Category: Community

All things to do with the greater makerspace hacker space community as well as our local community

The Captain's Chair

Ted Huller: 3D Printing Master

Introduction

Ted Huller is a long-time Ace member and also Ace’s resident 3D Printing Steward. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the chance to talk with Ted about his history with Ace as well as some recent work he has done.

Ted’s History with Ace

ted hullarTed is a long-time friend of Ace Executive Director Rachel Crafty, but Ted’s story begins before Rachel was in that role. Ted works in a laboratory, and throughout his working process, he sometimes finds that he needs to make custom-built parts in order to fulfill certain jobs. He normally would make these parts out of wood, (Ted is a master woodworker) but one day the job required a small beaker holder that was too fine to make with wood. Hearing about Ace’s 3D printing workspace, Ted decided that he should learn some basic skills in 3D printing so that he could handle situations like these. He admits the process wasn’t very smooth, but in the end, he had a working product, and that experience made Ted very interested in 3D printing as a whole.

Fast forward a few years, and Ted became a regular Ace member. He still did woodworking at home, but the Ace makerspace had become his new home for metalwork and some 3D printing. Ted quickly got his own 3D printer at home, meaning that his interactions with Ace slowly dwindled as his needs for printing materials shrunk. One day, however, former 3D printing steward Matt stepped down, leaving the position open to anyone in the Ace community. After some deliberation, Ted decided that he should give something back to the Ace community, and with his new expertise, Ted became the printing steward.

The 3D Printing Space at Ace

The 3D printing space is shared with a multipurpose space that houses the electronics lab, a couple of workstations, and the big format paper printer. This room is known as the Clean Fabrication room. There are two Prusa-brand 3D printers, which Ted calls “the Ford F-150 of printers. There’s a lot of them, they’re not the most sophisticated, but they’re pretty darn reliable and thought out.” There’s also a nearby computer dedicated to preparing files for the printers. The printers don’t need a computer to run, but makers will often find that it helps to be able to do last-minute manipulations to the 3D object files.

The Slack community for 3D printing at Ace has members in the hundreds, and pretty much all questions and discussions happen over Slack. Ted considers it the most efficient way to ask, read, and answer questions; he encourages new members to use Slack for almost all of their communications.

An Example of Ted’s Work

Metal plating placed in the Ace metal mill
Some in-progress work being done at the Ace metal mill

Ted and his wife recently bought an old minivan so they can go camping without having to deal with tents. The Toyota they bought was almost perfect for this purpose, except for one thing. The two of them both found the minivan to be a little too small to have both front seating and bed arrangements, so they looked into having adaptable seats that could swivel and lie down to make beds. The Toyota’s seats, however, were bolted to the floor in such a way that commercial seat-adjusting kits wouldn’t work. With no other options, Ted turned to his making skills to fabricate a “captain’s chair,” similar to those found in commercial RVs.

Ted started with drilling out a swivel plate and holes in the floor of the van, making sure to line them up precisely by means of the metal mill at Ace. The actual process of making the seat swivel wasn’t that difficult, but Ted encountered another problem soon after. Modern-day seats in cars and vans have lots of electrical wiring leading into them, whether it’s for operating a heater or controlling the seat’s back-and-forth movement. Ted found that the wires in the seat were dangerously close to shearing themselves on some exposed metal left by the drill holes, which would cause all sorts of maladies if not addressed properly. To solve this problem, he 3D printed a large plastic washer that bolts onto the wire hole. This means that instead of the wires dragging on sharp metal edges, it’s protected by a layer of comparably soft plastic. There were other little 3D-printed objects that Ted made, such as protective sheaths for the wire connectors.

3D printed swivel bushing used in the seat
An example of a bushing used in the project

Interestingly, Ted’s neighbor was going through a similar process with a van of their own at around this time. They had also encountered the same wire-cutting problem, and since Ted had just fitted the washer he offered to print a duplicate for his neighbor. With about a dollar’s worth of filament, Ted solved his neighbor’s problem.

Closing

Ted will continue to make and create at Ace for a long time. There are no big projects in his immediate future, but before our talk ended Ted told me that he was looking forward to, “training some more people, getting them ready, and seeing what people are going to 3D print.” I’m Carter Jenkins and thank you for reading.

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!

An interview with Victor Lane, Ace Instructor

Who is Victor?

victor with CatVictor Lane may live in Sacramento, but he is still an active member of the Ace community. At Ace, Victor did a lot of woodworking with joinery, and over the past few years, he’s eventually made his way to becoming an instructor. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the pleasure of speaking with Victor to find out more about him.

Victor’s relationship with Ace began in a similar way to a lot of other members: finding an affordable and welcoming maker space. In his search, he found plenty of alternatives, but they were mostly for-profit organizations with narrowly defined communities that did not have a diverse environment. “You go to a lot of ‘maker spaces and it’s white guys my age making robots or 3d printing…” as Victor put it. He found that Ace fostered a group of people that was full of people that you wouldn’t find in those other maker spaces. Ace also had different technologies that you wouldn’t find in other maker spaces, such as fabric arts. He appreciates the fact that these “non-traditional” making practices have dedicated homes at Ace.

