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  • 8 Jul 2020 9:59 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    Last week’s blog post spotlighted Roswell Firelabs Makerspace member and journeyman ironworker Jeff Spoor. This week, we’ll delve a little bit deeper into the world of welding to provide a better understanding of the process and possibilities for all those interested in learning.

    So, just what is welding?

    In simplest terms, welding is the act of melting two pieces of metal to fuse them into one solid piece. Of course, doing so depends on the type of metal, temperature, technique, speed, and distance. The techniques mentioned in last week’s post were all types of arch welding. They were MIG, TIG, and stick welding. 

    Let’s consider MIG welding

    MIG welding is largely considered to be one of the best techniques for beginners to start with. This is because certain aspects of the process are already regulated without the welder having to worry about them. The MIG technique involves electrode wire. The wire is fed through the equipment at a set speed, rather than the welder having to worry about how fast or slow they are going. The wire is then melted at the intersection of the two (or more) pieces of metal that are being welded together to create a strong bond.

    MIG welding, like all arc welding types, involves a shield of gas that surrounds the welding tip of the equipment. This is gas that is used to push away everything else from the welding area - such as sawdust, air particles, or other contaminants that could weaken the weld. Unfortunately, using this method does require the weld to be done inside a closed space or at least somewhere without wind. There are gas-less ways of MIG welding, but they require flux-core wire. They are also usually more expensive and lead to a messier welding finish. 

    For more information, check out this video, as recommended by our very own Jeff Spoor.



  • 1 Jul 2020 9:36 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)


    We are proud to host a wide variety of creators at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. One such member is journeyman ironworker Jeff Spoor. Jeff started off learning the basics of metalwork in his high school shop class, which led to him enrolling in a work-study program. From there we worked as a welder for the military before attending a technical school. These days, Jeff does industrial metalworking for a living and ornamental metalworking as a hobby. 

    In our interview, Jeff talked about bringing home pieces of scrap metal that would have otherwise been thrown out and using them to make something beautiful - such as his metallic flowers. “It’s reusing something,” he said, “repurposing and recycling.” That’s an idea we can really get behind at the Firelabs. Jeff also talked about how useful welding can be for more practical needs - such as repairs around the house or in creating pieces to be combined with other projects. Hairpin legs are a simple, quick way to give furniture a more modern look - if you know what you’re doing. 

    Arc welding is defined as a technique in which metals are welded using the heat generated by an electric arc. There are quite a few types of arc welding, but the three we talked about most were: stick or shielded metal arc welding, MIG welding, and TIG or heliarc welding. Each of these types could be broken down into even more categories, but we stuck with the basics. Stick welding utilizes a fixed-length electrode and an electric power source. MIG welding is when an electric arc forms between a consumable MIG wire electrode and the workpiece metal. TIG welding, however, uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode to produce the weld.

    Did all of that sound like Greek to you? We felt the same way, but Jeff is more than just an experienced welder; he’s an experienced teacher. He was introduced to teaching by a friend who worked for a school nearby and began conducting classes for the students there. As word of the classes - and how much the students enjoyed them - spread, Jeff was asked to teach more classes for other schools. He loved getting to see the transitions that the students would make - from timid and shy at the start of the classes, to empowered as they saw their ideas come to life.

    Now, Jeff is interested in sharing his knowledge and expertise with the Firelabs, too. Though COVID-19 has kept us from bringing classes back quite yet, Jeff has been brainstorming ideas for what he’d like to teach when we do. He shared some of those ideas with us and they sound pretty cool. So, if you’re interested in learning about welding and metalwork, keep an eye on our event calendar. It’s only a matter of time!



  • 24 Jun 2020 9:52 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    There have been a lot of changes around the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace as we’ve begun slowly reopening. New equipment has been added to the woodshop and the 3D printing area has been updated and reorganized! We’ve recently rephotographed the space so that these changes can be reflected on our website. Speaking of photos, there’s another great addition to the space that we could use your help with!

    Since the Roswell Firelabs first opened, there has been a call for a Member Directory - somewhere members can look up other individuals who belong to the space and contact them for training, questions about a project, or just to check in. That directory has already been made available on the Roswell Firelabs website - though members must be logged on to view it - but now we’re looking to take it a step further! The TV in the lobby area of the space has been replaced, and will now display our Member Directory alongside upcoming classes. 

