Visit to Autodesk Instructables/123D at Pier 9 SF, CA

If you thought the SpaceShop at NASA AMES was the coolest makerspace, read on…
I had the lucky opportunity to visit the offices of Autodesk Instructables and 123D in November 2013. These are located in San Francisco on Pier 9, just down the shore from the Exploratorium. Here’s a panorama from just south of the pier. See those big black squares? Thats where the cargo doors would be – but now they are big windows. just wait. the view from inside is fantastic.

Autodesk Space 1

The Pier 9 facility serves as the office for both Instructables and 123D. If you have not been to these sites, stop now and go read up. Instructables is a great place where people post How-To instructions on a wonder full variety of projects. 123D is Autodesk’s collection of FREE 3d software and models… yes free, although there is a Premium version that gives you wider access,etc. I have to say that with these two sites Autodesk is doing a lot for the maker community – although possibly undercutting their main market, they are getting many more people involved in CAD (Computer Aided Design). This may lead some on to buying the regular Autodesk products. And if you want to take a peak at some things in the pipeline, go check out Autodesk Labs. And then go browse around their research group. Their Bio/Nano/ Programmable Matter Group is creating design tools for a whole new realm of engineering. I’m particularly interested in their modeling and simulation tools. IMHO, we MUST do a whole lot of mod/sim before committing these designs to physical reality, as the potential ‘bugs’ could be devastating on a scale beyond any previous engineering tech (i.e. entire planet).

Enough of that… on with the tour… (full photo set is available on the Maui Makers Flickr)
The pier is a shared facility with Autodesk inhabiting a fair bit of the south side. They gave me permission to photograph the lab spaces but not the offices – which might include projects in process, etc. I’ll just say those were pretty nice and interesting office spaces – even if I’m not a fan of open space offices. It was definitely an Artists space, with lots of fun stuff on and around their desks…

Autodesk Space 3

Matthew and Andy outside Autodesk Offices – I think they’ll agree this space rivals theirs at NASA Ames for coolness

First stop on the walking tour was the Kitchen. This is NOT the employee lunch room, and it is exclusively for food and related ingestables … and is a nice setup. While we were there, Amal (an instructables employee) was making toothpaste. I noted that this and most other rooms had a set of ‘trash’ cans for proper sorting of recyclables.
Autodesk Space 4 Autodesk Space 6

Next down the line was the museum/gallery, where some past projects of note are on display. Among the exhibits when we visited were a self-playing drum set and laser cut/3d printed LP records. Note that big view window. Yeah, hard to get work done here… but then again with the toys you’ll see it would be a fun place to play.
Autodesk Space 8 Autodesk Space 9

After the gallery we had to don protective eyeglasses… OSHA rules ya know. The next room did have machines that definitely required these… Like this big beautiful water jet cutter and couple of large CNC machines .. (ladies are our hosts- Karen Howard and Carley Jacobson)
Autodesk Space 11 Autodesk Space 15 Autodesk Space 13 Autodesk Space 14

Continuing north, the next room was the wood shop, with some big wood shapers… and that view distracting Matthew, et al. They also have a rather large paint booth, big enough for a decent sized go-kart or motorcycle. I envy that and the clamp collection…
Autodesk Space 20 Autodesk Space 18 Autodesk Space 19

Last shop on the first floor was the metal shop. Not sure why this was not located next to the CNC room, but it was pretty awesome. I do admit NASA Ames does have a bigger metalworking space.
Autodesk Space 21 Autodesk Space 23

After the metal shop, we went upstairs and started walking back… slowly. The first room was filled with 3D Printers and Laser cutters… big ones.
Autodesk Space 26 Autodesk Space 24 Autodesk Space 25 Autodesk Space 27

Past this room, we crossed a catwalk over the CNC room. This is a view of these machines you rarely get to see…
Autodesk Space 28 Autodesk Space 29 Autodesk Space 30 Autodesk Space 31

Last up was the e-textiles and electronics lab, along with a couple stations setup for product photography. Note the RFID entry panel on the electronics lab. Access to each machine/area is restricted to employees that have gone through a class on how to use the equipment – safely.

Autodesk Space 32 Autodesk Space 33 Autodesk Space 34
Autodesk Space 35 Autodesk Space 36

That brought us back to the offices and conference room. I didn’t get any pictures of this, but they did have an interesting swinging conference table. It was a big slab of wood with hefty swing supports and built in seats. I’m not sure how effective it is. It was kinda distracting and perhaps a bit hard on personal balance.

It was quite an impressive visit. I am envious of the 123D/Instructables employees having this sort of place to play – err work. Then again, I’m sitting in a small shop on Maui with my own laser cutter, 3d printer, and electronics bench within a couple steps. One feature of my space (in planning) that was surprisingly missing from the Autodesk space were cameras. Documenting a project is one of the most onerous tasks, especially getting pictures while in process. Having a time lapse camera overhead (or positionable for closer shots) can be a big help. Otherwise you have to go back and do the project a second (3rd?) time, getting pictures of each step. I dont have mine setup yet, but I expected would have had something in place to make it easier. Maybe it just wasn’t visible or they perhaps they have photographers on staff to get those done right.

SpaceShop – a makerspace at NASA AMES Research Center

Mid-November 2013 I visited SpaceShop at NASA Ames Research Center – a makerspace built for NASA Engineers. Matthew Reyes is the man responsible for setting up the space and being my host for the afternoon. He is also an advisor to SpaceGAMBIT (our DARPA funded Hackerspace Space Program grant)


The SpaceShop shares a building with the Ames copy center and what is (to date) the most impressive machine shop I have ever been in. Lets start with the upstairs, where you find the SpaceShop itself.


Matthew outfitted the space with most of the equipment required for a FabLab. He found a whole lotta desks and other equipment on the NASA Ames site, much of it slated for disposal. I am seriously jealous of his dumpster diving location. (not all was actually going in landfill/dumpster. Some would be sold – usually at scrap prices.)

The first room through those doors holds the laser cutter and 3D printers – he as at least 3 printers so far, with the UP being his current favorite (that is NOT an endorsement by Matthew or NASA – merely what I gathered from casual conversation.) Matthew and his NASA crew (namely the talented Andrew Filo) have created 3D Models of a number of spacecraft AND the asteroids they have studied. These models are available on Thingiverse (note many of these were NOT created by SpaceShop).


