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Bellingham Makerspace Newsletter

November 2021

Hello from the Makerspace!  We have exciting news for you.

Featured in This Issue:
Words from Tina

Seems like only yesterday I was writing this column and now it is actually a month later. So much has happened in this month….
 

First, the Makerspace held a very successful Maker Faire. It was the first time that our Makerspace hosted a Maker Faire and the first to be held in the PNW in the last two years. The Maker Faire team put out the call for Makers to come and showcase their creations. We had such an interesting mix of 28 different Makers who demonstrated their creations such as ceramic 3D printing, making masks, card making, and woodworking to name a few. I mostly sat at the Manager’s desk welcoming folks to the Makerspace and seeing that a volunteer was available to provide a tour. I also attempted to keep track of the number of people coming into the Makerspace. I counted over 350 people before larger groups of people started entering and I could just not keep up. I would safely guess we had over 500 visitors to the Makerspace - AMAZING!!!!

 

Of course, none of this could have happened without the help of our awesome volunteers! From helping us getting the space ready, to the day of the Maker Faire getting vendors to their spot, giving tours, and the inevitable cleanup, they were always there. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS AND MAKING THE MAKER FAIRE SUCH A SUCCESS!

 

At the end of day, my husband Steve and I hosted a wrap up party. With Mary stepping down as Executive Director and hosting a Maker Faire, we thought it was only right to commemorate our beginnings and thus had a plaque made noting our founders, Jason Davies and Mary Elliott. Amidst the champagne and hors d’oeuvres, the plaque was presented to them and will now hang in the Makerspace.

 

As we move forward in our development, we are discovering additional needs, mostly for additional volunteers. We currently are hosting an after school program for Gabriel’s Art Kids on Thursday afternoons and hope to be hosting more groups in the near future. It is really important to have shop hosts available to cover the lobby and answer questions as our managers are teaching or conducting classes. With the momentum following the Maker Faire and people discovering the Makerspace, we have had increased foot traffic from shoppers at the mall. As we finalize our marketing plans, I can only anticipate the number of visitors increasing. If you are interested in helping or learning more, please contact Jeff Copeland, our Board Director who coordinates our volunteer efforts. He can be best reached at jeff.copeland@gmail.com. Another means of obtaining information will be on the Bellingham Makerspace website. I don’t think anyone can say thank you enough to those who graciously give their time to the Makerspace.

 

In mentioning our development and marketing plans, I have met with the marketing team and discussed the plans I have for the Makerspace as we move into the holidays. Since our Maker Faire was such a success, I thought it only fitting to have an open house, once a month with the goal of attracting mall shoppers into the Makerspace. This will not be on the same scale as the Maker Faire, but an opportunity for the community to see each area of the Makerspace in action. I am anticipating this for the third Saturday of November and December. I think demonstration is a great example of how creativity and ideas can be ignited in a person.

 

As we have more visitors to the Makerspace, I would like to see our retail space expanded. I would like to ask that if any of you have any creations you would like to sell, please let me know. Our Makerspace volunteer, Karla Freiheit, will manage Day to day operations of the retail/consignment area. Nothing can say more about a Makerspace then displaying what can and is being done at the Makerspace. With that said, I know there have been problems in the past with the retail space and how members have been paid. For those who brought this to my attention, thank you. I am actively working on resolving the kiosk issues with our IT team and have already corrected the reimbursement issue. With all the national news about supply issue problems for holiday shoppers, I would like the Makerspace to have fully stocked shelves and opportunities to make items and be one answer for the holiday shopper’s needs. Please consider or reconsider placing your items in the retail/consignment space.

