The Heartland Maker Fest wants you!

The Heartland Maker Fest wants you!

Are you a maker, crafter, tinkerer? Have you thought about sharing your making, crafting, tinkering with other people? Then you (yes, you) should fill out the Heartland Maker Fest Call for Makers form today!

The Heartland Maker Fest our yearly event celebrating the amazing makers in Urbana-Champaign and the surrounding communities. And with your help we want to make this years event bigger and more creative than ever.

The Fest will be held at the Lincoln Square Mall in downtown Urbana from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, October 3rd. We’ll provide tables, chairs, and electricity (if requested). We’ll handle all the publicity, and we’ll work with you on connections through Facebook and Twitter to get the buzz going. We are supported again this year by an Urbana Arts Council grant, so there’s minimal cost to be a Maker and attendees will get in free.

Have a project idea, or know someone who might? Let us know! We are looking for a diverse group of talented individuals to showcase so Apply Now.

Any person or organization who embraces creativity and the DIY spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience is encouraged to apply!



Heartland Maker Fest 2014



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A look back…

A look back…

2014 was quite the year for Makerspace Urbana. We expanded our open hours, held more workshops and special events than ever before, and acquired many new cool shared equipment items that are now available to the public! We also had our first annual maker celebration under our new Heartland Maker Fest name and saw huge growth from the previous year.

Thanks to the amazing energy and dedication of Makerspace Urbana volunteers, we were able to organize, host, and attend over 40  special activities this year! (see below) And these are all in addition to our weekly Computer Help Desk, Open Hours, and Py-CU Hack Nights.

We also launched our Five Year Five Hundred Campaign aimed at increasing our monthly sustaining donation amount to over $500 per month. We’re on track to surpass our goal and it’s all thanks to the support of over 30 wonderful community members donating as little as pi ($3.14) each month! If you would like to help the Makerspace remain sustainable and support our growth, consider becoming a sustainer by donating here.

We can’t wait to see what 2015 brings and we hope you’ll join us in making cool things happen!

2014 Makerspace Urbana Special Achievements:

  • Py-CU’s first year anniversary event (Saturday, Feb. 1, 6-9pm)
  • Mitch Altman’s Cool Kits workshop @ MU (Saturday, Feb. 15, 2-5pm)
  • Electric Waste Orchestra concert (Thursday, Feb. 20, 7-9pm)
  • UIUC Fine Arts class visit @ MU (Friday, Feb. 21, 8-9:30pm)
  • Hardware Freedom Day Event (Saturday, March 15)
  • Open Hours & Arduino‘s 10th Birthday celebration (Saturday, March 29)
  • Family Science Day @ Redbird Arena, Normal, IL (Saturday, April 5, 2014, 11am-4pm)
  • Graduate School for Library and Information Science tour (Saturday, April 5, 2014 – 1:00)
  • MU table @ Champaign Public Library’s 2014 Home School Fair (Saturday, April 19, 10am-noon)
  • LED workshop @ Dr. Howard Elementary (Wed, April 23, noon)
  • AGORA Festival (May 2nd and 3rd)
  • Table at the Market (7am-noon) + Garage Sale (Saturday, May 10, 10am – 4pm)
  • MU participated in a Panel on Makerspaces & Illinois Emerging Technologies Report
  • PyCU’s Women’s IT and Computing Open House (Saturday, May 31, 1-4pm)
  • Martin Wolske’s Community Informatics Studio class (June 19 @ 2pm)
  • Art @ the Market (July 12, 7am-noon)
  • Bloomington Children’s Museum workshop (July 17 @ 3pm)
  • Outta mouths of babes workshop (July 26, 2-4pm)
  • Summer Make-a-tion 2014 workshops (Aug-Sept):
    • Knitting
    • Harry Potter Wands
    • Tablet Case
    • Cross Stitch
    • Soldering I
    • Soldering II
    • 3D Printing I
    • 3D Printing II
    • Arduinos
    • Beer/Mead brewing
  • Innovation Living-Learning Community workshop (Thurs, Aug 21, 3pm)
  • Pride Fest Table (Saturday, Sept. 6)
  • CUDO Plays launch party
  • Py-CU workshop hosted by Elizabeth at Univ of Illinois
  • UIUC NSBE “When I grow up, I want to be an engineer” Workshop (Thurs, Oct 2, 4-5:30pm)
  • MU hosts CIGG Workshop (Thurs, Oct. 9, 6-7:30pm)
  • Design For America workshops I & II (Oct. 4 & 25, 1-3pm)
  • International Day of the Girl Table (Saturday, Oct. 11, 9am-noon)
  • Organized 2014 Heartland Maker Fest (Saturday, Oct. 18, all day)
  • Urbana Free Library Zombie Prom and Costume Workshops (Friday, Oct. 24)
  • Sew-O-Ween 2014 Open Hours (Oct. 22, 25, and 29)
  • Society of Creating Anachronism Glass & Fire Workshop (Sunday, Nov. 23)
  • workshops on Constructing Technology and Computer Basics (Saturday, Dec.13, 1-3pm)
  • Makerspace Urbana 5yr Anniversary party and fundraiser (Monday, Dec. 15)
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Human-Centered Design Workshops on Urban Flooding