The next room holds the full size shopbot, and some other shop tools.
One of the projects Matthew and the Ames Makers have been working on are carved foam terrain maps of Mars. See that pink sheet on the shopbot? That’s a bit of the Mars surface. In the flickr set (see below) there is a shot of more of em standing in Matthew’s office. Note also that gray drill press. Thats a mid-20th century beast that Matthew rescued from the dumpster.


The next room holds a nice big optical bench (yep, another item slated for disposal). That model on the bench is a 3D print of the Sofia Telescope (Stratospheric Observatory for Infared Astronomy). The model is about 10 years old and predates the Makerbot era of inexpensive printing. Even today that large a print would be quite an undertaking. Beyond that room is the electronics and vinyl cutter room. More surplus benches gathered from around the Ames campus.


Matthew has found a fair bit of great maker stuff there at Ames. Check out this gear drawer!

Draw of random gears at NASA Ames

We will ignore the copy/printing center that is also upstairs. It looks sorta like a FedEx Office. Nothing really awe inspiring there. (no offense to the hardworking people there.)

Downstairs… OMG. this is where amazing stuff has been built in decades past. Scroll back up and take a look at that panoramic shot at the top. (or check out the full size image by clicking HERE) This has to be the biggest collection of high end CNC machines, lathes, milling machines, grinders etc I have ever seen. Many of them are solid cast iron beasts that are probably as old as I am (or older). That big blue Cincinnati on the right (and below) was the first 3 axis CNC mill on the west coast (of mainland usa). It is BIG. Zoom in on the panoram and look down the aisle of CNC machines on the left. There is a machinist sitting in from to the last one – that gives you some sense of scale of these machines.


That panoram was of one side of the downstairs shop. I could not get a good panoram of the other side so here are some separate pics. It appears to be mostly manual machines with DRO (digital read outs). Note that some of those lathes are outfitted with microscopes. Microscopes on a lathe!!!


There are a few more pictures in the Flickr Set.

It is very impressive to me that NASA has built a makerspace on one of its campus. There is perhaps a bit of a disconnect perhaps between the Maker DIY culture and the machine shop on premises of the past. The old style was that you gave the basic design to a highly skilled machinist who fabricated the part for you. A makerspace, on the otherhand, expects you to make the parts yourself. It remains to be seen whether this will work for NASA. There are unfortunately not that many people left that are skilled in running the downstairs machines … and also a bit sad that there was so little activity there.

US FabLab Network 2012 Symposium

The United States FabLab Network (USFLN) 2012 symposium was held April 10-12 at FabLab Tulsa (Oklahoma, USA).  The Symposium agenda is online.  I have uploaded my pictures to Flicker in two albums: one from the Symposium, and one showing FabLab Tulsa.

This post has clogged up my Write-This-Up queue way too long. I took LOTS of notes and thats one issue … After some observations below, I’m just going to tack on my raw notes… mostly so I can have em online somewhere. I doubt anyone will get thru em.  I apologize for this approach.

Another issue is my observation (see below) about lack of public communication and sharing among FabLabs – communication, documenting and sharing as a community is hard.  It takes a LOT of work and commitment.  In noticing this with Fab Labs, I must also note it with myself and with hackerspaces in general.  There are a few that are good at it, but alas too few.  I think the MAKE Education and MENTOR Makerspace folks are doing better than most at this… but thats for another post.

Ok.. on with post.  ….

I have been following the MIT FabLab since I read Neil Gershenfeld’s book “FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop” many years ago.  This was the first opportunity I have had to actually attend a FabLab function or even visit a FabLab.   It was a very good experience.  I met a lot of good people and learned a lot.

One interesting point was that while there were a number of attendees from various styles of FabLab (college affiliated, MIT listed, or community based), there were also quite a few people who referred to their facility as a Makerspace rather than a FabLab.  The distinction is basically the adherence to the FabLab Charter, which focuses digital fabrication techniques.  There are also some requirements for public access, sharing of  designs & processes, and prohibition of commercial use beyond startup.  Makerspaces go beyond digital fabrication and often support small/micro businesses operating out of the space.  Personally, I see a lot of overlap and common interests – and do not put a lot of emphasis on the names we call ourselves (hackerspace, fablab, makerspace, techshop, etc.)

An important part of all spaces is the community that makes them work – which extends to their web presence and sharing with the wider community.  The degree to which spaces are open about their activities, business setup, and general community varies greatly.  Many makerspaces have public web sites, wiki, mail lists, etc.  There is no official network of maker/hackerspaces akin to USFLN, however, there is the site with a wiki and several mail lists.  The wiki is an excellent resource for finding, starting and running a space.   The USFLN does have its website  and Facebook page as well as the MIT FabLab Central and FabFolk sites. Unfortunately, these do not have the openness and depth and sense of living community I find with the hackerspaces.  There is no active, accessible wiki site.  The USFLN does have a number of documents available, but only if you fill out an online request (oh wait, that link is dead).  It may be these have migrated to the DFLC-USA site.  During the symposium, there was talk of more documents being created and a URL would be available after the event.  I received four docs via email in May but these are not available online that I can find.

T I did receive an email with four USFLN files attached in late may. These

I have had a similar experience with the global FabLab network. The main web site cited for them is the forum here has no activity since November 2011 and the last blog post is from July 2011.

Ok from here down is a summary of my notes …

The first day of the event (Tuesday April 10th) was held in the gymnasium at the San Miguel School, a mile or so from FabLab Tulsa. It was a large luncheon with lots of non-symposium attendees, including kids from San Miguel and other schools, and various foundation backers of FabLab Tulsa. The kids had decorated the gym with pictures they created of (Neil Gershenfeld?) when he visited a few months before. The FabLab Tulsa folks had made a variety of centerpieces, including some really neat laser cut light boxes with portraits of famous makers like Nikolai Tesla, etc cut in the side.

Dale Dougherty, editor-in-chief/whatever of MAKE magazine, was the keynote speaker. Dale is a very good speaker and obviously quite involved with the whole “Maker Movement”. Dale’s talk was one of the big highlights of the event for me. I’ll try to summarize from my notes – he had so many good things that well over 1/2 my notes from the 2 day event are of his talk.

He lead off with a quote from Steve jobs “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.”

He then noted how the USA was once renown as a nation of tinkerers and inventors. We have lost much of that but the Hackers (aka Makers) are bringing it back. He neatly addressed the negative conniptions of “hacking” by noted that in this context it means changing and personalizing the physical (and cyber) world to suit the maker’s desires. He referred to it as physical mash ups – making it your own.