Two coasters with engravings of California
Two custom made coasters designed by Victor

Victor’s New Class at Ace

Victor is hosting an in-person woodworking class for a small group of people at the maker space. It’s a class he has hosted pre-lockdown, but luckily not a lot about the class had to change. Like before, he’s teaching how to make a basic cutting board out of a single piece of wood, teaching how to properly cut and finish the material. The main purpose of the class is not to walk away with a perfect cutting board but to rather learn how to use the tools properly. As Victor said, “If you are not scared of the power tool you are using, you probably shouldn’t be using it.” He believes that gaining a sense of respect is the most important thing that a maker should have for their tools. The class employs the use of the chop saw and table saw, which Victor hopes to make his students comfortable. For the most part, mask protocol isn’t affecting the class. Most of the time, the people in the class were wearing filtered dust masks, so modified masks are being used.

Talking with Victor was a blast, and the Ace community benefits greatly from having a guy like him in it. His charismatic personality and great communication skills make him an excellent teacher and should make for a great workshop experience.

Lead to Life: An Ace Collaboration

What is Lead to Life?

Lead to Life is an Oakland-based organization of black and queer artists, ecologists, and healers. The group is primarily focused on reversing the effects of violence against black people. They turn the metal from guns into tools that are then used to repair ecosystems, specifically in black neighborhoods.

Lead to Life’s goal is to empower racial and environmental justice through artwork. Their commitment to removing systemic oppression is done through what they call “applied alchemy,” or in other words using nature to provoke new ideas for justice. The group intends to create connections between restorative and environmental justice. The organization also aims to reconnect people to a more natural and peaceful life.

“A people’s alchemy for regeneration”

Lead to Life’s main purpose isn’t just to make gardens and have shovels with words on them (though those are both things they do). Lead to Life was created to foster peace in chaotic places, to provide a grounding factor that many people could use. It was because of this main driving force that Ace decided to collaborate with Lead to Life.

How Ace is Involved

David displaying 2 completed handles

Lead to Life and Ace Makerspace are running a joint project where Ace used its in-house tooling to create a fresh batch of shovel handles for Lead to Life. The three main people who spearheaded and worked on this collaboration were David Perry, Rachel Sadd, and Greg Habiby.

Rachel worked with the laser cutter, sanding blocks, and finishing chemicals, creating the shape of the shovel handle as well as polishing it. David was the primary user of the laser engraver that put the words into the side of each shovel handle. Greg took the role of photographer for the project, taking all the pictures that were used in this article.

Rachel answered a few questions about the project for this blog, ranging from what was challenging about the project to how being a part of this collaboration changed her.

Rachel’s Experience

Multiple shove handles stacked on each other
A selection of the finished handles

As stated, Rachel worked on laser cutting the handles and polishing them. While working with the irregularly sized wood pieces and modifying the lathe to work properly, she had time to think about what the project meant to her. Lead to Life works with organizations she has a connection with, one of them being the Segoroea Te Land Trust. Both organizations work with community gardens and building relationships with nature, which are values that Rachel holds deep in her heart. Working with Lead to Life was a form of direct action that reminded Rachel of her connection to the Oakland community.

If you want to learn more about Lead to Life, check out their website at https://www.leadtolife.org/

Bob’s Guitar Journey

Introduction

Out of Ace’s list of members, Bob M is definitely one of the more unique people to walk through the workshop doors. Nowadays, Bob is most known for his custom-built guitars and basses, and the reason why this is goes back all the way to his high school days. I’m Carter Jenkins, and I had the chance to speak with Bob about what he does at Ace as well as a little more about how his life has led him to this point.

The Beginning

In high school, Bob originally aimed on becoming a violin craftsman. However, that path didn’t work out and Bob had to explore other areas. For 20 years, Bob held a job as a professional juggler while still exploring his passion for playing guitar. One day in 1989, he paid someone to do some repairs on a bass he had. The job was completely botched, leaving Bob thinking, “I could do so much better than that.” After a little mechanical ingenuity and some tinkering, Bob quickly discovered a new skill.

In the early 90s, Bob opened up a hand-crafted guitar shop to both satisfy his guitar fix and to have a career. Unfortunately, he soon shut down the operation. The money wasn’t the biggest problem, rather Bob “couldn’t stand the sales relationship that the job required.” Wrangling what you love into a money-producing machine isn’t a great feeling, and after only a few years of operation, Bob walked away.

2 partially completed guitars

More Recent Years

In between 1997 and 2017, Bob didn’t do a lot of making or tinkering. However, in 2017, he went to the Ace Building for a Fusion 360 CAD software meeting. During his visit, he took a guided tour around the facility where his attention was caught by the CNC machine and the woodshop. While Ace wasn’t the entire reason he got back into making, seeing the necessary tools that Ace offered with an affordable membership compared to other spaces Bob had looked at was a big part of it. Nowadays, Bob still makes custom guitars, no longer for the money but rather for the affection he has for the craft.