 

In mentioning opportunities to make items, Jason Davies and I have been busy trying to add classes to our list. Three new classes that have been added are Intro to Python Programming taught by our new teacher Devin Link, Holiday Card Make and Take also taught by a new teacher Linda King, and a class called Share Your Projects and Ideas taught by our volunteer Karla Freiheit. In addition to classes, we are now partnering with the Men’s Shed as they work on their project, Toys for Tots and the formation of the Bellingham Makerspace Amateur Radio Group. The Board granted permission to the amateur radio group to use its name and is in the process of registering it. Classes will be developed shortly in Understanding Amateur Radio and its Applications, Introduction to Amateur Radio, Building an Antenna and Emergency Digital Communications. The Makerspace is already host every other month for individuals wanting to take their license exam. There is certainly more room for classes, so if you have a particular interest or specialty that you can share, please contact Jason Davies at Jason@bellinghammakerspace.org.

 

As I close my thoughts once again, I do want to say what an honor and privilege it is to work with so many talented Makers devoted to making the Bellingham Makerspace a community asset. I appreciate the compliments that I have received but I still want to encourage members to share their dreams for the Makerspace and concerns you might have. I want to know what is working well and what is not. There are SO many facets to the Makerspace, I can’t begin to mention them all. However, it takes a village to build community, not just one person. So please keep your ideas coming.

 

Until next month, keep MAKING!



Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday starts the end-of-year giving season on November 30th. The Bellingham Makerspace will be participating in this event as it is a 501 (3) organization.

The Bellingham Makerspace is a family-friendly space for community members to come and express their creativity with like minds. We offer classes to the general public in arts and crafts as well as how to use the various tools available in our space, including the woodshop, the metalshop, sewing, amateur radio, 3D printing, the laser cutter, screen printing, etc. Members have access to tools and space to work on their projects that would otherwise be unaffordable or inaccessible. We also offer volunteer "tool champions" to help members with their projects. The Makerspace also hosts events, rents craft studios and meeting space, and collaborates with other organizations and schools.

If you plan to participate in this event and elect to donate to the Makerspace, your donation will be tax-deductible and go towards expanding and improving the Makerspace in accordance with our mission. You can donate at this link. Your generosity and continued support of the Makerspace are most appreciated.


Holiday Make-and-Take

Looking for more personal cards this holiday season? The Makerspace is offering a card making class for adult beginners in which you will make two beautiful cards with envelopes. We will use both rubber and photo-polymer stamps, ink, brushes and alcohol markers. This class is offered on November 10, November 17, December 8, or December 11. Sign up here.


Ornament Making

Drop in and make your own holiday ornament. This project is available on November 20, December 5, or December 18 from 2-5 pm.


Open House

Come see what projects makers are working on at the Bellingham Makerspace! November 20 and December 18 from 2-5 pm.


Intro to Python Programming

Learn the fundamentals of python programming in 6 sessions over 3 weeks, Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons, starting November 3. Bring your own laptop, preferably less than 5 years old. Sessions will be available in person or online. Sign up here.


Bellingham Maker Faire

The 2021 Bellingham Maker Faire was a huge success! All spaces for vendors and presenters were full, and more than 500 people showed up to this family friendly event. Thank you to everyone who participated! It was a great opportunity to see what people are making and to get ideas for future projects.


New Amateur Radio Group now part of Bellingham Makerspace

By Steve Stroh N8GNJ

The Bellingham Makerspace Amateur Radio Group (BMARG) was formed in October, 2021 and is now officially authorized by the Makerspace Board. Makerspace members who are Amateur Radio Operators include BMARG Coordinator Steve Stroh (N8GNJ), Garth Johnson (KF7TOY), Mark Allyn (WA1SEY), Rochelle Sears (KF7VOP), and Tina Stroh (KD7WSF).

A primary reason for forming BMARG is to expose the members and visitors to the Makerspace to Amateur Radio. Such opportunities are very rare in this era (typically, only at science / tech museums and some venues such as fairs).

A secondary reason to create BMARG is to leverage Amateur Radio as a way to teach radio technology as a part of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities at the Makerspace. For example, many Amateur Radio projects and systems are based on Raspberry Pi computers, and it’s even cooler to make Raspberry Pis into radios (yes, really).The first activity of BMARG was to develop some representative displays of “modern” Amateur Radio activities as part of the Maker Faire, including microwave networking and mobile data communications (Automatic Packet Reporting System - APRS).