    Contact information won’t be displayed there, but it will scroll through a list of member names, helping us to show off the great community we have here. It will also show the profile pictures of those in the directory. The only problem? Not many members have profile pictures! So, here’s the official call for sharing your wonderful smile with us.

    Why does the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace want to showcase your smile?

    Being a community space is a point of pride at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace and part of being a community is knowing one another. How many times have you passed someone in the space without knowing their name? The Member Directory is there to help put faces with names and encourage closer relationships within our little family, but it can only work if there are faces with those names.

    Here’s how to showcase your smile:

    1. Log in to your member account on RoswellFirelabs.org.

    2. Click the profile icon in the top right corner of the page and select “View Profile”. This will take you to your “My Profile” page.

    3. Click “Edit Profile” and scroll to the bottom of the information panel.

    4. There will be a section called “Upload a photo to our Member Directory” and a button next to it labeled “Choose File”. Simply select this button and choose a photo from your device. 

    5. Once you’ve selected a photo, make sure to push the “Save” button at the bottom of the page. Then your photo will be automatically added to the Member Directory and you’ll be good to go!


  • 17 Jun 2020 10:37 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace established a Geocache in mid-2019 and it has become a popular and much-loved site.

    So, what is a Geocache?

    A Geocache is a hidden container (cache) that is logged by GPS coordinates on http://geocaching.com. Users plug the exact location of caches they want to find into their phone, GPS, or the geocaching app, and follow the pointer to within feet of the cache. Then there may be clues posted on the geocaching website to get them to the cache itself. 

    Inside the cache (often a plastic or metal weatherproof box), there is usually a log that they can sign to indicate that they were there and they can log the find on the geocaching website – sometimes with messages and photos. Some people try to find as many caches as possible, some look for the most interesting or out-of-the-way caches, and some just look for caches that are along a path they were going to travel anyway. The geocaching website holds events, challenges, and contests, too.

    The cache at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace has attracted many visitors over the past year; 70 of which have commented and logged the find on the geocaching site. Of those who have commented, the feedback about the makerspace has been universally positive.

    Here are a few log comments:

    “Great fun. Signed log. Talked to William.”

    “I love the place where it is hidden”

    “Thanks! We had a nice time. We’d love to learn more about Firelabs!”

    “Never knew what y’all did here until this cache. Cool space!”

    “Very good hide. Took nothing and left nothing but signed the logsheet. Thanks for the smiley.”

    “Nice art work and great use of this old station. I am excited you guys are there and doing well. Thanks for the cache.”

    “Giving this clever hide a favorite point. What a cool spot. The hint led us right to it.”

    “Quick find after work. I drive by this station every day and never realized it was no longer a working fire station.”

    “My son always loves the big caches that are hidden in a neat way, so we stopped by to let him give it a look. He was more interested in what the cache was hiding in that he forgot about the container at first. Thanks for the fun find with my son today!”

    The geocaching  community is enjoying this small addition to the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. If you think you might be interested in learning more about geocaching, or even trying it out for yourself, check out the official website!


    Special thanks to Tim Walter for submitting the information and pictures for this blog! If you are interested in sharing something through the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace blog, please feel free to reach out directly to mary@roswellfirelabs.org.



  • 12 Jun 2020 11:32 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)


    With Covid-19, the days are all running together - so here’s your official heads up that Father’s Day is just around the corner on June 21! That’s just a week and a half away! But there’s no need to panic if you haven’t found the perfect gift yet, or if you don’t want to brave the stores to try and find one. The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace has you covered!

    The Roswell Firelabs is offering a deal on all new memberships that offers one month FREE at the end of any membership purchased between now and Father’s Day. Whether you sign up for a short trial run or go for the full year, you’ll get an extra month added for free at the end of your membership cycle. And, yes, that applies to family memberships, too! Why get dad a new tool when you could give him access to a whole variety of tools (including quite a few that he’s not likely to be able to accommodate at home)?

    So, what does a membership entail?

    Building access from 7AM - 11PM, 365 days a year

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace can be accessed during operating hours via a member’s keyfob to ensure safety. The fob simply scans at the entry and the door unlocks. There are also security cameras placed around the outside and inside of the building. Member safety is our top priority.

