This is Part 3 in my Making a Makerspace series. If this interests you, catch parts one and two. A makerspace is a space for a group of interesting and creative people to make something. Makerspaces differ from traditional constructional spaces in schools such as woodshops, auto mechanics shops, tech labs, etc because making brings three ideas into the classroom: collaboration, communication and personal fabrication. Personal fabrication brings new, ever-cheaper technologies, such as 3D printing and desktop CNC machines, into the classroom for educational use. Collaboration focuses on group and community work, whether in the shop space, your local community … Continue reading Making a Makerspace: What Do We Make Here? Some Capabilities and Tools for Your Educational Makerspace
This fall, I move into a brand-spanking new classroom. As part of this move, I’ve been heavily involved in the planning, organizing and logistics of moving my school’s Math & Science program into our new digs. In the words of a close colleague of mine, what a great problem to have! Long term readers of this blog have probably noticed a distinct drop off in posts over the past year – well, this massive move has been the main focus of my long-term planning and energy, leaving little left over for blogging or new projects.
That’s about to change. This is the first of a series of posts on how I’m transforming an empty 20′ x 20′ room into a Makerspace. I will be posting progress reports throughout the Fall 2013 semester, so keep checking back. This post will focus on planning out the Makerspace, which I’ve named the STEAMworks. Continue reading “Making a Makerspace: Planning the Steamworks”
To end the year, my students have been making simple marking gauges. My students learned to create a mortise and use hand planes to fit a tenon in this particular project. Here’s how we did it. 1. Cut a 1″ or 3/4″ square oak strip into 8″ lengths. 2. Cut a 2″ length from a maple strip about 2″ wide, giving you a 2″ x 2″ square. 3. Use the oak strip to mark your mortise in the center of the maple square. We did this by marking two diagonals across the maple square and then eye-balling the center. Mark the square … Continue reading This Week in the Shop: A Simple Pin Marking Gauge
In the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s, a number of furniture makers, craftsman and artisans reacted against the massive mechanization and industrialization of (their) modern world to create a type of furniture called Arts & Crafts, Craftsman or Mission style furniture. Gustav Stickley in New York, the Roycroft community and others created furniture, which to my eyes, can’t be beat by anything that’s ready-to-assemble.
While I find my heart and soul called by Mr. Morris’s chair, other artisans were getting in on the action. With so much intellectual rebellion running about, some energy had to flow into pottery, right? I’m not a big pot fan (yep, that reads differently than it did in my head) but I do appreciate the art tiles. I just had to find a way to make one without using actual clay. I don’t have the sculpting skills, tools, a kiln or materials for such work.
So how did I do it? I used some of the latest and most innovative prototyping methods known to man.
Of the three or so classes I’ve taught at TX/RX Labs and the twenty to thirty projects I’ve taught at work, the simple bench project remains my favorite. It is an intermediate level project which can be reached by absolute beginners, it’s cheap to build (approximately $15 w/ finish) and it lends itself to multiple machines (tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press) and hand tools. I present the latest and greatest class yet: Special thanks to Pratt for building extra supports for himself and everyone else, shout out to Sean for the intense questions, my teaching assistants, and everyone else in the … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench Is Complete!
Are you in the Houston area? Ever wanted to get started woodworking? Maybe you just enjoy benches as much as I do? Join me for the Wood Workshop at TX/RX Labs on Sat. & Sun. May 25th & 26th (5/25 & 5/26) from 9am-5pm. The Finished Bench I will be walking you through how to build the simple bench project, start to finish. As TX/RX so elegantly put it: Build a simple bench using both hand tools and power tools. A perfect intro to woodworking, we will cover basic tool usage both hand and power along with learning the basics of … Continue reading Community Watch: Build a Bench this Memorial Day Weekend!
Last week, I showed everyone the biggest project sitting on my workbench. This week I completed the footboard just in time for Valentine’s Day. I celebrated its completion by buying my wife a dozen roses, and taking her on not one, but two, dates in one weekend. But I’m back in the doghouse, I mean, woodshop now. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I designed the footboard with dovetailed (and splinted) carcass, rear panels from birch ply floating in dados, solid wood support beams on the ends. Finishing this guy was an adventure in and of itself. I discovered a rule about … Continue reading This Week in the Woodshop: Footboard, Pt. 2
On Jan 19th, I will showcase student projects at Houston’s first Mini-Maker Faire. Come see a student-build geodesic dome and participate in a woodworking demonstration lead by student-experts! Maker Faire brings together families and individuals to celebrate the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset and showcase all kinds of incredible projects. At Maker Faire, you’ll find arts and crafts, science and engineering, food and music, fire and water but what makes this event special is that all these interesting projects and smart, creative people belong together. It is a show-and-tell format for people of all ages that brings out the “kid” in … Continue reading Community Watch: Houston Mini Maker Faire
Eight students, six boxes built and finished. It was a long day in the shop – nearly seven hours with only a few breaks for liquids. I can think of a number of great moments: the first box getting nailed together, the last coat of shellac being applied, the look of what-have-I-got-myself-into as the students tackled nearly 40 linear feet of hardwood for the first time. We captured the moment which stands out most for me in the picture below. Take a good look at the boy in the white shirt. Take a good look at his smile. He didn’t get … Continue reading Community Watch: Build A Box!
My new “little” project obsession: try squares. These guys mark boards square. That’s it. All they do. The try, not tri, comes from the act of “trying” an angle to see if it’s square, not three, or tri. This slideshow punctuated by a few of my favorite song titles, puns and lyrics in no particular order. These tools come together quite easily. First, I rip a 2×4 into 1/4″ or 3/8″ inch thick strips. Then I flatten one side of the strip using a hand plane. After checking each strip for flatness, I rip the piece again on my … Continue reading This Week in the Classroom: Try Squares