He gave a nod to Popular Mechanics of old with its “invitation to do something fun” for inspiring MAKE magazine. He noted that people are buying 3d printers simply to find out what they can do. They are doing free R&D and market development for the vendors… and creating small businesses in the process.

Dale admitted he is not that good at making things himself, but he is good at recognizing what people do, and helping create a community of those people. You do NOT have to be a Tech Wizard to be part of a makerspace. You show up with an idea, and the community shows you how to make it yourself.
The maker movement is the democratization of technology. It is open source, sharing and helping others. This community support allows new industries to emerge that would be very hard if not impossible to do alone (or even as a large company.)

I had worn my LED T-shirt to the event under my dress shirt and shown it to Dale before the luncheon. He invited me up on stage to show it off (along with the LED bracelet). The audience loved it. Dale asked me why I made it — because it was fun! After i sat back down, Dale told the audience they should come to Maker Faire – either the big ones or the mini-faires popping up around the country. “Its Jerry times 1000” he said.

Dale continued talking about the community of makers. once you start, you find others. Its easier today with online connections but it is very important to find local makers. Seeing them do gives you confidence to do it too.

Dale’s personal focus is the Next Generation of Makers — the kids. He noted FabLab is the first seed. When asked by people what tech they should get first for a makerspace for kids, Dale responds ‘Dont get confused and wrapped up in expensive high tech. Start with Cardboard and Scissors.’

Dale noted that common approach to STEM often focuses on elite performers. trying to make PhDs, academians and high end engineers. (a recent episode of Byte Marks Cafe had this emphasis.) However, STEAM should have Something For Everyone. Sci/Tech is everywhere and an essential component of our early 21st century culture and society. Understanding and appreciation should not be just for experts.

OK… summarizing is not making it much easier… so here are the rough notes from rest of symposium.  Again my apologies ..

ts part of the culture and society now. its everywhere, need not be just for experts – should be for everyone

Turned back on this type of Education.

(Play Experiment Fail Learn)

w standards testing and computer based training,

need unstructured play and making


“Project MAKE” is an invitation to make

1/3 of school kids drop out, 1/3 get along on dumb down math that they ‘wont ever use’ (teachers tell em)  only some inspired

use Making to motivate math — circumference calculation for laser cutting

Renovate/reInvent Shop Class — it is not a Fork In Road and path to Tech School/blue color serfdom

Invention Studio @ GA Tech — for college students

not just grades -> motivation.

Open to all departments & kids

becomes a community hub

How to be that hub? Training the Teachers


Me;; project Make in Maui.. classes in arduino, shopbot/cnc, laser, soldering

grow & develop community

not just for a few, but for all


Mobile shopbot by Cricket Trailer … small trailer unfolds, holds shopbot laser makerbot cnc electronics


Give them tools instead of toys

Questions – copyright vs Makers … closed vs open source




Dale, Sheri (Lass) Lassiter, Camille Caron (Autodesk Consumer) Sallye Coyle (Shopbot), Kelly (USFLN director) mc’d

FLNet > 100 FabLabs around the world this hear, double from last, expect to double again this year

Sallye is Shopbot community liaison, glass artist and NeuroPharmocology MS


Lassiter:  Is Pgrm Mgr of FabLab at MIT, direct of Fab Foundation

Center for Bits and Attoms – computers meet physical world, bio inspired

3 stages of Digital Revolution (MIT slide v common)

Analog -> Digital Communication (began ~1945)

A->D Computing ~1955

A->D fabrication ~2005  (nah was earlier. ’87 was sterolithography


How to make (almost) anything class… very fast 4hr lecture cover entire subject then students gotta do TA sessions and lab time

1) design tools 2) machining 3) 3dprinting/CNC 4) water jet, laser, knife cutter 5) materials and finishing 6) forms and molding … (missed rest)


wiki for FabLab ala

.. lessons/patterns for starting a FabLab, docs (ByLaws,etc) Projects

?? What happens when Fab Tech is in hands of everyone?

New Biz models — new economy

same equipment + distributed classroom => Fab Academy, entering 3rd year, learned lots


Camille @ Autodesk … Personal Products, community director biz development -> lots of tools shown to public use  may or may not ever become products

doing cloud based simulations

Building 3D Literacy … Make it Accessible (easier to use/learn)

Tools in her group:

123d home styler, fx series, instructables mimi, pixlr, sketchbook, tinkerbox

123d Catch => photogrammetry w. cloud compute  2d capture->3d model

instructables for FabLab — sharing projects


Sallye @ Shopbot… ~7000 bots in wild, 30 employees

Vectrix software – illustration based cad software

PartsWorks – cam… now supporting 123d and inventor as input to Shopbot — network of shopbot owners, connecting jobs to shops online — coming soon.


Desktop Bot : router + 3d printer + paper craft active knife $8k base model

3d print and knife are new prototypes -> core standards for teaching nationwide… how to tie FabLab tools to these standards  … supporting regular class topics with Digital Fab projects


Me: Question;; can we bring ‘flipping the classroom’ Kahn Academy style instruction to Digital Fab?  Thats how shop class is often taught (30+yo slide shows)


Sallye –



Q from audience … most inspiring make:

— MAKE mag inspiring prisoner to rediscover making

— Spanish Fab Lab creating destination for artists

— CES 13yo girl selling custom jewelry made from electronics… had confidence to do it.

— show Bot tom (at lima peru fablab symposium) from Kenya … had bad stutter but when teaching bot was very fluent… shopbot cures stuttering


— Create a Virtual Fab Lab online for simulation @ home


Seymour Papert (founder MIT Media lab, creator of LOGO & Turtle

Samba School of brazil for carnival… all ages and skills work together to teach & learn


flipping classroom – may still wind up following old style curriculum. Need more self directed learning;;; but many people don’t have that discipline?

don’t just do simulation – its out of context.  Give them real world building


instructables for teaching gportion.. how to use machine, teach theory behind tech

with ties to core standard…



Ignite Session at local art deco restored theatre  (in process)

lightning talks on your fab lab.

Notes in TEDxMaui notebook


Terry Prichet – director of FabLab Tulsa

Tulsa developed a

Conscious Ecosystem of Entrepreneurial Development

learned lessons thru experimentation

1) ace with entrepreneurial Mindset

2 work with a small dedicated team. not a big committee

focus on human capital development

3) let entrepreneurs lead .. E know what E need.. E grow more E

4) Tailor to region of town (what is there already?)

