• 4 Mar 2020 10:36 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    Even if you don’t know him, many of you have probably seen member Jeremiah Smith around the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. He can often be found in the evenings or on the weekends working in the woodshop on his own projects or helping other members out with theirs. Just last December, he started a Build Your Own Picture Frame class. If you have seen him working, you’ve probably also seen the beautiful, wooden toolbox that he uses, too. What you might not know is that he built that toolbox himself, right here in the Firelabs. 

    Jeremiah uses his toolbox to transport his personal tools to and from the makerspace. While he used to use the standard cloth or canvas tool totes for his tools, he found that they weren’t really secure and often bumped up against each other - sometimes even causing damage. Since he’d always wanted a wooden toolbox, Jeremiah decided that the time had come for him to make one. This way, he could design every inch of it to perfectly suit his taste and his tools.

    Over the next few months, working in his spare time, Jeremiah began to build his toolbox. To make sure it wouldn’t be too heavy to carry, he made the frame from poplar, with a spalted maple front. The shelving inside is made from walnut and more maple, and the drawer face is from curly maple. It’s topped off with a gorgeous Sapele handle. While Jeremiah says the toolbox has currently taken him about 20-30 hours of work to make, he also says it’s still an ongoing project. Every time he gets a new tool, he has to add a place to put it! And, of course, if he ever runs out of room, he’ll happily make another one. 

    Some of the tools around the Roswell Firelabs were essential in the making of his toolbox. He says the tools used included: table saw, miter saw, band saw, jointer, planer, drill press, metal lathe for brass rod used, router table, and various hand tools. The miter saw was his main tool, which he used for the corners of the box frame with a rabbet (a recess or groove) in the rear for the back panel.

    The drawer top and side are dovetailed together. This means that each end of the wood pieces was cut with triangular teeth that fit together like a zipper for extra strength in the structure. The handle is split with magnets on either side to keep the hinged door closed during transport without the need for a clip or clasp. Magnets are also used to keep most of the tools inside in place.

    The toolbox’s finish has been left natural, which is just beautiful. Jeremiah says he loves the look and feel of natural wood, but he might treat it with some oil or wax once he’s done adding a few more features. 

    While this is a project that size-wise, could be completed in a garage, the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace offers a bit more elbow room and definitely more tools at your disposal! Not all of us have things like a table saw, planer, or drill press just laying around. Luckily, we don’t need to - the Firelabs has them for us!


    If you’re a member of the Roswell Firelabs and have a project you’d like to share, please feel free to reach out on Slack or shoot me an email at mary@roswellfirelabs.org.

  • 2 Mar 2020 10:20 PM | Anika Chawla (Administrator)

    Monday 03/02/20

    Book Club

    This is an adult (18+) social reading group open to both members and non-members of our space. For our March 2nd meeting, we will be discussing "The Name of the Wind", written by Patrick Rothfuss. You have a month to read the book! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Name_of_the_Wind

    To join in on the discussion between meetings, send an email to info@roswellfirelabs.org, and we will invite you to our discussion forum.

    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

    Member Price: Free

    Non-Member Price: Free


    Friday 03/06/20

    Dungeon Design for the Discerning DM

    This class covers the mechanics and psychology of designing a dungeon for tabletop role playing games. There will be talk of monsters, puzzles, and layouts - Oh, my! Participants will be given all the tools they need to craft and create fun and engaging obstacles for their party to overcome. We'll talk about the how to craft the dungeon for the DM's purposes, how to scale encounters to the party's capabilities, and, of course, the treasure at the end.

    6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

    Member Price: $10

    Non-Member Price: $15

  • 26 Feb 2020 10:07 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace needs your help! In May, the Firelabs will have been open for its first full year. In that time, membership has grown and the space has flourished. There are so many exciting classes and projects - and still more to come! We’ve been able to connect with the community through our everyday activities as well as through special events like our Holiday Makers Marketplace back in December and a variety of smaller events for Girl and Boy Scout troops, schools, and other programs. The passion of our members has been amazing to see. 

    But, with growth comes growing pains. 

    The Firelabs was started by a small group of individuals who saw the need for a space like this in the community and worked hard to make it a reality. The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace doesn’t have any employees and is entirely volunteer-run. Each of these volunteers gives their time and energy to the space on top of jobs, families, school, and other responsibilities. And we need your help!

