Community Watch: Nova Labs & Makersmiths #makerspace Tour

Northern Virginia hosts a handful of makerspaces, with all different working models.  I’m spending the next several months visiting as many makerspaces as possible.  You can catch my Manhattan tour here!


Northern VA hosts a number of makerspaces.  I’m going to focus on the two non-profit makerspaces, Nova Labs & Makersmiths.

Nova Labs

Nova Labs started in 2011 and boasts a vibrant community.  Nova Labs has friendly volunteers, regularly scheduled and filled classes, and hosts  (STEM Camps, TedX conferences, makeathons, etc).  They boast a small incubation program and multiple shop areas and types.  Currently, they have a well-equipped woodshop, metal shop, two laser cutters, 3D printing, craft area and a large open coworking bay.

Best of all, especially if you are just “trying out” this making thing, they offer open meeting times for a variety of interest groups.  Interested in board games?  There’s an open meeting time.  You can join in the fun and you don’t have to be a member.  Want to try the woodshop because you need to use that one tool?  Open woodshop days could be the answer.

Nova Labs has a little something for most everyone.  Memberships begin at $50 per month, which is cheap compared to similarly appointed spaces.  Family discounts are available and Nova Labs encourages young makers (9 & up) to contribute to the community.

1916 Isaac Newton Square West
Reston, VA 20190



Makersmiths is a new makerspace located just outside of Leesburg.  They have a flexible office plan, enclosed shops with AC/Heating and dust collection, as well as access to some pretty powerful equipment and plans to expand.

Meetings and gatherings are coordinated by Meetup. They host open wood shop, tech nights, even quilting nights.  A great resource on the western edge of Northern VA, Makersmiths is an organization to watch.  Makersmiths has two levels of membership, with the Associate Membership construing the standard benefits of a Makerspace membership (access to tools, classes, etc).  Associate memberships start at $50 a month, on par with Nova Labs.

71 Lawson Rd in Leesburg, VA


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