Author: Crafty Rachel

I like to make wearables and laser random things. I have been a member since March 2012 and really have a good time at Ace Makerspace My background is in front-end developments and design. I currently work as an independent consultant doing all manner of things.

Five things to know about joining Ace Makerspace in the Spring 2021

The pandemic has added layers of complexity to everyday things and Ace Makespace is not immune to this. Here are the top 5 things to know about joining Ace in the spring/summer of 2021. For the complete up-to-date sign up steps go to the membership page.

Slack is really important

At Ace Makerspace we use Slack to connect with other members, call dib on tools, and contribute to reporting systems on equipment and so on. While there is no formal requirement to have a Slack account and join the Ace Makerspace Slack workspace, not having an account will limit your ability to engage and access the resources at Ace.

Most of our users have smartphones that they use Slack on when in the space, though slack is available on your computer as well via a browser. 

We recommend this tutorial for folks new to Slack and you can Join the Ace Slack here.

Please keep in mind, that with many things Ace as also added customizations to our Slack workspace in order to get more functionality for our community. These integrations include:

We use email a lot

When you complete any step in the sign-up process an automatic email is triggered with the instructions for the next step. 

You can view all the instructions in one go but often folks forget the next step because the sign-up process is complicated with COVID and all.

We have a New Member Orientation workshop that can really help. RSVP via the link on the calendar.

Class sizes are limited with COVID

We have strict occupancy limits in each room and that has impacted how many people we can certify or have classes with each month.

For example, if the occupancy limit in the shop is 3 people, there can only be 2 students per class. And if there are 2 classes per month that means that we can only certify 4 people per month unless we get more teacher to teach classes.

This is changing quickly as the vaccine rolls out and we expect both occupancy limits and instructor tolerances will follow. Will will update things as they occur so look for more information and change mid-April.

Book Tours 1:1

You can book tours right from the home page! We have staff and volunteers available for tours. And when it is safe we will go back to having small group tours on weeknights.

New Taster Classes! Create in a mentored environment

We are adding a new series of classes called “Tasters”. You come in and make a project with one of our expert makers. You get a complete overview of the process and hands-on experience while making something cool!

Introduction Ace Booking v1

Ace Booking is the custom open-source software we developed to support us operating in a COVID safe way. This software supports:

  • Occupancy limits in each room
  • Members booking the time they need
  • Occupancy Tracking in case of exposures
  • Remote staffing

We couldn’t ethically consider re-opening without it.

What’s New

There are many upgrades and changes to how the software looks and works.

  • You can now book in 15 min. increments! You no longer have to book by the hour
  • The user interface is very different, now choose your start and end time and the system can tell you about availability
  • The user interface now has a calendar view. If your desired booking isn’t available you can check and see the next closest availability.
  • The late check-in window changed to accommodate the new 15 min. windows.
    • You can check-in 5 min. before your booking (if space is available)
    • You are considered late at the 5 min. after your booking mark and will start to get notifications.
    • You are considered as ghosting at the 15 min. mark after your booking, if you haven’t checked in, and your reservation will be canceled and the space made available for others. (you can always do a new reservation.
    • You will get a notification via email and slack reminding you to check out starting 5 min. before your expected check out times.
  • New remote staffing controls include
    • The ability to book spaces for maintenance without having to make personal bookings.
    • The ability to cancel user reservations for maintenance blocks
    • The ability to remote checkout people who didn’t check out
    • The ability to make bookings for members on maintenance crews
    • Reports on use trends

What to do if things break for users

While the team did our best to anticipate how folks could use or break this software there may still be a glitch or two. And we know our members are some darn creative users. If our members have trouble or the system doesn’t’ behave as anticipated they report the issue on slack and include photos if at all possible. Report on #general or #amt-software

laser etched rubber stamps

Adventure in Rubber Stamp Making

So Ace is working on a holiday card and we need rubber stamps for some of the art. This is the tale of making rubbers stamps including all the mistakes on our 100w CO2 Laser.

Materials used

  • Scrap wood
  • Gorilla Spray Glue
  • Craft Foam
  • Art Ink pads
  • Laser Engravable Rubber Polymer, low odor, from rubber-stamp.com

The artwork

The artwork… that is the first place things went wonky but I didn’t realize it until I cut. I had forgotten that engraving needed an outer boundary in order to drop out the right stuff. Check out these screenshots. Everything black in these images will be burned away.