    We always say that the Firelabs is a community-driven space, and that’s true. However, it can only stay that way if the community is involved. That, paired with the various duties around the space, makes it incredibly important for more people to get involved. (Plus, it’s a great way to meet more people around the space and have your voice heard.) 


    Interested? We thought you might be! Here are some of the openings that currently need to be filled:

    Social Media

    We’re looking for someone (or someones!) who is available to help us create posts for the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace’s social media accounts. These include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Not knowing how to use these platforms shouldn’t be a deterrent, either! One of the things that make the Firelabs so special is the enthusiasm of our members. Everything else we are happy to teach you. After all, sharing knowledge is a huge part of our philosophy! 

    Events

    This actually covers several roles. The Roswell Firelabs is forming a subcommittee of individuals to manage events that the makerspace hosts. This includes our classes, special events and marketplaces, school events, and other things. The Events Subcommittee will work with the Communications Committee and the Community Outreach Subcommittee to schedule, prep, and execute the events around the space.

    Community Outreach

    This second subcommittee is exactly what it sounds like! We’re looking for a few individuals who are passionate about reaching out to both our members and the surrounding community. This includes planning convention/festival appearances, working with the Events Subcommittee to host special events for community organizations, and figuring out the best ways for the Roswell Firelabs to serve those around us.


    Other roles need to be filled around the space, too, so don’t be discouraged if none of these are quite what you’re interested in - though we will be very, very happy if they are! There will be an email going out with more information on where the needs are and providing members with information about how to get involved. Several meetings for the various volunteer topics are being scheduled so that those interested may attend to learn more.

    Remember, we can’t do this without you!



  • 24 Feb 2020 12:00 PM | Anika Chawla (Administrator)

    Tuesday 2/25/20

    Stained Glass for Beginners - Session 2 of 2

    Come learn the traditional copper-foil technique. We teach you how to cut, grind, and piece together beautiful stained glass. We will be providing beginner patterns for sun catchers or picture frame. Supplies are included with the class. 

    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Member Price: $30

    Non-Member Price: $60 

  • 17 Feb 2020 6:36 PM | Anika Chawla (Administrator)

    Tuesday 02/18/20

    Stained Glass for Beginners - Session 1 of 2

    Come learn the traditional copper-foil technique. We teach you how to cut, grind, and piece together beautiful stained glass. We will be providing beginner patterns for sun catchers or picture frame. Supplies are included with the class. 

    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

    Member Price: $30

    Non-Member Price: $60


    Friday 02/21/20

    Glass Etching Using Media Blasting

    Learn how to use software to create a personalized design to cut a vinyl mask, then take your design to the blasting cabinet and etch the design into the surface of glass. This method can be used to etch almost anything made of glass: mugs, cups, pie pans, window panes, ornaments, and many other items. This class will give individuals an opportunity to walk through the process, and gain skills necessary to etch glass using tools and resources available at Roswell Firelabs. Participants should plan to etch drinking glasses (2) provided as part of the class, or bring their own glass items to etch.

    7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

    Member Price: $10

    Non-Member Price: $25

  • 12 Feb 2020 10:16 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    There are some exciting updates about the recents blog posts from the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace. As our members well know, things are always changing and being improved around the space. One of the great things about being a makerspace is having such an amazing community of specialists who are all willing to come together to make something truly incredible. 


    In the Main Bay

    The much anticipated storage shelves in the main bay have arrived! Situated in the front right corner by the bay doors, these shelves are meant for project storage or personal equipment. There’s no locking mechanism or privacy, like the rentable lockers have, but it’s a great place to keep larger or more durable projects that members are working on. This should keep them from being shuffled around as other members need various tables and equipment that these projects may be blocking. When projects get shuffled, there’s a chance of them being damaged and nobody wants that! Keeping personal equipment in this dedicated place also helps ensure that it isn’t used by other members of the space who mistake it for Firelabs equipment.

    When using the shelves, members are asked to be respectful that it is still a public space. Please don’t take up more room than is necessary and complete the projects within a reasonable amount of time. While the Firelabs understands that some projects can take time to complete, these shelves aren’t meant to be long-term storage. Projects left on them should not just be set down and forgotten. Additionally, please be careful of other member projects that may also be on the shelves while removing or placing your project there. All projects and equipment should be labeled to keep track of who they belong to.

    If a piece of equipment on these shelves does not belong to you, please contact the owner before using it. Lending private equipment to other members of the space is up to individual discretion and members are not obligated to allow other members to use their personal equipment. 


