Sign for the laser cutter room

Sign for the laser cutter room

In a shared space like Nova Labs, it is important to leave things better than you found them (you should read the listserv thread this past week about the router table being left messy).

The laser room suffers its fair share of mess, so I made a reminder sign for the wall above the workstation.

If it reminds even a few people to vacuum up their little dot cutout debris or gets them to put back the key, I guess it will be worth it.


Wood milling demo (video)

Wood milling demo (video)

A big log needs a big saw

On January 16, 2016, Nova Labs members were treated to a wood milling demonstration at Belle Grey Farm in Upperville, VA. The 51HP diesel powered, hydraulically controlled portable saw mill ran through the wood with ease.

Members were shown how entire trees were rough cut down to boards. The boards were then put into a solar kiln to dry for at least several months and sometimes as much as several years. Once dried the boards make it to the shop where they are used to make equestrian jumps.

Photos and source video clips courtesy of Fred Briggs. Video by me for the Nova Labs Facebook page.


Over-achieving embroidered party favors for kid’s birthday

Over-achieving embroidered party favors for kid’s birthday


Custom embroidered wash cloths
Homemade, personalized, embroidered wash cloths were definitely overkill for a 2-year-old’s birthday celebration at school.

As a relatively new parent several years ago, I was shocked to learn that not only would the birthday kid bring cupcakes or a treat or whatever to school, but they would also bring party favors for the class. Presents for the other kids? And we’re not even hosting a party to get presents in return?

Our little one had a birthday later in the year, so we had several months of bringing home¬†goodie bags of candy and small plastic toys; like we needed any more of those things… I wanted to do better. Up the ante. Go overboard.

We had recently purchased a new-to-us sewing machine with embroidery attachment, and I thought this was a great opportunity to go overboard with gifts for her classmates. Instead of junk, how about something personalized and useful? Every kid needs baths, and washcloths would be easy to embroider on since they are sturdy (I think I used a wash-away stabilizer just to be sure).

I came up with a design using an outline of a duck, and a font that was built into the digitizing software I had. It would embroider quickly since it had a relatively low stitch count.

Was it worth it? Meh…

Despite getting the washcloths for cheap at Costco, it still took a ton of time. But I’m sure they got more use than a plastic lizard, bouncy ball, or tiny rainbow Slinky, so at least there’s that!

Embroidered wash cloths and Brother ULT2003D sewing/embroidery machine
Assortment of embroidered wash cloths for a 2 year old’s birthday party/goody bag.