The silver bridge of a guitar with a cartoon character drawn into it
A bridge with a drawing inscribed

Advice for Other makers

Towards the end of our meeting, I asked Bob for any advice he had for makers looking to turn a passion into a business. Bob says that if you have a passion, don’t try to monetize it unless you know you can succeed. Take guitar building for instance. The market for that kind of thing is heavily over-saturated, with new builders investing all their money into a business that will last a few years before shutting down.

Bob got out of the business for a reason, now he spends his days doing what he loves, not doing work. If you have something you want to pursue, he recommends finding a group of people that have a similar interest to you and then finding opportunities to put your skills to work through there. A big enough community will be able to supply you with answers to your questions and will also help you grow as a person.

Mauricio’s Big Build

Overview

Mauricio Salmerón has been working on a project recently. What started as a joke request to a friend has now spanned into a multi-month project that is now nearing completion. I got a chance to speak with Mauricio over a weekend and he shed some light on what other workshop members saw as two large pieces of wood glued together.

Mauricio has been an off-and-on member of the Ace Makerspace for a few years now. He used to own a furniture-making shop called “The Furniture Space,” where he did woodworking to create all kinds of custom furniture such as tables and sideboards. After that, Mauricio found Ace to be the best place to continue honing his craft.

A while back, Mauricio was talking with June, a friend of his. The conversation eventually drifted to June’s need for a new bed. After discussing how June’s search hadn’t been successful, Mauricio jokingly offered to build her a bed frame. The two laughed, and the conversation moved on. However, a month or two later June took Mauricio up on his half-serious request.

A half completed bed frame
The bed frame, later in its construction phase

Mauricio worked on the project on and off, but many months later it’s nearly complete. Throughout his build process, Mauricio used many workshop tools to complete the project. The table saw, chop saw, router, drill, and planer to name a few. He estimates “another 10 hours of work and headboard assembly” and the new frame will be ready to send to June. The entire assembly consists of 5 main parts that can be put together to complete the full platform-style bed. June, of course, will have to provide the mattress, but it seems that the bulk of the work has been completed.

Process

  • Early pieces
    • Oak boards were surfaced through the joiner and planer, then dimensioned with the table saw
    • The boards were clamped together and glued to make the large sides of the bed, the tops to the sides with pocket screws
    • The three main pieces were completed by now, each with its own plywood support frame
  • Later pieces
    • The surfaced boards were put together with pocket screws and clamps to create the headboard
    • The last piece, the middle mattress support, was made with plywood, glue, and pocket screws
  • Final assembly
    • The three large oak pieces were attached with latches, the headboard had cleats and bolts to attach to the side pieces, and the middle mattress support piece

Tools and materials

  • Tools
    • Table saw
    • Chop saw
    • Router
    • Circular saw
    • Drill
    • Planer
    • Joiner
  • Materials
    • Titebond III wood glue
    • Pocket screws
    • Plywood and Oakwood
    • Cleats
    • Bolts
    • Latches

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

Affordable Anti-Racist Workshops for Makers in January

We are doing our Anti Racist Workshop Series for Makers again. After our successful October pilot, we are excited about offering the series again.

All Workshop courses are priced at a sliding scale of $5-20. Scholarships are available upon request. See below for information on the courses. We hope to see you there!

Schema of Makers

Saturday January 9th, 2021   |   11:00AM – 12:30PM PST

$5-20 sliding scale   |   Tickets

Who defines what a legitimate maker is? Explore how different types of makers are valued and have an influence on 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 maker space community has evolved… for good or for ill. This workshop will explore both what the identity of makers has been as well as explore what it could and should be.

Makers Say What

Sunday January 10th, 2021   |   11:00AM – 12:30PM PST

$5-20 sliding scale   |   Tickets

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

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.

You’re Too Comfortable

Saturday January 16th, 2021   |   11:00AM – 12:30PM 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 white supremacy 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. This examination also includes a critical examination of biased systems we might be participating in. 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.

Taking Care of the New Guy

Sunday January 17th, 2021   |   11:00AM – 12:30PM PST

$5-20 sliding scale   |   Tickets

Taking care of the new guy when the new maker isn’t white or a guy.

How then do we take care of new individuals when they are not like us or having a much different experience in the world. How can we support and include black, indigenous, and other POC people in majority-white spaces? Being successful at either can be complex and confusing. We will explore all the ways we can practice harm reduction as well as examine how our own biases and fears may be holding us back. This workshop will leave participants with skills to do just that including positive accountability.

About our Facilitator

crafty rachel photoRachel “Crafty” Sadd
She/Her/Hers

Rachel is a Bay Area based artist, activist, and maker. When she is not making she is the Executive Director at Ace Makerspace. She leads program development for equity and social good projects. Participating in rapid response to the COVID-19 public health crisis has been her main focus since March 2020. She is equally engaged by beauty and utility and she creates projects which span genres and challenge ideas about art, craft, and culture.

Learn More about Rachel’s DEI work

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.

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