    Sewing

    The Roswell Firelabs recently started up a series of sewing classes and they are going wonderfully! Despite the snow last Saturday, members still turned up to take Sewing 101, which included a step-by-step walk through of the sewing machines at the space and instruction on the basics of safety and technique. This class also included the completion of the sewing checklist and making a small pouch that participants were able to take home. One participant decided to use it as a new case for their reading glasses.

    If you missed out on Saturday’s class, you still have another chance to catch it! The Firelabs has several other sewing classes already on the books. The next Sewing 101 class is scheduled for March 7 at 10:00 AM and is just $5 for members or $15 for non-members. Sewing 102, the more advanced class, is scheduled for April 4, also at 10:00 AM. This class is $5 for members and $20 for non-members and covers how to achieve the perfect dart, modifying existing sewing patterns, and discusses various machine attachments.

    For both Sewing 101 and Sewing 102, you are more than welcome to bring your own sewing machine from home to learn on. Machines will be provided with the class, however, and members who complete their sewing checklist have access to using the machines at the Firelabs for any personal projects they may have. 



  • 5 Feb 2020 10:10 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace is a center of creativity and production. Members make everything from quick little etching projects that only take a couple of hours to huge woodworking projects that take up both a lot of time and a lot of space. So, the question becomes, what do you do with an in-progress project? 


    Small Projects

    For smaller projects, there are several options. If it’s not too inconvenient, members can always take their projects home between work stages. This isn’t always feasible, since sometimes paint, stain, or sealant needs time to dry, but it’s a good option for keeping up with your piece without running the risk of it being misplaced or broken. As conscientious as the Roswell Firelabs members usually are, sometimes accidents happen and things get moved around or bumped. It’s important to keep in mind that there are others working on their own projects at the space, as well as official Firelabs classes.

    Another option, which offers a little more projection, is to rent one of the Roswell Firelabs’ lockers. These lockers are located behind the woodworking area and are available to members only for rental. They can be used for small projects or personal tool storage. Each locker comes with its own RFID lock to keep your possessions safe and costs just $10 a month. If you’re interested in renting one, you can do so through the Firelabs online store.

    Large Projects

    Large Projects can present their own difficulties. They’re too big and often too heavy to routinely move back and forth between home and the space, and they’re certainly too big to fit in a locker. They can be difficult to find a place for, but they’re also one of the reasons that the Roswell Firelabs exists. We help provide the workspace that you don’t have at home. For these projects, we simply suggest doing your best to find a spot out of the way between project stages.

    Most projects on a larger scale take multiple stages and plenty of time to complete. Whether it’s building a dining room table, crafting armor, or building a cat tree out of some of the space’s spare lumber, these things take time. A good strategy is to try and find an out of the way spot to keep the project between stages, though this can be difficult, and continue working on the project in a timely manner. If a project is left out for too long and is getting in the way of other members, you may be asked to remove it. 


    The bottom line is, when working on projects at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace, please be courteous to your fellow members and considerate about how much space your projects are taking up. We love seeing what everyone comes up with and that means making sure there’s room for everyone to do their own thing. Happy making!



  • 3 Feb 2020 11:33 AM | Anika Chawla (Administrator)

    Monday 02/03/20

    Book Club

    We are starting a book club! In our first meeting, we will determine what books we'd like to read. This event has no cost, but feel free to bring food or drinks for the group if you want.

    Member Price: Free

    Non-Member Price: Free

  • 29 Jan 2020 10:12 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)


    Wonder what kinds of projects are possible at the Roswell Firelabs Makerspace? The possibilities are endless! To illustrate that point, and to help get those creative juices flowing, the Firelabs blog will be taking an occasional glimpse at what projects the space’s members are working on. This post’s focus: member Mary Hannaford and her superhero etched tumblers. 

    When Mary first joined the Roswell Firelabs, she had no experience with etching glass by any method. On a whim, and because she had seen some of the projects other members were doing, she signed up for and joined one of the Firelabs’s Glass Etching classes that are run on a regular basis. In the class, participants learn the software that accompanies the space’s Cameo vinyl cutters, create their own designs, and then etch them onto two pieces of provided glassware - usually mugs or drinking glasses. 