5) focus on needs of Entrepreneur

6) engage and Enroll Service Providers

7)  Build up  not top down

8) have business model coaches and mentors (Score, etc)

9) recognize and reward Entrepreneurs

10) Not all about Tech Companies… old school too


All net job growth comes from New Companies

Old companies are losing jobs (down size, increase productivity, etc)

~500k new companies formed per month

300 left at end of year

30 still in business in 5 years


Fox Valley Tech College

had fab lab trailer visti

doing wind energy explorations

digital fabrication certificates

Lorain County Commuinty College

work w Project Lead the Way — dissatisfied with script based teaching

finger maze

building laser living hinges

Teachingin Physics and STEM using Guitar Making (tom singer)

$1500 for basic lab for school we site

class project to augment physics classes… had to take physics to take guitar making

4 events for educators coming up this spring/summer

$175 guitar kits create $500 guitars (solid body electric)

Top 10 Lessons in building a fab lab – from Pat Norris of Fab Lab Tusla

10) no egos allowed – its a community, not an individual

9) improvise .. think on your feet

8) read Gladwell’s Tipping Point

mavens and salesmen are connectors

7) talk to community.  build relations, be proactive

6) plan YOUR exit… build team na replacement

5) be prepared to make it your life

4) raise friends before funds – but don’t be afraid to ask

3) you cant make em want it more than you want it

2) be prepared for NO

1) be prepared for YES


3 yr plan … revenue, equipment, people, etc

Amy @ FabFi

capacity/ time community values


Michelle fo FabLab Carolina

used to run Clothing Design studio school

as it was shutting down she was hired for FLC

possibility of dreams

there 2012-13 strategy is HipHop… do it with what you have

don’t need complicated tech equipment (musical instruments) if you have your hands

exercise… open your hand, visualize a shape, give it 3d, color, texture, etc

now make it in the shop

give homeless something to do, farmers something beyond the farm


John Harrison @ 4y college

Tufts state?

startup fablab

engr 101 let students drive online social media… not school IT people

do project and require posting of it on class blog w/ video

use Forum instead of email to teacher

Nate  of Fab Lab Tulsa

Its not Tech Its Other Peoples Brains (OPB)

he’s a furniture designer builder

CCDIO of Rice U

Startup weekend — mayor involved

gang plank – Arizona cowering space… no charge but give back

after ignite we went back to hotel and then up the street to a bar with retro game machines … pinball and video arcade boxes

Good chats with several people

then stopped at a sushi bar fo some food w other FL symposium folk

bathroom had maker wall paper


Wednesday  Day 2

(wow 15 more pages of notes!!)

Sherri Lassiter of MIT

(can we get her slides — and others — to use for talking to sponors?)

3 stages of dig rev slide (again)

networked world with ubiquitous computing and cloud

Bits To Its… Programming with  math in physical world

World Economic Model changing — what happens when everyone has access to Digital Fab tech?

Digital Natives — new generation growing up with online access

Tech capacity building from grass roots

empowerment -> education -> problem solving -> job creation -> invention

prob solving is iterative

job creation — local economy grow w/new companies, and kids prepared to enter the economy

FabLab as Libraries for Tech Literacy.  computer use, programming, fabrication

Fab Academy – 1 vid conf/wk, rest at local space

12-15 labs world wide, ~70 students per session

US – Formal Education – community colleges

starting to see middle/high schools

MC2STEM — 2 locations & mobile

Howard U. Middle school of math and physics MS2


Informal Education

lack of communication and good sharing

need assessment measures and testing results of FabLab

Manufacturing… network of distributed companies/fabs


Barcelona Spain Fab lab took over local city govt

doing local manufacturing

converting from PITO to DIDO

Product In Trash Out -> Data In Data Out

no (reduced) trash, export deficit

5 FL in different areas of City.

Solar House Decathalon

Solar House 2.0 now becoming 3.0,, cost reduction, better quality, etc

FabFit  using local materials easy to build

rural innovation, personal fab

Multi-touch device : 3×3 grid of conductive pads

FabLab Nairobi – Science and Tech Park


Distributed International Infrastructure — uavs & microsats

Utilimaker and other efforts to build low cost alternatives to ‘standard’ fab lab equipment.

The list of equipment online is just suggested so people can talk about same stuff.

Creating alternative cnc bots brings cost down

Nadias Slides — mitt Research (nadir couldn’t be there so sherri present)

machines that make… Ultimaker etc. Kokompe–software

MTM Snap — cnc router made of snap fit ABS plastic parts

kokompe software — modular unified interface for fab … all fab modules now read PNG files for creating objects

note experience reported.. interface is not that great, lacks many aspects of commercial tools. Often better to use different commercial tools to do particular jobs or use particular machines

Internet 0 — access from anyware with smart sw wifi???

composites — networked mold with intelligent sensors for temperature, curing rates, etc  give better control in large compsite molding setup


Digital Fabrication Learning Community Project DFLC


Fab Lab development Methodology

mitt — net based archive of info didn’t work well — needs of spaces were too diverse

Day job and burnout – FabLab network takes a LOT of work by itself.

Fab Lav Dev process

Front end — get it going, keep it going

Midwest Digital Fab Partnership

results available to help justify.

getting quantiative and qualitative results

DFLC supports spectrum of FL 4yr, 2yr, cc, mid/hischool… unaffiliated FL & Makerspaces

Baltimore Aug 6-10 planning workshop

under represented student outreach

mobile fab labs  = dflc portal being developed in pbworks… creating a project database

email to steve – open by invitation   gordon snider is it guru.