dfaWe’re very excited to announce that Design for America has chosen to team up with Makerspace Urbana for an exciting workshop series. This series aims to teach the human-centered design process to the members of Makerspace Urbana and the wider Urbana-Champaign community(all ages, all welcome). This will be carried out through 4 design workshops on urban flooding. In these sessions, DFA students will work in tandem with Makerspace Urbana members to conduct research using ethnographic techniques, reframe a design challenge, prototype, test their designs and re-iterate them based on user feedback from the John St Watershed Steering Committee. By the end of Spring 2015, DFA and Makerspace hope to deliver an installation type product to be handed over to the John Street Watershed Steering Committee.

The prototyping sessions will be a chance for Makerspace Urbana to mentor DFA members and members of the public in the art of making things through various media such as sewing, digital prototyping, 3D printing and other skills.

 So mark your calendars now! And if you would like to receive an email reminder closer to the first workshop date, sign up here!

The workshop series is funded by a grant from the Office of the Vice-Chancellor for Public Engagement.



Workshop 1: Understand • Introduction to Human Centered Design

10/4/2014, 1pm-3pm
Digital Computer Lab Room 2320
1304 West Springfield Urbana, IL 61801
  • Talk on what human-centered design is and why it is beneficial in the context of making
  • Introduction of problem statement and key issues surrounding the problem (5mins)
  • Participants will view prior field research footage recorded by DFA students to get an idea of the surroundings and their problems and then craft questions (15mins)
  • John St Watershed residents come to the workshop and share their experiences and problems/ be interviewed. (40mins)
  • Develop insights into the problem (25mins)
  • Create How Can We Questions (20mins)

Sign up: Online or Facebook Event

Workshop 2: Reframe, Synthesize and Brainstorm

10/25/2014, 1pm-3pm
Digital Computer Lab Room 2320
1304 West Springfield Urbana, IL 61801
  • Brainstorming sessions (30mins)
  • Choose ideas (10mins)
  • Forming groups to prototype those ideas
  • Prototyping (40mins)
  • Users will be invited to critique ideas. (40mins)

*This workshop will be facilitated by Julian Bongiorno from DFA National HQ

Workshop 3: Prototyping

11/1/2014  • 11/8/2014 • 11/15/2014 (time flexible)
Makerspace Urbana or other TBD location
  • Consists of DFA students working with Makerspace members every week informally to re-iterate and build prototypes for testing

Workshop 4: Testing and Feedbackeframe, Synthesize and Brainstorm

12/06/2014, 1pm-3pm
Location TBD
  • Participants will learn to communicate their ideas in a compelling way through a pitching workshop. (20mins)
  • Show their prototypes to John St Watershed members to get their own feedback
  • Brainstorm ways to improve their designs (40min)
  • Devise ways to continue with their ideas if participants feel they want to continue with their ideas (30mins)


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Outta the Mouths of Babes: Electric Waste Orchestra and Makerspace Urbana Episode!

We were super lucky to have Outta the Mouths of Babes , an amazing local youth radio project, come by with their youth correspondents and explore Makerspace Urbana and Colten’s Electric Waste Orchestra Project. Listen to the awesome results here:


And you can see more photos from the event here.

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Unity Community Center Workshop

Last year the Children’s Discovery Museum’s education coordinator (Bethany Thomas) invited us to do a workshop with their Maker Camp. This year we were invited back to have more maker related fun with the wonderful kids at the Unity Community Center. Seven of our Makerspace Urbana volunteers were able to attend and we set up 3 different maker activity  stations for the kids.  One station was our classic soldering workshop!

Maker Camp Bloomington Community Center (1 of 33)

Soldering is Easy! And kids pick it up really quick.

Maker Camp Bloomington Community Center (6 of 33)

This girl quickly became an excellent soldering teacher after finishing her own blinky badge.

Another was Led/Throwy/Origami.

Maker Camp Bloomington Community Center (3 of 33)

Light up origami time!