    After the class, Mary became interested in learning more and got together with the area’s SIG (special interest group) leader and other members who were familiar with the equipment to work on a series of projects. William Strika, another prominent member who can often be found organizing and optimizing spaces within the Roswell Firelabs, helped train her on the blasting cabinet equipment which is essential to the glass etching process. With the help of her fellow members, Mary has now created a set of custom etched glass tumblers.

    Here’s How She Did It

    The Cameo vinyl cutter syncs with a software program called Silhouette Studio. Designs can be pulled from photographs, images downloaded from the internet, or clipart and uploaded into the program. By using the trace feature, users are able to render a silhouette image (hence the name) that the vinyl cutter is able to carve into whatever vinyl is fed into the machine. Tools are then used to ‘weed’ the vinyl, or pull out whichever pieces you want to be etched into the glass.

    Using transfer tape, the vinyl is stuck to the glass and all exposed portions are covered with blue painter’s tape to protect it during the etching process. The only glass that should be left exposed is what you want to end up being that lovely frosted color. At this point, the glass is ready to be taken to the blasting cabinet. 

    The Roswell Firelabs Makerspace has two blasting cabinets - those big red boxes in the bay area. There is a door on one side of each cabinet that can be opened to place the glass inside and then clipped shut. It’s very important that the door be shut while the cabinet is in use! Members should also always where a safety mask and glasses while using the machine, as there are quite a few inhalable particles being thrown about. Then you just stick your hands into the glove arms and pick the glass up in one hand and the compressed air gun in the other.

    The gun shoots out aluminum oxide, projected by the compressed air. It’s basically aluminum sand or dust, very fine bits that scratch the exposed surface of the glass to create the etched effect. The gun nozzle should be held about six inches away from the surface of the glass and moved in a back-and-forth motion to make sure every part of the design gets covered. Most designs only take about thirty seconds in the blasting cabinet to complete. Just thirty seconds! 

    Once the etching is done, all that’s left is to remove the tape and wash the glass. That’s all it takes to get a beautiful, custom piece of glassware! Mary’s original set of twelve tumblers were bought at a garage sale for ten cents a piece, which custom etched glassware can easily run from $15 - $20 a glass. Now that’s a bargain!

    So, are you feeling the ‘etch’ to make something of your own?



  • 22 Jan 2020 10:37 AM | Mary Hannaford (Administrator)


    Since the Roswell Firelabs’s conception, sewing has been a driving interest group. From cosplay to home improvement, there are members and non-members alike who have reached out to express their desire to learn more about sewing and improve their skills. The Firelabs has received many donations of fabric and other materials to be used to this end. The only snag? There weren’t enough sewing machines of a similar type to easily run classes. Thankfully, that’s now been resolved.

    Thanks to the generous donation of several machines by Bill and Cat Harrison, the Firelabs is ready to push the peddle to the floor and get those needles going! The recent machine donations were given in memory of avid sewer Naomi Grunwalk-Everhart, who had purchased the machine but unfortunately died of complications from cancer surgery before she was able to pick them up. In honor of her passion for the craft, the Firelabs will put these machines to good use by sharing that love with others. In the next couple of weeks, there are two new sewing classes on the calendar: Patterning Basics and Sewing 101.

    In Patterning Basics, scheduled for Saturday January 25 at 10:00 AM, participants will learn everything they need to know for working off of a pattern. Anyone who has seen a sewing pattern understands how complicated they can be. This two-hour class covers how to read the pattern, provides an explanation of darts and dots, and how to adjust for individual sizes. Both patterns and fabrics will be provided, but class participants are also welcome to bring their own materials for a personal project. While no actual sewing will take place during this class, it’s the perfect way to get started and a great information source for anyone wanting to sew from patterns.

    Sewing 101 is scheduled for Saturday February 8 at 10:00 AM and will also be a two-hour class. The class will go over machine sewing in detail, including bobbin winding, tour hands and threading the machine. Just like with Patterning Basics, all materials will be provided for this class. It’s the perfect opportunity for a first timer to wrap their head around the process or regular sewers to refresh their skills. For Firelabs Members, this class will also count as their SIG Checklist for sewing. Members who have completed their checklist are able to use the machines at the space on their own time.

    The Roswell Firelabs is greatly pleased to host these classes and feed the desires of the community. A heartfelt thanks is offered once again for the donations that made this possible. So, to all those with an interesting is taking up sewing or learning a bit more, the Firelabs looks forward to seeing you in these wonderful classes that are sure to leave you in stitches. Hurry, spots are running out!


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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