Tag Archives: tinkering

Christmas Decorations – Maker Style

The boys and I headed down to 757 Makerspace today after a little bit of a hiatus.  Great to be back and such a fun afternoon!

We got to use silicone molds to cast some snowflake ornaments, the customize some glass ornaments with the laser cutter.  Creative, hands-on afternoon and some really original ornaments to bring home.  Justin said we should plan to make a custom ornament every year.  Great idea!!

Here are a few pics.

We worked with the liquid plastics last year when we were first introduced to mold-making.  Last year we made this cool storm trooper using the same technique.


This year Beau had snowflake molds already made up and ready to go.


Both times we used Smooth-Case liquid plastics, mixing two part solutions that you pour into the mold, wait for it to cure, and voila!  (provided your measurements were solid) 🙂

Most times we have tried it it worked great.  Today one of my my snowflakes flopped, but we quickly mixed up another one.



While the casts were curing, a small group of us headed over to the laser cutter.  We were able to design the images and text that we wanted on our ornament, then watch as the laser cutter did its magic.


Pretty amazing that the laser cutter can hold and laser cut so many different substances – even wood, stone, and in our case glass.


Always lots of great creative energy around Makerspace – and today was no exception.  🙂





Maker Saturday: Arduinos & Beginner Robot Fun

Our Makerspace Saturday class this week was an intro to robots – and a great time!  I will definitely not due justice to all of the parts and step by step procedures followed, but with the excellent guidance of Linda Nichols and Brandon Flade of Norfolk Java Script we made SumoBots that ACTUALLY moved!

Using a Sumo Bot Kit, an Arduino One, servos, something called a ‘breadboard’ (for those of us that bake and are new to electronics … its NOTHING like a breadbox) :-), and a battery pack … we created these guys.



We started out building the chassis,


then mounted the breadboard


and Arduino



installed the battery pack


and ran the (dreaded) wires


(then fixed them … then fixed them again.)

The robots were running on Node software with the Johnny-Five library.  Brandon shows us the code that contained the commands to control the robot.


We fired them up  and – voila – moving, honking, working robots!    Brandon did a fantastic job guiding us newbies through the build process – showing us how then guiding us on how to troubleshoot and fix our own mistakes.  It was a great class and we will definitely be making more robots in the future!

I know I have not done justice to the step by step … but if you want to learn more check out the next Pop-Up Robot Night at 757 Makerspace in April, or the Norfolk JavaScript meet ups around town in Hampton Roads.

Revelation of the Day: I have a mental block about electrical wiring!    My finished bot had wires flying arounds like a mad scientists hair …

My wild wiring job!
My wild wiring job!

while Josh’s were neat, bundled and orderly

Josh showing up his Mom with an orderly wiring job

Great Makerspace Saturday!

And, as always, I can’t say enough about 757 Makerspace here in Norfolk.  Visit, join, make!!  Members have access to the space and the Saturday classes are included in your membership. We got the value of our membership from the great classes alone – and have started our first project (stay tuned for a future post.)

Here’s their page and a link to some prior blog posts on their space.

757 Makerspace Website

757 Makerspace – Prior Blogs