    Free or discounted access to classes, workshops, and events

    Firelabs members are given discounted prices on all classes, workshops, and events offered on our website. For example, a glass etching class that is normally $25 is only $15 for members! While individual memberships allow for only one discounted entry per class, family memberships allow you to apply the discount on multiple reservations.

    Usage of Roswell Firelabs equipment after completing training

    Training on equipment is offered regularly at the space, and it can also be requested here through our website. By filling out the request form, you can schedule time with any of our qualified trainers. The checklists for various areas, such as the woodshop, can be viewed here. Training must be completed in the presence of a certified trainer before being signed off on.

    Supervised guest access

    Members can bring guests with them to the space, but guests are not to be left unsupervised. The earlier mentioned discounts also do not apply to guests.

    Access to private member WiFi network

    Family memberships are perfect for any household with multiple makers and extend memberships to all individuals covered. This is ideal for households with teenagers who may want to participate without parent supervision. Please note that all individuals under the age of 16 are required to be accompanied by an adult while in the space. All individuals under the age of 18 must have a Release of Liability form filled out by their parent or guardian before using any Firelabs equipment.

    Multi-month membership plans can be renewed at the end of the chosen cycle, or may be converted to a month-by-month plan. Membership effective date is the date you take your orientation at the space.



  • 31 May 2020 12:24 PM | William Strika (Administrator)

    Hello Members,

    As many businesses in the State of Georgia begin to return to semi-normal modes of operation, I'd like to provide an update to you regarding precautions we will be taking at Roswell Firelabs, in furtherance of allowing members to resume using the facility.

    Previously, we determined that strict regulations set by Governor Brian Kemp via Executive Order would be too challenging for us to enforce on a volunteer basis, since we do not have full-time staff available to ensure compliance.  To alleviate the impact of these regulations, for the past several weeks I have been meeting personally with any member who requested use of the space.  The aforementioned executive orders have since been relaxed to a point where we are now able to permit members to come back into the space with more autonomy; however, there are a few new rules we will need to follow until further notice, detailed below:

    1. Anyone entering the Firelabs must wear a face mask, and continue to wear one as they work around / interact with fellow members.
    2. Individuals must maintain a recommended safe distance of 6 feet from their peers.
    3. Individuals who are physically ill/experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter the building.
    4. We will be regularly sanitizing common areas and work surfaces, and will make cleaning supplies available for anyone to use in all areas of the building.
    5. Classes/Events at the Firelabs will be cancelled/postponed until further notice, given that they account for a majority of foot traffic in the building.

    Signage regarding these practices will be posted on all exterior doors to the building.  Please do your best to take these basic precautions given the circumstances, if you do choose to enter the facility.  Member access cards will be re-activated on Monday, June 1st.  Please inform me of any issues that arise either directly or by using this webform.

    All members who have continued to pay dues throughout our temporary closure have received a credit of two full calendar months to their renewal date.  Please let me know if your membership does not reflect this and I will gladly adjust it for you.

    Thanks,

    William

  • 29 Apr 2020 6:30 AM | William Strika (Administrator)

    Hello!  We'd like to give everyone an update as to what Roswell Firelabs has been doing to aid medical practitioners and first responders working amidst the COVID-19 health crisis.

    Since the end of March, Roswell Firelabs has partnered with Atlanta Beats COVID, a collective volunteer group of Metro-Atlanta makerspaces and individuals, to assemble and distribute over 4,500 protective face shields from our facility!  These shields are worn on the individual’s head and protects their face, helping limit exposure and prolonging the usability of their disposable face masks.  We have also started offering DIY Face Shield “kits” outside our building for community members to assemble and return for donation to individuals in need.  All of the protective gear assembled is provided to health care professionals at no cost to them.


    The Firelabs is supporting this initiative with volunteers on a regular basis to the extent that we are allowed to do so, keeping within social distancing guidelines.  While we receive many donated 3D printed headbands, we also have six 3D Printers running non-stop to produce them, resulting in a maximum output of around 70 completed headbands per day; fewer if a printer has mechanical issues.  Our volunteers then attach these headbands to transparent plastic lenses and package the completed face shield for delivery.

    So, how can you help? 

