From the January 2023
Welcome to 2023!
Wow, December was a busy month! In November we cleaned out suites 201 and 202 in
preparation for our move. Then, in December just before the move, we rented a truck and
moved in a big load of furniture and equipment that was donated to us by Tenaris. The
furniture is in like-new condition and really brightens up the lab. Then the move from suite
101 in the old building to suites 201 and 202 in the new building. We had a tremendous
showing of members volunteering to help.
If you remember from the last newsletter,
we were looking for some equipment to
start a ceramics program at the lab. Well, we
found it, or it found us. There was a man
who needed to clear out his father’s house in
Sour Lake, Texas. He had placed an ad on
Craigslist offering the collection of molds
and equipment for sale. There were quite a
few molds, that was obvious in the ad photo.
I contacted him and told him about The
MakerBarn. I mentioned that if he wanted
to donate some on all of the stuff we would
gladly accept it. He thought the was a great idea and said we can have it all. We knew there
would be quite a lot of molds, so Kathy rented a 26’ truck and about ten volunteers went to
Sour Lake to pick up the material. It was a good thing we got the big truck. It took the ten
of us four hours to load the truck. We didn’t count the number of molds, but my guess would
be about 600, a few more than we need. So, now we will be going through the collection
selecting molds we would like to keep and molds that we can give to other maker spaces. We
did get three kilns; one has a very nice digital controller.
Tenaris made some wonderful donations to us. Part of the donations were some
measurement devices used in the metalworking industry. One of the instruments is a Profile
Projector. It operates like a large screen microscope. The object to be inspected is placed in
front of a light source and its shadow is projected on a screen. Using the attached computer,
complex measurements can be made with a resolution of 1/10,000 of an inch.
We also received two Automatic Rockwell
Hardness Testers. These devices measure the
hardness and strength of metals. Hardness
testers can be used to determine the type of
metal that is being worked with or for
determining the hardness after heat treating.
This will be a great help to those who want to
do toolmaking or knife making.
We will have a class on heat treating tool steels
in the near future.
And now for a rather sensitive topic: The MakerBarn was setup as a learning, exploring,
and fun place to work on projects. Part of this is entrepreneurship which involves inventing,
producing, and learning about starting a business. We have never made policy regarding
using The MakerBarn as a production facility for an operating business, but lately I’ve been
getting some questions about this. I think that using The MakerBarn for making various
things to sell at craft fairs and such is a fine thing. This is because what is being sold is not
so much the physical item, but the work and thought that went into making it. Having
a customer pay you for something that you invented and made with your own hands is a
very satisfying experience. But, if The MakerBarn is being used as a cheap place to cover
manufacturing costs, that’s crossing a line.
Many makerspaces have onerous rules and fees for those who use the makerspace for business
activity. I don’t want to see this at The MakerBarn, it takes away from the freedom we have
to make whatever we want. I just hope that members consider what they are doing. They
should consider the expense of purchasing, maintaining, and housing
that equipment as well as the volunteer members who keep it all going.
The $40 we pay each month does not go very far toward the purchase
of a $4,000 planer or a $5,000 laser engraver. But when we all work
together, it is not a problem at all.
Happy New Year!