FabLab learning spiral:

imagine-> create -> play-> share->reflect -> imagine

similar to Autodesk t-shirt

Panel How To Start a Lab

idenifty constituency

Nate — grants

3 parts of constituency: 1 community itself; 2 biz & industry, entrepreneurs; 3 education/schools

michelle -durham NC fab

open resource community

aim at high poverty & unemployed

statement of Needs … LISTENING TOUR

Josh Miller – Foundation Rep

delineate goal

know the audience (foundation you are addressing, people and org)

beware of mission creep (to satisfy foundations, etc)

Meliisa – Librarian Non profit connector

Coop Collection of Foundation Center (NYC)

Foundation Director online

q: time scale for funding..

differs for each..

cant explain well until they see it.. FL is unique and complicated for many to grasp

paper work for np -> 9mo

identify skill sets for board (who are your fund raisers!)

level of funding – $500k for building and equipment

Develop relationship overtime then later ask for $$

demo of whats around the world

talk with other foundations that have funded fablabs

minimal requirements for “Fab Lab”

– shared equipment (same stuff) so can talk to others for help/share curriculum

– fab lab charter

0 self assessment on wiki

each foundation has its own timeline and calendar

know your funder’s calendar and when each needs paperwork

show biggest returns

File with Sec of State -> articles of incorp

form 1023 — 501c3 to get fed tax

up to 2 yrs to complete

get advance vs permanent ruling letter

some foundations wont give on advance letter, require perm letter

have diversity in your funding pool

grants, corporate and community sustainabitly programs

Letter of Inqueriy


go visit and listen to needs in area you will serve

% and numbers…. how many will start, graduate, go on to use it etc

have achievable goals (so you can meet them)

US Highland talk…

powertrains motorcycles quads, etc

use Rapid Prototyping at Tulsa Fab Lab to prototype working motor parts

3 founders killed in plane crash, needed to reinvent/invigorate company

lots of IP in area, ~20 employees

Corporate Membership – gets exclusive access to space to keep IP private (mornings, N days per year, etc)


USFLN Staging Plan

* mission Statement

* vision statement

* core values and strategic priorities

where is (USFLN) now and where in 10yr, how get there, refine & distribute

framing -> visioning-> plan -> final

Report will be given to us online… where??!!!

me ?  how do hackerspaces relate to FabLab

FL are growing away from Institute of higher learning a

some are straddling the Maker/FL line

FL tend to particular set of equip and charter but that is changing w/open hardware alts

usflan evaluating and assessing spaces?  assess vs the space’s stated goals, not some Network Standards

Part 2 Starting A Lab..

Know your Customers

* indivituasn, in class, etc.   effects types of equipment focused buying

amy:: lab is NOT the Set Of Machines

i  equip and prcesses evolve

focus on process and change

be future flexible  (early labs had fixed ventilation/exhaust systems, couldn’t accommodate new equip easy)

going to have desires that fall short


nathan – FL more than Facility & equipment — community

– programming and offerings

Liability and Insurance:

– Property Liabilty $3k/yr

– workers comp is biggest part of ^^  classified as machine shop even if employees don’t touch machines

Waivers? Repository for waivers?

property insurance – replacement value

“Staving Artist Insurance” NYC — company to check with

Always have trained technician in house if open

they can tell if not using correct matierial or approach

noise protections

have burnt/broken examples in public places

have place to put pieces that break — so we know it happens. not to fix blame

idea: IR watcher cameras (Kinect?) over machines

Liability Waivers and check/sign they are aware of rules and safety, etc

youth rptection policy

in loco parentis


background check on all volunteers and paid staff

Lab Wiki — self grade/assess equipment etc

fabfolk wiki


Foundations Getting $$ –> what foundations are where and what do they give to who

60% increase in non profits in last years

if foundation fives 1/3 of project budget in 1st 3 yrs, they you tip over to becoming a program of that foundation

know/show How your project helps foundation meet its goals

Board Source – who should be on your board…

Attorney, CPA/Financial, marketing, subject matter experts (engineers)

No Nepotism.. Minimuy Std on attendance

service on committee

contribute to organization — why board not backing it with some of own $??

you want a working board, not an emeritus


Zoning — some get zoned as Art Space

if the area zoning is not good, get a variance

Know how to contest one you don’t want

FabFi with Amy Sun

Global Tech Development

Tech (ad hoc wireless mesh)

create biz case (african group makes one)

scaling – it scales up but getting full city build out is $$ no matter what

impact – how to assess/measure it?

How to Make (& fund) a Global Tech Development Project

Tech was developed by FabLab Afganistan

Biz is self sustaining biz in Nairobi kenya

Scaling – small community up to big city & make a nationwide difference

impact — what futures. how big does it need to be to affect a region’s economy

— unemployment, net GDP, exports, etc

Scaling issue: can municipality legally be a service provider?

can we adapt this GreenField model for US? (greenfield-> brand new, never existed here before… africa was greenfield for WiFi, US is not)

have a small biz doing the service providing

apple Mass – off grid network

First adopters vs consumers of technology

general public are the consumers

Some FabLabs are NSF grant funded, eg Ghana.

Teach to Learn, Learn to Teach —

MIT program

april->june grad students teach highschool

Computer Programming with Scratch

Physical Programming with PICO Crickets

Graphic Design with GIMP Projects 2011

Digital Fabrication and Design in the Fab Lab

Design Challenge with Arduino, ModKit & Fab Lab Press Fit

Alternative Energy

Summer -> teach middle/high school kids


Camile from Autodesk Consumer;

Caroline McEnnis – TIES

Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM  443.955.9168  410.409.2486

missed her keynote – need slides!! sent email, no reply yet

Creating an Educational Framework vs Curriculum Script

Many of the commercial STEM support offerings to schools are relatively strict about their materials – how you present them, ordering, even down to providing scripts to use (and stick to).  FabLab offers (can offer?) a more open framework on which teachers and self-starters can build their own educational curriculum.

(note some other attendees referred to Project Lead The Way as the latter – PLtW gives you scripts for lesson plans and expects you to read them)

Panel… David Isenbach Claremore OK midle school teacher Will Rogers Jr High Fab Lab

Equipment Start/run receipe/review…

Have simple recipe chart posted next to machines (with safety and startup steps)

for people/teachers who haven’t run it in N months and need a quick reminder

THIS IS NOT THE Safety And Basic Use class.

Learn One Piece of equipment at at time … vs dump all FL equip on staff at once and say Learn It… learn one for 3 mo, then next, review 1st add 3rd, review 1&2…

Stanford Makers

Transformative Learning Technologies Lab

TSA Technolyg Student Association.


ShopBot Workshop…

demo new desktop model 18×24″ bed with multiple tool heads:  router, spindle, 3d printer, knife, pen, laser.   (latter is still TBD.  Knife and 3d Printer were demoed but this week at symposium.

KentCNC makes dust skirt w/magnetic hooks & brush edges for vacuum dust extraction — much better than ShopBot optional equipment.

Generally uses Aspire’s PartWorks software

workshop was NOT a hands-on exercise. It was more of a show & tell by vendor and attendees.

Visiting Alpha One Labs, Brooklyn NY

Alpha One Labs is a hackerspace in Brooklyn NY. It is located on the 4th (3rd?) floor of a relatively new building on Norman Ave. It is a single (approx) 500sqft work room plus a bathroom. But wow do they pack a lot in that small space.

