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.

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

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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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Glowing Chucks at Make-a-tion

Glowing Chucks at Make-a-tion

Is it a bird?  Is it a plane?  It’s neither.  But everyone that attended our Glowing Chuck Taylors workshop (as part of our Summer Make-a-tion series) certainly gained the power of being awesome!

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Thanks to AdaFruit‘s excellent tutorial, we too were “light” on our feet by cutting out an EL Panel:


adding an inverter for some much needed power (supplied by a simple coin cell battery):


and sewing it to our shoe of choice (in this case, a Chuck Taylor All-Stars):


Check out the finished product.  I dare you to say that doesn’t look cool.


In fact, this workshop was so easy, we had time to pull apart some old wind-up toys and make these little guys:


What does it do, you ask?  Stop by the space and find out 🙂

Check out more pictures on our Facebook page here.

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Soldering and Post-It Speakers at Make-a-tion

Soldering and Post-It Speakers at Make-a-tion

We continued our Summer Make-a-tion series in true Discotech style by setting up several workshop stations which allowed everyone to move around as they liked.

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We had our classic soldering workshop which teaches the basics behind using a soldering iron.  The project revolved around putting together a small robot pin by attaching its eyes (LEDs) and a holder for a small coin-cell battery to the body.

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I’m not going to say people learned a lot, but I think people learned a lot.

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And the finished product:


Pretty snazzy, right?

And if you think this isn’t the most fun you can have in 2 hours on a Saturday, we also taught people how speakers work by making our own mini versions using origami paper, speaker wire, and a magnet.

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We discovered this jem of a workshop at this year’s Allied Media Conference in Detroit.  Props to Mt Elliott Makerspace for being awesome.


Check out the rest of the photos on our Facebook page.

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Makerspace Urbana represents at Tandem

Makerspace Urbana represents at Tandem

If you don’t know what Tandem is, here’s a short description from the website:

Tandem: Champaign-Urbana’s Bicycle-Themed Poster Event allows the bicycle and design communities to combine their efforts in a way that will be mutually beneficial for both groups, and for the C-U community as a whole.  […] We’re inviting local and regional artists and designers to submit original pieces to be sold at reasonable prices ($20-40 suggested.)

The artists will keep 50% of the proceeds, and the remaining 50% […] will be donated to The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign to help establish a cooperative bicycle shop in North Champaign.

Of course Makerspace Urbana had to enter.  A quick video of our submission is below: a mix of cross stitching, electronics, and touch sensitive thread. And it’s for sale.  Half the proceeds go toward the Bike Project and the other half will be donated to Makerspace Urbana! SO BUY OUR ART! It’s for two great causes.

Come check it out in action at Indi Go Gallery (9 E University Ave in Downtown Champaign).

Grand Opening is Friday, August 16th at 6pm.  The show will run until August 25th.

MU Tandem art entry.

MU Tandem art entry.

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Here’s to the Third Annual Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire!

Here’s to the Third Annual Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire!

“Make, create, craft, recycle, build, think, play, and be insipred by celebrating arts, crafts, engineering, music, science and technology.”

Makerspace Urbana is proud to announce that we will be hosting the third annual Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire located at the Independent Media Center in downtown Urbana. The Faire will be held this year on Saturday September 21, from 10am-4pm. Because the Urbana Arts Grant has graciously funded this event, it is free to all member of the community and participating makers.


Last year we had 19 makers participate in the event, and over 400 community members were in attendance! There was a diverse array of makers, including finger knitters, to soldering, a tube player, to (one of our favorite activities) 3D printing.


The Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire takes after its enormous parent event, Maker Faire, which hosts 90,000 visitors in San Mateo, California every spring. It began back in 2005 by the people behind MAKE and CRAFT magazines. Since then, Mini Maker Faires have started to sprout up around the United States, including events in in Austin, Detroit, and New York City.

The Urbana-Champaign Mini Maker Faire will be a smaller, community-focused event, but will follow the Maker Faire model of celebrating do-it-yourself creativity and tinkering.

Featuring both established and emerging local makers, the UCMMF is a family-friendly celebration featuring rockets and robots, DIY science and technology, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music, and educational workshops and instillations.