The thing to remember with vector laser files, LaserSoft, and rubber stamps is:

  • Mirror the art
  • Set an outer boundary for the etching
  • The outer boundary is the same as the cut line so you will need one object to be the boundary and one object on another layer to be the cut line.
laser art
In this file, I forgot to put an outer boundary for the vector etching and that means all the white bits between the pink cut line and the inner art is what will print when I stamp it. Not ideal.
Laser art
In this one most of the art is correct and all the inner graphics that are white will print. The only thing that is wonk is the white gap between the pink cut line and the etching. That is easily solved though post-laser with a pair of scissors.
bad rubber stamp
Opps… etched away the thing I wanted to stamp.
laser etched rubber stamps
The actual art I wanted to stamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the results from the two files. As you can see the art in the first file didn’t match the intention.

Testing and getting the right settings down

The laser polymer comes with some settings but they are for much lower wattage lasers than ours.

settings from laser package

It took a bunch of test etching to get to settings that worked. I used a focus range for etching. These are the settings we finally settled on:

  • Cutting: 15/90/87
  • Etching: 150/80/78 (make sure to turn on grade engrave)

Putting it together and what I learned about glue

So I cut the outlines out of some scrap wood and used e6000 glue to attach the rubber bit. The results were… bad.

rubber-bad-glue
Hard curled up crumbling stamps.

The final product did work out well with a layer of craft foam and using gorilla spray glue.

The post-laser etching finishing and clean up

Laser etching rubber polymer is dirty. Really dirty. When the stamps come off the laser they should be soaked in the water right away for about 10 – 15 min. then scrubbed with a soft brush.

This is what a brand new filter looked like after 8.1min. of cutting and etching laser.

Dirt filter after cutting laser polymer next to new filter material.
ace makerspace banner

Anti-Racist Education for Makers

Ace is thrilled to introduce 4 workshops in October that explore how to be anti-racist in our maker communities. Working with an amazing peace activist and facilitator, Emily Bowen, these workshops have been crafted to be broadly relevant to the maker community and Ace Makerspace specifically. 

Schema of Makers

Sunday, October 4th  |   Noon – 1pm PST

$5-20 sliding scale  |  Tickets

Who defines what a legitimate maker is? Explore how different types of makers are valued and have influence in how the community is shaped.

Communities are like ecosystems — living things that change and evolve over time. We will unpack different maker identities and the dynamics of those identities and their influence on how our makerspace community has evolved… for good or for ill. This workshop will explore both what the identity of makers have been as well as explore what it could and should be.

Maker Say What

Sunday, October 11th  |   Noon – 1pm PST

$5-20 sliding scale  |   Tickets

How the language we use to share maker knowledge interacts with race.

When it’s easy to lean into jargon as a way to communicate intelligence and experience, one can quickly conflate the words we use with who belongs and who doesn’t. And when it comes to talking about issues of race and gender, there is often a fear of saying the wrong thing. This workshop will explore how to be inclusive with Maker speak, as well as how to avoid the pitfalls of inaction by the fear of talking about race imperfectly.

Taking Care of the New Guy

Sunday, October 18th  |   Noon – 1pm PST

$5-20 sliding scale  |   Tickets

When the new guy isn’t white or a guy. We will explore where there is an opportunity to connect with people different than ourselves. 

Black people, and other people of color as well as Indigenous individuals, generally experience trauma because of microaggressions or just a lack of welcome in majority-white spaces. So to do female, femme, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming folx in majority male spaces. How then do we take care of new individuals when they are not like us or having a much different experience in the world.  This workshop will leave participants with a checklist to do just that including positive accountability.

You’re Too Comfortable

Sunday, October 25th  |   Noon – 1pm PST

$5-20 sliding scale  |   Tickets

Recognizing when comfort is an indicator of white supremacy manifesting itself. Explore how to take action when it does.

One way whiteness protects itself is by eliminating stressors of those who are in proximity to it. Things are easier, quicker, more accessible, more abundant, less risky, and more. This workshop will examine how comfortable you are and explore where your own discomfort might be putting up barriers to equity and inclusivity. Then we’ll talk about what can be done about it. We will uncover what actions can be taken when we discover white supremacy manifesting itself.

 

About our facilitator

Emily BowenEmily Bowen, MA ABS  (they /them)
The Peace Nerd

Emily trained as a psychotherapist, as well as earning a graduate degree in leadership and organizational development from Bastyr University (LIOS) in 2009. Since then they have worked as a Holistic Leadership Consultant and Educator. Emily is a founding member of the Peace Innovation Network (a collaboration between Stanford’s Peace Innovation Lab and The Hague). They studied Racial Equity for Adaptive Leadership at Leadership Eastside with Nikum Pon. And they are certified in Gracious Space – a framework for courageous conversations that was developed by the Center for Ethical Leadership.