The new workshop station we were able to provide this time was sewing custom plush dolls! Huge thanks to Judy Lee from the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab for helping teach and put this workshop station together.

The kids cut out the patterns they created.

The kids got to cut out the patterns they created.

Learned to sew and stitch their pieces together.

Learned to sew and stitch their pieces together.

And ended up with some amazing creations!

And ended up with some amazing creations!

Thanks to the all the awesome kids who made this event a memorable one for all of us.

Full photo album here.

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Pewter Casting at Make-a-tion

Pewter Casting at Make-a-tion

This is the third year we’ve attempted a pewter casting workshop and once again the results were pretty wonderful. Our excellent volunteer/instructor Erich did an awesome job explaining exactly what pewter is and how easy it can be worked with even at home. Then we moved right along to playing with making molds out of silicone putty.

Pewter Casting (12 of 60) Pewter Casting (15 of 60)

Erich had brought in some some simple wooden carved shapes and objects he picked up at the local craft store that made for perfect items to mold the silicone around.

Pewter Casting (18 of 60)

Pewter Casting (21 of 60)

Many of the attendees also brought their own objects from home that they had decided they would like to create a pewter version of.

Pewter Casting (25 of 60)Pewter Casting (24 of 60)


After the molds were set (~10 min) it was time to head outside and start melting some metal.

Pewter Casting (31 of 60)Pewter Casting (35 of 60)

Once we had some liquid metal it was time to start the pouring and see how our molds worked.

Pewter Casting (43 of 60)Pewter Casting (38 of 60)

Turns out they worked great!

Pewter Casting (50 of 60)


Here’s a cast from a 3D printed pac-man ghost. We even managed to add a hole through it’s head so it could be attached to something.

Pewter Casting (48 of 60)Pewter Casting (63 of 60)

Thanks to everyone who came for making this a really fun event!

More photos from the event here.


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Our new Mini Maker Faire poster is here!

Our new Mini Maker Faire poster is here!

The Living Letter Press made the Urbana Champaign Mini Maker Faire a poster again this year, and it’s beautiful! We love their work. And it just happens to match the purple wall at Makerspace Urbana. Look for it around town soon.

If you need your own unique cards/invitations/posters/whatever definitely keep them in mind. They also run awesome workshops!

makerfaireposter (11 of 1)

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3D Printing at Make-a-tion

3D Printing at Make-a-tion

Our first ever Summer Make-a-tion 3D printing work happened last weekend and we had a wonderful turnout. James and Brian put together a workshop aimed at introducing people of any and all skill levels to our 3D printer.

3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (16 of 18)

With no previous knowledge required all participants were able to find 3D models to print online and personally customize them using free and easy to use online resources.

3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (15 of 18)3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (19 of 18)

After every group had customized and generated their 3D part we loaded them all up into the 3D printing software and printed them all together in one run.

3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (25 of 18)3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (23 of 18)

The Maker Space Urbana Solidoodle 3D printer  is free to use and available for people whenever the space is open (check the calendar or join our facebook group for times). Plastic and maintenance for the printer are payed for by a donation jar sitting next to the printer so please contribute if you are able.

3D Printing (Summer Make-a-tion) (24 of 18)

Now come print something!

More photos from the event here.


Resources from this workshop:

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Living Letter Press Workshop

Living Letter Press Workshop

Summer Make-a-tion kicked off this year with a field trip to The Living Letter Press,  one of our favorite local maker friendly resources.  In this workshop we hand set original wood type and created two different one of a kind posters based on famous quotes that we picked out as a group.

Living Letter Press 2013

We all got to browse through their enormous cases of type to pick out the exact letters we wanted for every word. We searched through both their upper cases and their lower cases of type. Yes, that’s where those terms come from – how neat is that! In fact many of the terms used in modern word processing programs have their origins in the physical workings of letterpress shops. Visit the Living Letter Press and you’ll be sure to learn more examples.

Living Letter Press 2013 (18 of 44)Living Letter Press 2013 (24 of 44)

After the type was set we moved it to an an original Vandercook Proof Press.  We inked the press with red and blue ink so that they would merge together and print a red/purple/blue pattern. Then it was time to print!
Living Letter Press 2013 (37 of 44)Living Letter Press 2013 (28 of 44)
We all hand cranked out our own posters and ened up with some pretty beautiful results.
Living Letter Press 2013 (41 of 44)
Living Letter Press 2013 (35 of 44) (1)Living Letter Press 2013 (36 of 44)
Huge thanks to Molly for hosting us and being a wonderful instructor. Find out more about the The Living Letter Press at
Full photo album here.
Check out our up coming Summer Make-a-tion workshops here!
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