We would like to see this the 2013 UCMMF be the biggest and best event yet! But we still need makers… we want ALL THE MAKERS. So if you or someone you know is inspired to inspire others, fill out our Call for Makers form. 

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Makerspace Urbana meets a Children’s Maker Summer Camp

Makerspace Urbana meets a Children’s Maker Summer Camp

Yesterday ten Makerspace Urbana members made the trip to the Children’s Discovery Museum in Normal, Illinois to host a Maker Disco Tech for their  Design It, Create It, Make It camp! And just in case you are wondering, Disco Tech stands for Discovering Technology. Which instead of a dance party is more like a maker party where we set up different maker learning stations hosted by our Makerspace members that the kids could wander between.

Barry, Emily, Brian, Colten, and Jeff worked one-on-one with each child to teach them the tricks and safety tips of working with the soldering iron. Above we have a maker summer camp kid showing off that fashionable blinkie badge that she made!

Did you know that you can make a speaker just using some paper, magnets, magnet wire, and hot glue? And that anyone can do it? We certainly didn’t until Jeff attended the Allied Media Conference just last month and brought back this awesome workshop idea (Thanks to Jeff Sturges from the Mt.Elliott Makerspace). We had a blast with the kids making these and testing out each one to make sure they worked.



Gergana and George taught the kids some origami to create these LED magnetic throwies. And then some of the kids got pretty creative with the supplies…


And a few of these creations ended up on the metallic ceiling vent! (Some of us may have been enablers of this “extracurricular” activity).

When I asked some of the Children which workshop they enjoyed the most, a few responded with the t-shirt bag project. We are teaching a whole new generation of kids how to upcyle starting with this project, with which just a few snips and knots turns old unwanted t-shirts into bags the kids could take their creations home in!

Special thanks to Children’s Discovery Museum Education Coordinator Bethany Thomas for reaching out to Makerspace Urbana, and making this happen! And especially thanks to the 19 kids who made this event a memorable one for all of us.

Full photo album here.

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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.

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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.
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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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Art at the Market!

Art at the Market!

365 (115 of 1)After last years successful “T-Shirt to Tote Bag” workshop at Urbana’s Market at the Square  we were lucky enough to be invited back to do it again. And it was a huge success, we started with a massive pile of shirts and actually ran out. That means their are now more reusable bags in the world and less old T-shirts. It’s really a win-win for everyone. And the extra T-shirt scraps were even donated to The Bike Project to be used as rags. Here is a brief description of the workshop be did:

 T-Shirt to Tote Bag
Expand your collection of re-usable shopping bags by converting an old t-shirt into a tote.  No sewing skills required, pick a shirt and we will show you how to make the adjustments. Then, fill it with a harvest of Market goodies!


And a huge thanks to the Urbana Public Arts Program for sponsoring this event.


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3D Printing workshop session 2

3D Printing workshop session 2

3D printed catFor this workshop, we used Blender to create 3D models intended for printing.  If you missed this session, you can get up to speed by viewing the following online tutorials:

Additionally, the attached shortcut list is an invaluable resource while learning Blender.


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3D Printing workshop session 1

3D Printing workshop session 1

Thanks everyone for coming to the workshop tonight!  We covered the basics of 3D printing, including:3D Printed Pattern

  • Making 3D models in Tinkercad, OpenSCAD, and Blender
  • Editing slicer settings in Skeinforge
  • Understanding raw g-code
  • Printing on the Solidoodle
  • Finding cool projects on Thingiverse

Check out the presentation to get links to all the software we discussed:


More sessions to follow, providing hands on experience modeling and printing.  If you have anything you’d like to see in a future workshop, give us your comments!

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Lots of stuff happening today!

Lots of stuff happening today!

2-4pm – Help Desk open

Get help with your computer problems! learn how to fix stuff! donations encouraged, or donate your time to help others!
5-6pm – Solidoodle Workshop

We have a 3-D printer, yo! Learn to design, share, and print on our 3-D Solidoodle printer.
Join us for our Spring 2013 workshops, every 4th Sunday of the month:

February 24
March 24
April 28
May 26

6-7:30pm – Monthly Membership Meeting

Want to hear a bunch of things that we’re doing, have done & plan to do? Interested in learning how you can get involved? Maybe form a partnership with us on an awesome project you’re working on? Our Monthly Membership Meeting is the place to connect.