Alpha One Labs from Door

The space is very neatly laid out. The wall on right as you enter is covered with tools hanging on pegboard, with small parts boxes mounted above. The bathroom (with soda machine) is directly back. A large 80watt laser cutter is to the left of the door as you enter. A Donation box is mounted on the wall next to the door. The far wall is lined with shelves fairly neatly stuffed with a wide variety of tools, projects, parts. The center area has a collection of work tables/chairs and a pair of standing workbenches. Once side of this bench has a drill press, small chop saw, vice, bench grinder, etc. The other side seems setup for electronics, with the shelf above holding a nice collection of oscilloscope, power supplies, meters, etc. The back corner of the space hides a vending machine (work-in-process) and the while board.

Alpha One Labs From Back of room

All in all this is an very very nicely laid out hackerspace. I commend the team for their design and organization.

The space is organized as an owner-board. That is, there is a small cadre of founders who serve as the board and control decisions, etc. Membership does not confer an authoritative vote. There are about 40 members of the space, paying roughly $40/mo for 24/7 access. The laser is the one piece of equipment for which they charge usage rates – to allow the owners to make back some of the expense. The space hosts a variety of meetups like robotics, 3d Printing, arduino, etc. (for past events see

The night I visited (May 23 2012) was a special event to talk about Space Programs – specifically the Hackerspace Space Program. One of the founding members of Alpha One Labs, Psy Tek, was a co-author of the proposal. Since I was in town briefly (one night) we had arranged to meet. Psy Tek had put the word out and we had a decent turnout. I was surprised to see most of the people were there at Alpha One Labs for the first time! We even had a guy come all the way from Philadelphia, just for the meeting!

I’m looking forward to meeting up with this crew again in July when I go back to NYC for the HOPE 9 conference.

U. Hawaii Makery and Makery Cloud

Dr Neil Scott of UH Curriculum Research & Development Group


Dr Neil Scott of Univ Hawai’, Manoa College of Education is bringing “making” back to middle schools.  His project, called The Makery, puts a small work center in selected Hawaiian Charter Schools and provides teachers with training and curriculum in the use of electronics, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Manufacture (CAM) and machining (CNC) to foster student interest in STEM.   A key component of the project is integration of culture and arts. The apex project for students is the creation of a Hawaiian Steel Guitar, which they also learn to play.Dr. Scott’s vision extends beyond these islands of innovation to the Makery Cloud – an association of classroom Makery equipped schools, a Central Makery and external partnerships. This vision may provide a terrific opportunity for Makerspaces to partner with schools.

The Makery Project has its roots in Stanford U’s Archimedes Project studying barriers to student learning and use of technology. The project moved to U.Hawai’i in 2003 with Dr Scott with a focus on providing universal access to computer tech. A grant from NSF in 2006 spun up “The Invention Factory” to create a program in hands-on, project based instruction to stimulate interest in STEM careers in underrepresented population. They ran three years of workshops with middle and high school kids. They found kids start off with no idea of what STEM is and why it is important to learn, expected instant gratification, had poor reading/writing skills, very little practical skills or knowlege but they were not stupid – just bored. The kids could learn and make cool stuff if they got the chance.

Dr. Neil Scott and guitar blank

Lessons from these workshops were incorporated into the 2008 rollout of the Makery project at a charter school on the Big Island. Dr Scott and his team setup a 3 year curriculum, tightly coupling theory and practice. (Dr Scott references this pedagogical technique to US Navy Electronics courses created by Van Valkenberg, et al. where hands on lab exercises immediately follow class elements.) The first year taught basics of electronics and magnetism. The second introduced electronics, sensors and microprocessors. The third year introduced CAD/CAM design and fabrication using modern desktop systems. The culmination is the crafting of a Hawaiian Steel Guitar – along with instruction in playing it! Ahh – STEM meets the Arts => STEAM.

Finished Steel Guitar

The latest evolution of The Makery includes the provision of a work center. This nicely designed table includes workstations for electronics, as well as small benchtop power tools, and a small CNC Mill. Storage for tools and supplies is provided under the divided work top. (insert pictures)
[slickr-flickr tag=”makerykiosk” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” type=”gallery”]

Proxxon Chop and Mitre Saw

The power tools from Proxxon may look like toys, but they are actually well crafted professional model making tools, quite well suited to a small workshop. The CNC Micro Mill is a custom system design by the UH Manoa team. They have several different configurations depending on the intended work pieces. The basic desktop system has a fairly small work area (roughly 12″), while a long version can be used for making the guitar bodies.

The latest incarnation of The Makery is the 2011 installation at Kihei Charter School on Maui. Kihei Charter also has a Makerbot Thing-o-Matic. I’m hoping to establish a good working relationship between Kihei Charter and Maui Makers. I think there is great potential for collaboration.

I visited Dr. Scott at his Makery Central at U.H Manoa back on Jan 25th, 2011. He has an impressive lab setup with several larger CNC mills, a laser cutter, etc. Dr Scott was at the 2011 3rd Annual Henry Kalialoha Allen Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival, doing a workshop with the kids and staff from (Big Island charter school). There were about 6-10 students building guitars over the 3 days. Pictures from both the UH Manoa visit and the Guitar workshop are in my Flicker Set:

[slickr-flickr tag=”UHMakery” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]




Dale Dougherty: We are makers from TEDxMotorCity

Dale Dougherty, founder of Make magazine and organizer of Maker Faires, gave a talk at TEDxMotorCity.

“America was built by makers — curious, enthusiastic amateur inventors whose tinkering habit sparked whole new industries. At TED@MotorCity, MAKE magazine publisher Dale Dougherty says we’re all makers at heart, and shows cool new tools to tinker with, like Arduinos, affordable 3D printers, even DIY satellites.”

I encourage you to watch it all and share. There are many points mentioned throughout we can use when talking up our local Maker Spaces.

Not your usual space: A Visit to NextFab Studio, Philadelphia PA

Street view of NextFab Studio.

Street approach to NextFab Studio shows workspaces. Click for Flicker set of all my pics from the visit.

NextFab Studio is a very different space from any other I have visited. It is has a highly visible location on the street level of a busy main street in Philadelphia amidst university buildings.  Almost all the workspaces are visible from the street through large windows.  Clean, bright, extremely well equipped, it primarily serves small businesses, artists and students out of the University City Science Center rather than scruffy hackers.  My flicker set has a lot more pics of the lab.

