!


Are you interested in exploring growing plants without dirt? There's a channel for that! Head to the #hydroponics channel to join the adventure with member Tom Pfotzer. While the info is on the slack channel, we'll have updates on the project in the newsletter as well. Here's a taste of what you'll find there as shared by Tom.

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is growing plants by immersing their roots in a water-based nutrient solution instead of in soil. Soil has nutrients in solution, too, but they’re not as easily accessible to plant roots.

Why Hydroponics?

Hydroponics-based plant growing systems can grow healthier, more productive plants in less space with less effort than soil-based growing systems.

Why Build A Hydroponics System at MakerSmiths?

These are the potential benefits of Hydroponics to Makers:

New Skills. Hydroponics offers a great way to integrate technology with the natural world. Hydroponics helps us learn about how plants function and how to build symbiotic relationships between people and plants. At the technical level, hydroponic systems may use LED lighting, pumps, irrigation systems, 3D printed components, nutrients, and automated control systems. Each of these optional additional components provides an opportunity for participants to expand their technical skills, and thereby expand their design-build frontiers.

New Product Development. Using our MakerSpace, we can design and build hydroponics systems (a product) and many of the components these systems use (many other products). Hydroponics is a rapidly growing market, and these products are useful at any scale, from household up to industrial. Learning how to design and prototype a new product is a highly worthwhile skill to develop, especially for younger folks.

New Materials. Many of us haven’t used irrigation, LED lighting, automated control systems, or 3D plastic part printing yet. All of those (optional) sub-components involve materials that many of us aren’t familiar with yet, and would be highly useful for us to add to our design-build repertoires.

More design-build case studies. A basement-scale hydroponic system offers an excellent full-life-cycle case study opportunity to go from “gleam in the eye” all the way to “operational, profitable production system”. It’s just big enough to touch all the bases, and small and modular enough to be do-able at a comfortable pace, and on a tight budget.

More team-building. This may be the biggest payoff of all for Makers. A hydroponic system has a lot of facets, and a lot of skill-sets that need to be either acquired by oneself, or acquired by recruiting team-members that already have the requisite skills. Building a hydroponic system is one of those projects that will move way faster, at less expense and certainly at a greater enjoyment level in a team setting than doing it alone. 

Holiday Gift Craft Workshop

Learn to Make Luxury Soaps for the Holidays 

Looking for something to make with your child?  Learn to make glycerin-based soaps using a melt and pour process and add a variety of scents. Using silicone molds, we will create fun shaped soaps the whole family will love to use. Each registered participant will receive a silicone mold and set of instructions to take home for future soap-making.  

A parent or teen registering and paying for this workshop may bring one child as a helper for free. This class will take place in main room at Makersmiths’ Leesburg space on Sunday Dec. 11 from 1PM-2:30 PM.  To register, go to:  

  Questions? Contact the Instructor:

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?


Both MS-L and MS-P have Cricut Explore 2 machines, ready for all your crafting needs. There is a How-to class in December but if you already know how to use a Cricut, you do not need a Red Tool class to use it. It is already available for you. 

This 9 layer sunflower is just one example of something you could create with Cricut

Heard around...

MS-P is cleaning house during workday this month. ALL UNCLAIMED WOOD currently stacked up against the front wall of the woodshop will be removed to outside storage or taken to the dump. 

Have you seen the #hire-a-maker channel on Slack? Perfect for someone looking for a few jobs in their skill set or expanding their maker business!

Do you have a business you run using Makersmiths? Post about your business in the #makerbiz channel! We could all use some fresh holiday gift ideas!

The Newsletter could always use some new blood - share your projects, pitch some article ideas, tell me about something cool you've seen in your Maker travels! 

Red Tool Classes are an important step in your Maker journey!


Electronics Night - 12/1, 12/15

Adv Laser/Rotary Tool - 12/5

Intro to 3D Printing FDM - 12/5

Cricut Basics - 12/9

Holiday Gift Soap Making - 12/11

Big Red CnC Operation - 12/14


EBF CNC Intro - 12/5*

Red Tool Woodworking Basics - 12/8

Red Tool Woodworking Adv - 12/11

Red Tool Metal-working Basics - 12/14

Middle School KidWind Solar Project 12/15-3/15 spaces still available

* 2 classes

Makersmiths runs on volunteers!

Consider teaching a class or holding a workshop, especially in the lead up to the gift giving season!

check out the #host-a-class channel on Slack to get some help with your idea!

check back on the website - new classes are added all the time

Board/Officer Name



Brad Hess

Board Member


Bev Murdock

Board Member/Secretary


Dave Painter

Board Member


Jessee Maloney

Board Member


Jonathan White

Board Member/Chairperson


Scott Newman

Board Member


Mike DeWan

Board Member


Adam "Squirrl" McClintock



John Dubelko



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

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