May 2020 Newsletter

Clay McGovernNews

Message from the president…

George Carlson

April was a tough month. Not being able to open The MakerBarn has been a disappointment. Of course, this is nothing compared to what many of our families are experiencing. Not knowing where the next paycheck is coming from is far more serious. Currently, as of Saturday April 25th, the number of active Covid-19 cases is increasing daily in Montgomery County. This means more people are being diagnosed than recovering. So, we are still on the upward side of the curve.

On Thursday, April 30th, the Executive Committee met on Zoom to analyze the situation and plan for the reopening of The MakerBarn. We want to make sure the environment is safe, and that our Barn Managers do not feel compelled to show up for duty. Hopefully, we can post an update later in the newsletter.

On the brighter side, some of our members have been helping at home with the production of masks and face shields. More about that later. The closing has also given many of us the opportunity to spend some time catching up and learning new skills on the Internet. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at the MakerBarn as soon as we can get things going again.

George Carlson, acting President

* Please see additional note latest news on this subject below*

Helping the Medical Community

3D Printers in action

Among several MakerBarn members doing what they can to help provide PPE (personal protection equipment), two of our own have led the charge in mask making. Matt Folsom has had our 3D printers running 24/7 for days on end in an effort to supply tight-fitting filtered masks to the medical community our irreplaceable, front-line Super Stars! Member Jody Cochran has helped to make hundreds of masks and delivered them to those in need throughout this ordeal, as well.

It’s great to see fellow makers making an impact. Great job guys and to all of you makers out there contributing your resources in this fight to save lives.

See more information on MakerBarn activity in this area below.

Amazon Smile!

The MakerBarn is now a registered 501c3 organization and officially on the
Amazon Smile donation list!

You can donate to the MakerBarn by making an Amazon purchase through and look for “The MakerBarn”.

Any purchases made through this site result in Amazon giving back a small percentage of your purchase to The MakerBarn and THAT makes us Smile!

Thanks for your support!

Virtual Classes

We’ve all had to adjust the way we function as we shelter in place and keep social interactions to a minimum. Thanks to technology we can still work, catch up with loved ones, and learn new things!

The MakerBarn recently offered virtual classes on Adobe’s Lightroom software. It’s a great tool for organizing and editing photos. Member, Mark Barbieri, hosted two successful tutorials, one for the “Library” module, and one for the “Develop” module.

If you missed the live tutorial, you can see both videos on The MakerBarn YouTube channel.

More on MakerBarn response to Pandemic – from Matt Folsom

Makers all around the world have stepped up to help out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Italy, 3-D printers were geared up to make ventilator parts when supplies dried up. Some makers went so far as to build simple ventilators, there are a surprising number of viable designs online. Thankfully here in Texas, we were able to flatten out the curve and not reach the critical point where doctors are faced with deciding who gets the last ventilator.

Locally there have been several coordinated efforts to provide PPE to people on the front line of the battle against the Corona virus. 3D printers and sewing machines have been called to action, printing face shield frames and respirator masks, and sewing machines are cranking out cloth masks as fast as the stores can restock fabric. If you see someone wearing a mask made from fabric reminiscent of grandma’s curtains, don’t judge. Elastic has become a commodity, I recently bought 200 yards and was offered ten times what I paid for it by another maker.

My wife Catherine’s craft business exploded with orders for masks, current estimate is around 600 masks ordered, and about 200 made so far. Every waking hour is at least partially spent in support of this flood of orders, and like any manufacturing process we had to take steps to keep up. I made wood templates to use with the rotary cutter and mat, since the paper ones didn’t last long. Assembly was divided into stages so that like tasks are grouped for efficiency. We have borrowed additional sewing machines and have an army of friends scouring stores for fabric.

I don’t know exactly when it turned from a hobby to a business, but it has become challenging to keep up. Sourcing materials, manufacturing, packaging, sales, marketing, delivery and accounting are all being handled by one person. I sometimes question it is all worth it for her. I am happy to help, I love to make stuff, but is it too much? Between all the stresses of running a small business, when she comes up with another “super cute” design, the smiles generated say it all. You can enjoy what you make, and make a little money too. Finding the balance can be tricky, but in the end well worth it.

Late news: MakerBarn to open for limited access starting weekend of May 9-10

Good news is, we are planning to open the barn. Bad news is that it will not be right away. Part of the problem is defining where we fall in the current Texas Covid-19 order and guidelines. The other complication is staffing the barn with Barn Managers.

Here is the plan for the near future: We plan to open the barn for limited access starting with the weekend of May 9th and 10th. Kathy is going to put together a system where work areas can be reserved on-line. Only one person may be in a work area at any time. Reserved slots will be one hour each. This will allow as many members as possible to use the barn. We will be announcing more information on how to sign up for a slot mid next week.
George Carlson, acting President