    Many individuals have inquired about how to support our efforts - what we currently need is funding to acquire more advanced tools – many components of this process are created using laser cutters, and being a relatively new organization (we are less than 1 year old), we haven’t yet procured this sort of equipment.

    A modest goal of $2,000 would be enough for us to acquire a capable CNC laser cutter, which we would leverage to cut polycarbonate lenses for face shields, elastic strain relievers for face masks, and much more in significant volumes, more rapidly than 3D printing.  Being able to perform this sort of CNC labor in-house would also allow us to assemble and distribute items with less transportation logistics, speeding up the overall process.


    Raising more than $2,000, we could acquire additional 3D printers, resulting in scaled-up production of the headbands necessary for the face shields; we would also be able to procure all the necessary consumable materials needed to continue operating these printers.

    Any amount you are able to contribute would aid us in continuing to provide these needed items and protective equipment – Roswell Firelabs is a Georgia Non-Profit and a 501(c)3 designated charity (EIN 82-4161665), and your donations are tax-deductible.  You can submit a donation online through our website at https://www.roswellfirelabs.org/donate , or mail a check to our business address (below).


    Now is a critical time for us to ensure that individuals with the need to protect themselves from exposure are able to do so. With more businesses in Georgia resuming normal operations and increased human interaction, there are still significant supply chain shortages and price hikes on disposable and reusable protective gear.  We have been tirelessly committing every minute of idle time in our facility to directly supporting the people on the front lines of this health crisis, and I thank you in advance for any direct funding you can provide to aid us in this mission.  Please do not hesitate to contact me directly regarding our efforts.


    Sincerely,

    William Strika

    Executive Director, Roswell Firelabs

    william@roswellfirelabs.org

    1601 Holcomb Bridge Road

    Roswell, GA 30076


  • 24 Apr 2020 10:30 AM | William Strika (Administrator)

    Hello Everyone!

    Since we temporarily closed Roswell Firelabs at the end of March to slow the spread of Coronavirus in our community, we have also been busy leveraging every resource available to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment for medical practitioners and first responders.  The primary piece of PPE we have been focusing on assembling and distributing is the Protective Face Shield, which consists of a 3D-printed headband and a lens/visor made out of clear plastic or polycarbonate (pictured below).

    Through partnering with other makerspaces in the Metro-Atlanta Area, we have established an efficient pipeline to manufacture components from raw materials and assemble these designs at a rate of roughly 300 units per hour, and we are proud to announce that Roswell Firelabs has directly facilitated the assembly of over 3000 face shields of the variety pictured above.  This is a shared milestone consisting of the combined efforts of Roswell Firelabs, The Maker Station, Geekspace Gwinnett, Decatur Makers, Project FDL, Atlanta Beats COVID, and Atlanta Face Shields.

    As we look forward to eventually resuming somewhat normal operations in our space, we will also continue to participate in these efforts for as long as there is a need, to ensure healthcare practitioners and first responders in Georgia are adequately equipped with necessary protective equipment.  If you or someone you know is in need of protective equipment, please request it here:  https://www.atlantabeatscovid.com/contact

    Thank you for your continued support.

    William Strika
    Executive Director
    william@roswellfirelabs.org


  • 3 Apr 2020 5:30 PM | William Strika (Administrator)


    There is a lot happening right now in our world. With the COVID-19 outbreak and many people stuck at home and out of work, so much of the future is uncertain. Self-isolation has not left us on our own, though. One can only feel hope and a great sense of pride when reading the reports of those coming together at every level to help during this time. There are those volunteering to go to the grocery store for elderly or high risk neighbors, teachers offering free online courses, and thousands of individuals offering their aid in whatever way they can.

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace is doing our part, too.  Working alongside Atlanta Beats COVID and Atlanta Face Shields (a collaborative effort of makerspaces, community organizers, and individual contributors in the Metro-Atlanta Area), the Roswell Firelabs is volunteering as part of the supply chain of 3D printed Personal Protective Equipment, ensuring that all pieces donated through Atlanta Beats COVID are properly sanitized prior to being packaged for use by healthcare practitioners.  Roswell Firelabs is also fabricating 3D printed headgear based on designs approved by the National Institute of Health, to contribute to the cause (every piece helps address the overall shortage) as well as partnering with the Georgia Tech Research Institute to assemble, sanitize and distribute basic foam-and-elastic face shields which do not require any advanced tools and can be assembled with general office supplies.

