Grow Beyond Earth Contest

3 years ago I started participating in the Grow Beyond Earth contest.  It’s a collaboration between NASA and the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Florida.  The goal is to create a device that will grow food on the International Space Station.  That sounded like fun to me!  Year one focused on designing the growing area to take advantage of the 0G environment and fit in a 50cm cube.   I was fortunate enough to be a finalist and walked away with some prize money.  I was not able to participate in the 2nd year but I am back in for year 3. 

This year the focus is on creating a robotic harvesting and planting.  If you want to read all about it you can do so at the Make:Projects link below.  This has been a fun project and I learned so much.—year-3-professional-entry

Electronics Experiments

Ever get excited after seeing an YouTube video?  It happens to me all the time.  When I was Thomas Sanladerer‘s video on using an MSLA printer to make PCB’s I knew I had to try it.  In fact I have worked it into February’s Model Monday project.  This month we will be designing an Addressable LED strip control box electronics and all.  You might not know that Fusion 360 can do electronics design but after a few classes you’ll be up to speed and ready to design.

I have been looking for an excuse to learn more about the electronics design work space in Fusion 360 and I had a member request it as a project.  It’s great to be able to have electronics parts and cad design all in the same software.  This is going to be a fun one with lots of new things to learn for all of us.  Join us Mondays @7pm live or watch the recordings on YouTube at your convenience.

Salon Divider

A few weeks ago a friend asked if I could help with a project for his wife’s new salon and I jumped at the opportunity.  I had been looking for a project that would mean using the big new 100W laser since it was donated.  My friend sent over a design and I got to cutting.

This is by far my favorite laser we have.  The software is easy to use and the laser makes aligning the uncut piece in the laser bed a breeze.  This project was also a chance to show off some of the new things I am learning in Blender to make a nice rendering of the final product.

Glazy-tron 3000

A few weeks ago I was speaking with my fellow ceramics area champion about making glazes.  We have recently done some organization of our glaze materials and he mentioned how he wished we had a computer for looking up recipes in the glaze room.  So I made one!

This is the Glazy-tron 3000.  I think the best place to find glaze recipes online is at so I have named this work station in it’s honor.  For the past few months I have been experimenting with kerf cutting plywood to create curved shapes.  After 3 or 4 bends I am getting the hang of it.  Under the hood is a Raspberry Pi Zero 2 W, which is a mouth full for being so small.  Truthfully its a bit slow for loading a webpage but it’s all I have right now and Pi’s are almost impossible to get a hold of for less than $100 right now.  If you have not had the chance to test drive a new Pi Zero 2 stop by the pottery area and give it a test drive.  This workstation will also be a great place to have the test tile spread sheet and all sorts of pottery “paperwork”.

Dust Collection Adapter

As a frequent user of the wood shop since I first became a member I asked Richard to keep me in mind for future projects.  Last week he gave me one.  Dust collection at Norwich is moving along and a new tools is ready to be connected, the spindle sander.  

I decided to design the adapter in Fusion 360 of course and print it on my printer at home.  It was a bit tight so I ended up heating up the connector on my stove and melting it in place inside the adapter.  It is nice to help out in an area that I have gotten a lot of joy out of over the past years.  I would encourage you all to find the area champion of an area you enjoy and ask to be kept in mind for future space projects.