We’re located in the basement room #16 of the Independent Media Center in Urbana.

The space can be a little tricky to find but if you enter through the back (south) bike project door (near the radio tower) and take your first left, we’re at the end of the hall. This map should get you there.

See you there!

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Holiday Workshops – Unique Gifts to Keep&Share

Holiday Workshops – Unique Gifts to Keep&Share

Hey Ho Ho Ho Let's Sew (24 of 17)We are excited to have two exciting workshops happening for the holiday season. One focused on sewing and one focused on glass fusing:

Hey HO HO HO! Let’s Sew

Saturday, December 1, 2012   2:00pm until 5:00pm

With the Holidays right around the corner, forget about commercially produced junk and come make a keepsake ornament of your very own. In this workshop we’ll be focusing on sewn ornament design and construction and the sewing skills that go with it. All ages and skill levels are welcome. No need to bring anything but your love of making.

Ornament options from easy to advanced.

A- Sewn Paper Star
B- Sewn Felt Evergreen Tree with Decorative Hand Stitching
C- Sewn and Stuffed Candy Cane or Snowy Owl
$5 suggested donation.
Sign up online here or on facebook. Drop-ins welcome.
At Makerspace Urbana

Fused Glass Ornaments/Tchotchkes

Sunday, December 9, 2012  2:00pm until 5:00pm

We only have space for 8 in this workshop. SO YOU MUST SIGN UP ON THIS FORM:
Just joining the facebook eventwon’t guarantee you a space.
In this workshop you will learn the basics of glass fusing and slumping and how to cut glass and piece it together. We’ll all create a blue fused glass ornament/tchotchke with snowflakes and then design our own unique creations. No need to bring anything but your love of making.$10 suggested donation.

This event will not be at the Makerspace, it will be held at 602 E High St Urbana, IL 61801

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The Solidoodle is printing!

We got out new Solidoodle 3D printer up and printing. We hope to make a permanent place in the space for it and have it available for any members to use(after training). So come on by and play with it some time!

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Not done with your halloween costume? How unseamly! But don’t fret as Shared Threads and Makerspace Urbana have teamed up to help you. We’ll be holding a series of sewing-oriented open hours in the weeks leading up to Halloween. If you enjoy making your own costume, come work with others, get help, and share skills.

We provide: a room full of sewing machines and the expertise of an experienced tailor. Plus all the shiny LEDs you can get your hands on.
You provide: Your materials and a love of making.


And if you’re still thinking to yourself: To sew or not to sew? You don’t have a choice buddy because Halloween is 3 weeks away! So stop hemming and hawing and come by the Makerspace: Basement room #16 at the IMC.
All Workshop Dates:
Saturday, Oct. 13 2-5pm
Wednesday, Oct. 17 6:30-9pm
Thursday, Oct. 25 6:30-9pm



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End of Summer Make-a-tion Party (and Movie Night)!

End of Summer Make-a-tion Party (and Movie Night)!


We met a lot of amazing people over the summer. Words cannot express our gratitude to everyone who came to support us, including all of our awesome instructors.

And where words fail, pizza saves the day! I hope all of you will join us in celebrating the close of another excellent make-a-tion with some food, drinks, and a merry good time.

When: Saturday, Aug. 18 @ 4pm
Where: The Makerspace, UC-IMC basement, Room #16

This will be followed by a movie night. The movie is TBD right now, but keep an eye out.

Facebook Event Link

See you there!

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@maltman23 will be train hacking his way across the US! Hopefully he can stop by #chambana for a workshop at the Makerspace! :-)

@maltman23 will be train hacking his way across the US! Hopefully he can stop by #chambana for a workshop at the Makerspace! 🙂

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Whew! What a day! 431 people came to the faire today. Stay tuned for photos and information about next year.

Also make sure you engage with the groups you found most interesting. If one of those happens to Makerspace Urbana you’ve come to the right place. We have open hours every Wed at 7pm and are always looking for new makers.


via Facebook Pages


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