    Interested in helping?  Here are some of the ways you can help us make a difference:

    • Donate time: If you are at home and have tools or skills you want to put to use to help – a 3D printer, a sewing machine, etc., visit here and download design/pattern files to get started.  Then, register as a volunteer here. Roswell Firelabs will have designated dropboxes outside our building’s front door for all community-manufactured items.  These items will be thoroughly sanitized prior to being distributed via the Atlanta Beats COVID volunteer network.
    • Donate materials: Any materials used in fabricating these items is helpful.  3D printer filament, sheet transparencies, elastic bands, fabric, etc.  We will have a donation bin for these as well.  If you have larger items (sewing machines, etc), feel free to email info@roswellfirelabs.org and we can make arrangements. 
    • Donate funds: Money is tight for a lot of people right now, but any amount is in support of a good cause. Donate to Atlanta Beats COVID or make a general donation in support of the Roswell Firelabs.

    In this time of need, remember that you are not alone. We are a community - a community of makers. This is what we do and we will get through this. It will be okay.

    If you or someone you know is a healthcare professional and would like to obtain PPE, please submit a request here.


  • 13 Mar 2020 8:40 PM | Anika Chawla (Administrator)

    Saturday 03/14/2020

    Glass Fusing 101

    If you are searching for a new craft or a new art form, you've come to the right place! Do you enjoy the beauty of colored glass art, but you may not like the process of stained glass or glass blowing? The glass fusing is the way to go! Your journey into glass fusing will prove as dynamic as you want it to be. You will start with Glass Fusing 101. We will create small pieces using a microwave kiln. Yes, you heard that right! Within minutes you can have a beautiful art glass piece that can be fashioned into jewelry, attached to magnets, or displayed as art they are. Note: You do not have to cut or grind glass. Supplies are provided for and limited to making 1 glass art piece. Closed toed shoes and long pants are required!

    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Member Price: $20

    Non-Member Price: $40


    Sunday 03/15/2020

    Honor Among Thieves: A D&D 5E One-Shot

    Thieves, assassins, brigands... There are many names for the members of of Shadow's Guild in Lustercrest, the capital of the Silver Dawn empire. While polite folk may shun you for your chosen professions, the skills you possess are undeniable. After all, admission to the Guild is only given to those who are deemed worthy and their services do not come cheap. Members are bound by the Guild's Code but that Code doesn't often align with the law. When the Captain of the Guard comes calling... Well, this one-shot just got interesting. Pre-Created characters will be provided for player use. Characters created by the participants may be used on the condition of communication with and approval by the DM prior to the one-shot. Contact information for the DM can be provided upon request after class registration.

    12:00 PM - 6:00 PM

    Member Price: $10

    Non-Member Price: $20

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Roswell FireLabs
1601 Holcomb Bridge Rd

Roswell, GA 30076

Roswell FireLabs is managed by Atlanta Maker Alliance, Inc., a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

By participating in any activities at the Roswell Firelabs, you acknowledge the following terms:

  1. I am aware and understand that some activities conducted at Roswell Firelabs are inherently dangerous and involve risk of injury, death, or property damage. 
  2. I acknowledge that I am voluntarily participating in the activities and/or facilities operated by the organization, and agree to accept all risks. 
  3. I acknowledge all training, safety, and general policies and procedures ratified by the organization, and pledge to abide by them.
  4. I acknowledge and agree to hold harmless Roswell Firelabs / Atlanta Maker Alliance, its members, officers, directors, successors, and delegates from all claims on account of personal injury, death, or property damage attributed to my participation in activities and/or facilities operated by Roswell Firelabs / Atlanta Maker Alliance.
  5. I agree to not bring any claims against the organization, and hereby release and discharge the organization from liability under any such claims.
  6. Additionally, I agree to hold the organization harmless against any and all losses, damages, liabilities, deficiencies, claims, actions, judgments, settlements, interest, awards, penalties, fines, costs, or expenses of whatever kind arising from any claim of a third party related to activities and/or facilities operated by Roswell Firelabs / Atlanta Maker Alliance.
  7. I acknowledge that Roswell Firelabs utilizes video recording devices for the security of the property and the welfare of the organization.


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