But what really showed off “Amateur Radio” during the Maker Faire was a local Amateur Radio Operator, Gayland Gump KG7GCF working on soldering components to a printed circuit board. (Yes, it was an Amateur Radio project.) Gayland was really able to engage the young folks and make soldering look really cool!

An immediate goal for BMARG is to write a grant proposal to Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) to purchase equipment for BMARG and some general financial support for the Makerspace for some infrastructure and STEM activities. After the grant proposal is complete and submitted, BMARG will develop an “Introduction to Amateur Radio” class for those that want to learn more about what Amateur Radio is and what its capabilities are (open to the public) that we will repeat regularly.

Longer term goals for BMARG include developing radio-related projects appropriate for the Makerspace such as building good, but inexpensive antennas out of common materials such as stiff wire and PVC pipe, building a satellite ground station to receive data from small satellites built by colleges such as Portland State University and University of Washington, Amateur Radio license preparation classes, and (if we do receive a grant) building out several radio systems in the Amateur Radio area. We also want to reach out to local Amateur Radio and other tech-related organizations such as TAG NW.

As an example of what’s possible for Amateur Radio projects, it’s feasible for Bellingham Makerspace to be the first Makerspace (in the world?) to build its own research micro-satellite (using Amateur Radio to communicate) and get it launched from the International Space Station.

A unique challenge for Amateur RADIO in the Bellingham Makerspace is that Bellis Fair Mall does not allow any external antennas. And, operating radios within the Makerspace does not work very well because of radio interference generated from many electronic devices such as 3D printers with stepper motors and switching power supplies. BMARG plans to adapt to that challenge, and still be able to work with radios at the Makerspace, to “split” radios that we want to use into a display / front panel at the Makerspace, and the corresponding radio / antenna system somewhere else that antennas are allowed. The display / front panel and the radio / antenna system will be linked via Internet.

Most importantly, Bellingham Makerspace Amateur Radio Group will be about having fun with radio technology, including many activities that don’t require individuals to get their own Amateur Radio license.

For more information about Bellingham Makerspace Amateur Radio Group, contact Steve Stroh N8GNJ - steve@bellinghammakerspace.org, via the Makerspace Slack system, or by phone / text at 206-849-9019. Steve also publishes a free weekly newsletter about the more techie aspects of Amateur Radio - see https://zeroretries.substack.com.


Upcoming Classes

Sign up here.
Intro to the Laser
Intro to Python Programming
Intro to CNC Routers
Intro to Vector Graphics
Intro to the Woodshop
Make Your Own Space Saber
Intro to 3D Printing for Kids
3D Printer Maintenance and Troubleshooting
Intro to CNC Sign Making
Holliday Card Make & Take
                                            
Intro to the Vinyl Cutter
Intro to 3D Printing
Share Your Projects and Ideas!
Intro to CAD with OnShape
Intro to the Arduino
Nov. 1, 6pm or Nov. 15, 6pm
Nov. 3, 5:30pm
Nov. 3, 6pm or Nov. 17, 6pm
Nov. 4, 6pm or Nov. 18, 6pm
Nov. 5, 6pm
Nov. 6, 2pm
Nov. 7, 3pm or Nov. 21, 3pm

Nov. 7, 4pm
Nov. 8, 6pm or Nov. 22, 6pm
Nov. 10, 2pm or Nov. 17, 6pm or
Dec. 8, 2pm or Dec. 11, 1pm
Nov. 11, 6pm
Nov. 14, 3pm or Nov. 28, 3pm
Nov. 14, 3:30pm or Nov. 28, 3:30pm
Nov. 20, 12pm
Nov. 20, 3pm
This is a newsletter from the Bellingham Makerspace, brought to you in part by Grizzly Tools, inc.
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