NOTE: in the couple years since this was written NextFab Studios has moved. Their current location is 2025 Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19146. I hope to visit them again soon and give an update.

Evan Malone, founder of NextFab Studio in the locker area.

The lab was founded by Evan Malone, co-creator of Fab@Home. It opened in January of 2010 with support from BreadBoard and University City Science Center.  The Science Center is an incubator providing space, knowledge and sometimes funding for startups. Locating the lab here brings together the means/knowledge of production and companies in need of it.  They have approximately 4000sqft of space with 10 full time staff.  These trained staff members have professional backgrounds in sculpture, photography, mechanical and systems engineering, graphic design, etc.  This allows NextFab Studio to offer a range of design and consulting services in addition to basic training and machine access.

The space is organized as an LLC. It is funded by some startup grants and a variety of memberships.  Aside from student and individual memberships, corporate and institutional accounts are available that provide access for multiple employee, with training included.  The web site lists about 25 different classes ranging from basic safety and machine usage, to various software packages (Illustrator, Photoshop, Solidworks) and skills like Product Photography.  The “Orientation and Workshop Safety Training” is required for each and every member, including each associate under a corporate or institutional account.

Tour of Space

Reception area with samples, etc

Evan Malone met us at the reception area and gave us about a 30-40 minute tour of the facility. The reception area is set up like many office areas, but with lots of sample products scattered across counter. There is a fair sized collection of lockers of assorted sizes where members can store projects, etc.

Classroom meeting area is large and well equipped.

A large open classroom area has an impressive A/V setup.  The room is available to members for use on their own projects, for consultations, and classes. It is also home to their 3d scanner and t-shirt press in one corner and large format printers and vinyl cutters in the other. An alcove off this room houses several high end sewing machines.

Part of Wet Lab Room with fab@home printer

At the end of the conference area was a doorway to one of the few rooms not visible from the street – the Wet Lab. Here we found a Makerbot Cupcake CNC with a Frostruder right across from a Fab@Home printer. There is also a curing oven, large fume hood extractor, sink, etc.  I have yet to find a room like this in any other hackerspace.  Perhaps some of the new diy-bio spaces, but I havent been to any yet.

One of the electronics workbenches at NextFab Studios has more equipment than many spaces have in total.

Next we walked back through the conference room, past reception to the other side of the space.  Here we found a small room with a half dozen computer workstations – 2 Mac Pros and 4 home-built windows PCs. Thats more than most spaces have in total. This was just off a very well equipped electronics area with two long benches, festooned with soldering setups and test equipment. Droool. Turning around there is a very tall rack of fairly well organized parts.  Its not quite the major ‘junk’ collection we have at most spaces but here at last is a corner that feels more like home.

Part of metal bending area in corner window

Beyond the electronics area we come to the light metal working and 3d printing room at the corner of the space. Here we find a good set of metal bending, cutting and forming equipment on one side, and some high end commercial 3d Printers on the other.  A light drill press, very large tool chest, metal shear, roller and lots of hand tools are neatly arranged around the far side.  Opposite, we find a Z-Corp 3d printer and cleanup glove box.  The Z-Corp uses a powder that can be infused with colors as well as the glue that holds layers together.  This gives the ability to print colorful parts. However the objects do tend to be a bit fragile.  NextFab also has a nice Stratasys printer near the door.  Oh, yeah and one of those really nice Roland MDX-540 desktop CNC mills.  So far, I’ve seen way more equipment than any space short of TechShop.

Metal lathe, press and a view into welding area in the heavy machine area

Then we walk into the heavy machine room.  Ooooo.  First thing I see is a nice clean JET metal lathe. Behind it is the welding area. Aside from an Oxy-Acetylene rig, a nice MIG, and a TIG setup, they’ve got a bloody CNC plasma table!! Its a Torchmate II and I’m almost thinking of moving to Philly. No. Not really. I’d rather get or build one in Maui, but still this place has an awesome setup… and I’m just getting started in the machine shop.  And it is a fully equipped machine shop.

Just some of the heavy machinery in their Machine Shop

Exiting the welding room, we are faced with a wonderful array of heavy machines.  Around the walls we find a large drill press, a knee mill, a horizontal band saw, a chop saw, an industrial SawStop table saw, jig saw, small band saw, sanding/grinding machine and then the big boys:  A ShopBot PRSAlpha 48″x48″ CNC routing table and a Trotec Speedy 500 Laser cutter.  I could spend weeks in here! Go look at the flicker set and try not to drool too much.

External conference fish bowl with bunch of 3d printers

Thats the full tour of NextFab Studios. We’ve walked through the whole of their 4000+sqft space and I am very impressed.  But wait, One more thing… Evan walks us out the back door into the University City Science Center building proper and just down the hall is yet another conference room.  This is one of those fishbowl rooms with glass almost all around.  This is where Evan has had some high school interns working with a variety of 3d printers.

As we completed our tour, Evan told us about an exhibit of art produced at NextFab Studio. Machinato Causa at the Esther Klein Gallery runs till Jan 2nd 2011.  A collection of three artists were given six week residency at NextFab Studio and produced set of sculptures and installation pieces.  This is across the street and down a few doors, in the lobby of another building, so we stopped in for a look.  The hanging sculpture constructed of laser cut materials, LEDs and EL-wire was interesting.  The security guard chased me away after the flash went off.

Summary: NextFab Studio is a more commercially oriented space than any other I have visited except TechShop.  It is wonderfully well equipped facility. If I was in Philly and had a small business/idea this would be a terrific place to work on it.  Someday I hope to create access to a fair portion of this tech on Maui.

GOOD interviews my friends at CrashSpace

CrashSpace is the maker space I helped start back in Los Angeles (ok Culver City) last year.  

GOOD magazine interviewed the people at CrashSpace and posted an article with this video:

Crash Space from GOOD: Edge of Progress on Vimeo.

Its impressive and inspirational. The Crashers have done a lot with a fairly small space that didn’t have any equipment when it opened last december/january. A small number of motivated people got together and a created an awesome community space. Crashspace blossomed from a coffee house meeting to an empty building in about 2.5 months. It took another 3-4 months to get enough paying members to cover expenses. Basic furnishings appeared as member (and friend) donations, along with an assortment of used electronics, books, etc. Members (like Justin Corwin) stepped up to host regular events. Justin has hosted Radio Mondays just about every monday since last december. Carlyn Maw started running the weekly member meetings on tuesday nights. After business and discussion of member projects, Carlyn leads members in the very popular ‘Take Apart Tuesday’ where they take apart one or more of the donated items to explore how it works, and explore how it might be repurposed. I started hosting local Makerbot owners on 3rd sunday of the month. Theron Throwbridge helped build the CrashSpace ‘bot in April and then took over hosting the monthly meeting. He has done a fantastic job. Michael Clive brought in his milling machine and lathe. Many other members contributed time, hosting and participating in events.