Emily likes to help the people they’ve partnered with to seek a better understanding of their challenges and to find creative, equitable, and sustainable solutions. They possess an easy, natural confidence, insatiable curiosity, and a sense of humor that can be useful in guiding people in their growth and success. They bring essential skills in adult education, facilitation, coaching, innovation, and communication.

mask and sewing machine

Learn to Sew While Making Masks

Make masks for under-resourced folks in Oakland while learning to sew!
This is part sewing workshop and part mask-making party. Ace Makerspace provides masks to the community via our program Oakland Community PPE. We focus on distributing masks by partnering with existing social good organizations in Oakland. Learn more about where masks go on the Oakland Community PPE page.
You will learn or improve your sewing skills guided by experienced instructors. We split this offering into one virtual event and one live event at Ace Makerspace. We highly recommend that folks who have never sewn attend the virtual class before coming to the mask-making workshop.

Learn to sew while Making Masks Virtual Prep Class

During this 1-hour virtual class you will learn:

  • A sewing machine overview
  • How sewing machines work
  • Common sewing tools and what they are for
  • What goes into to making a mask

Demonstrations will include:

  • Straight stitching
  • Changing the needle
  • Seam ripping
  • Troubles shooting

There will be the time in this workshop to ask questions!

Learn to sew mask-making workshop

This event at Ace Makerspace is a combination of Class and Mask Making party. You will learn or improve your sewing skills guided by experienced instructors. Folks will work in rotation at stations giving everyone a chance to work on all aspects of mask-making. Lessons will be projected as the come up in real working situations.

Prerequisites

  • COVID-19 Safety
  • Are you brand new to sewing? Take the Virtual Prep class.
  • Experienced sewists looking to gain practice or just help make masks can skip the prep class that goes over the basics.

What you will learn

  • Sewing basics
  • Machine control
  • Chain stitching
  • Basic machine upkeep for volume stewing
  • Volume Sewing
  • Factory methods
  • Mask assembly
  • Reading assembly markings

Tools we will use

  • Sewing machines
  • Threaders
  • Clips

More about COVID Safety

In Order to stay COVID safety, we do much of the teaching using a “jumbotron” to project lessons on the wall. We also ask that all students take the COVID-19 safety course and masks are required.

festival mask

Hack your mask with valves

The “dirt-bike” or sports dust masks are really popular. A lot of folks know them from using them at events like Burning Man and Coachella. The issue with a lot of “dirt bike” style masks is the exhalation valves which are totally unfiltered. This makes these masks pretty useless for COVID-19 safety. You can read more about what the CDC says about masks with valves.

Everything I used for this 2-min hack:

  • CLUX Mesh Black Face Mask with Black Carbon Filter by Continental Luxury (amazon)
  • small (not tiny) rubber bands – one for each valve
  • Scissors
  • Non-Woven Polypropylene Fabric (woven fabric will work too)

I assembled the mask according to manufacturers’ directions. I cut the filter fabric to go over the valve with a very generous overlap – you can always cut off the excess. Then I slipped the rubber band over 2 layers of filter fabric to secure it to the Valve. This covers the valve and any leaky spots around the opening.

sport mask disassembled
Sport mask as it comes all disassembled. Most of these require assembly.
value hole on mesh part of the mask
The valve hole in the mask without the “hardware”
fabric, mask, and rubber band
Assembled mask with quick filter materials
filtered valve
the filter “value-cover” takes about 3 seconds to put on.
filtered valve close up
the “valve-cover” close up
respirator and tools

Respirator Hack for Covid

So the issue with a lot of respirators and dust masks is the exhalation valve which is totally unfiltered. This makes them pretty useless for COVID-19 safety. You can read more about what the CDC says about masks with valves.

Everything I used for this 5-min hack:

  • 3M Rugged Comfort Half Facepiece Reusable Respirator 6502QL (Medium)
  • Electrical tape
  • Scissors
  • Non-Woven Polypropylene Fabric (woven fabric will work too)

Check out the gallery below to see how I added a filter to my valve. I specifically added it to the outside so it would last longer before getting moist and so others could see it. I used two layers of material for the filter.

tool bucket

New Habits for Keeping Safe

The new reality around COVID-19 safety has us all scrambling to create new habits while we go about the business of making things. We are currently trying and experiment with tool caddy’s. The idea is:

  • Come into the shop, and pick up a caddy
  • As you use hand tools put them in the bucket
  • Once you are done sanitize them and but them back

This way you don’t have to stop and sanitize with every tool and we avoid cross-contamination. Each bucket also has a small spray bottle of surface sanitizer and a personal pump bottle of hand sanitizer.

We are not sure if it will take all the sting out of the needed cleaning. We will see where the experiment leads!

AMT Members in Action with Covid-19 Relief efforts

We are slowly learning in a community that this thing will be a marathon not a sprint. So we are setting ourselves up with safer workspace practices to continuously offer the best most immediate help we can. We are also learning to celebrate everyone’s efforts even when is just nibbling at the problems.

Without further ado here are just a few snapshots of AMT members in action while we work to help people directly and in partnership with our fellow makerspace and non-profits.