I hope we can do half as well with Maui Makers.

A Visit to The Transistor in Provo, Utah

[This article was written back in august/sept but held in abeyance until the Vimby/Scion Hackerspace Challenge show on The Transistor was released.  The video went live today so embargo is off.  The zombie car/shooter at the end is what they built for the challenge.]

I was in Salt Lake City Utah for a visit and decided to visit a hackerspace called The Transistor about an hour’s drive south in Provo.  This is one of the five spaces that competed in the Scion/Vimby Take on the Machine challenge, which had completed a couple days before we arrived.

Their public calendar shows a public Arduino night every saturday. I confirmed it would be on with Deven, the primary contact and drove down with my teenage son, an avid maker. The I-15 freeway between the cities is undergoing construction and google maps has the wrong directions, so we got a bit lost.  Fortunately, the city planners in Utah laid out most of the streets in simple cardinal directions, and numbered them starting from Main Street in each town.  Once you know if its N/S, E/W street, it makes finding a place pretty easy, at least for a geek.

Door leading to The Transistor

The group was originally founded in October 2009 as HackSLC, located in a huge warehouse in Murray, Utah.  Unfortunately the mini TechShop-style shared workshop didn’t work out, due to lack of paying members and too large a space. (hmmm lesson here for Maui Makers and other spaces.) In January 2010, HackSLC shut down and the core group moved to the attic of a light industrial building in Provo.  They got a good deal on rent (discounted by providing IT services to the primary building occupants), and went with the “Benevolent Dictator” model.  A small core group covers the rent and owns (I believe) the basic equipment.   They have a two tier membership rate – $90 for full members and $45 for starving students.  Deven, one of the leaders, said they have only a half dozen or so full members, and a few starving students (or otherwise unemployed), then there are the friends who drop in on events for the community spirit.  Since the core group covers rent, etc, they are pretty laid back about the non-paying friends.  Judging by the number of people I met there by the time we left, they are doing quite well.

Tim and Deven, two of the core members, hangin in the machine area with drill presses, saws, etc

The space itself is basically two rooms, the primary big one, and a smaller storage/project space.  The big room has a nice collection of desks and equipment at one end, and couches (social space) and work tables at the other.  Off to the side is an alcove separated by several hanging sheets of plastic (formerly signs).  The alcove serves as the dirty equipment area, with drill press, saws, welding, etc.  Its a nice little setup.

Saturday’s is The Transistor’s Public Night and normally its ‘arduino night’.   They had brought in pizza the night we visited. There were several people working on arduino and other projects.  There were also number of other people setting up for a night of DnD game play.

Here are some pictures of the space.  Below are a few more of various projects we found around the space.

Big room's electronic and other work area

Tim and Deven hangin in bench/desk area

Big Room with DnD players in lounge area

Big Room looking towards lounge area

Big room - behind tim & deven are the plastic dividers that separate the machine (dirty) space from main room

Chop, Miter saws and welding setup in machine area


There was a Harbor Freight vise bolted to one of the benches in the work shop area. Apparently it had arrived without a handle.  Being good hackers with a welder handy, they welded a socket to the shaft and – Voila – a ratcheting vise.  very nice.

Harbor freight forgot to include a handle for the vise. Hackers fixed it with a ratchet!

The Seizure Machine
An old hand cranked AC generator was hacked with a couple LEDs. Turning the handle makes the LEDs flash. The device was nicknamed “The Seizure Machine” because flashing lights sometimes bring on seizures.

The Seizure Machine - LEDs powered by hand cranked ac generator

Brian trying out the Seizure Machine on me. Cool lights but no seizures induced.

Minimalist Arduino

The space has developed its own arduino clone “the minimalist arduino kit“. Its a $7.50 kit gets you the basic electronic parts need to make an functional arduino, if you add a breadboard.  For more robust projects, you need a circuit board – and they designed and built a few in house.

Minimalist Arduino on board

Bottom of board for Minimalist Arduino kit

Zombie Car-duinos and Laser Weapons

A neat arduino based project is their Zombie-car shooting gallery.  A number of cheap RC cars were hacked up to carry an arduino with bump and other sensors and a wireless (xbee) network card.  Some barbie/ken dolls were doctored up with paint, and an IR sensor and attached to ride the cars. Next they hacked up some cheap toy guns with IR LEDs (maybe lasers?) and pulsed them to distinguish between weapons.  Remember that second room I mentioned? They setup some tables with a mini-town.  The car zombies run around the town under computer (operator?) control and competitors try to shoot them.  It wasnt running when I saw it but it looked like fun.

Carduino - RC car hax with arduino and xbee wifi

Carduino with acrylic bumbers

Zombie Bride with IR Target on her head

Several Zombies and their carduinos

Zombies riding on carduinos with laser guns to shoot em down

Shooting the Zombie Cars

Zombie Carduino hides under chair

Zombie Town


Bronze Casting from Makerbot Printed Original

One project I hope to undertake at Maui Makers is doing some metal casting using originals made on our Makerbot 3D Printer. This is something that has been talked about in the forums since inception and at every demonstration of the ‘bot that I’ve given/seen. Mostly it was about how cool it would be if you could do this but rarely has anyone actually said they did it.

Well FINALLY someone has come forth with detailed information on bronze casting using ‘bot made originals. The great folks at theband new (sept 2010) Quad Cities Collaboration and Hackerspace (QC Co-lab), of Davenport Iowa, have been making their hackerspace coins using their ‘bot and bronze casting. Back at the beginning of October 2010, MBI posted a blog report interview with David Hinkle and QC-Cola. It had lots of info and nice pics. Now MBI blog brings us two videos from QC Co-lab, showing how they prep a ‘bot made coin, make the sand mold, cast it, and a bit of cleanup. Very Cool!!

Here is Part 1, the mold preparation:

and Part 2 where they fire up the furnace:

Ok. I’m going back to refitting the Mk5 printruder onto GoldBot! Hopefully it will be operational later today.