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‘Maker Mondays’ showcase Fab Lab

Barbara Vigue (left) and her son Aiden color their homemade clay-doh. 

“It’s a different thing to do on a Monday night,” said Barbara Vigue, who attended the Nov. 3 “Food for Geeks” Maker Mondays event. “It’s really neat to design certain things on the computer and watch them print out in 3D.”

Vigue brought her 9-year-old son Aiden, who attends Carlisle School. He said he’s learned how to complete several projects using a 3D printer and laser cutter.

“It’s so much fun to make stuff,” he said. “I’ve learned how to use (Adobe) Photoshop, Illustrator, and a modeling program called Sculptris. I hope to get some 3D printer filament for Christmas – maybe even a printer one day.”

The maker movement encompasses a culture of technology-based DIY (do-it-yourself) projects and encourages invention and prototyping. The Fab Lab at Patrick Henry Community College is part of the United States Fab Lab Network and the global Fab Lab Network.   

The “Food for Geeks” session featured Fab Lab Coordinator Matthew Wade with a presentation about 3D printing with food, how to make apple cider with Jon and Libby Sharp, chocolate making with Jason Worley and a how-to on homemade edible and non-toxic clay-doh with Katie Croft.

Jason Worley separates caramelized almonds during the last Maker Mondays “Food for Geeks” session. 

Worley, who also is a biology instructor at PHCC, is in the process of completing studies in culinary arts. During his session, he demonstrated how to caramelize almonds and explained the process of making chocolate-covered almonds. Worley recently opened a manufacturing space for his chocolate confections and plans to sell them in the coming months.

Jon and Libby Sharp spoke about their process earlier this year in creating their own apple cider. They covered food safety, pasteurized versus unpasteurized cider, and the equipment needed to accomplish their operation.

Croft talked about making clay-doh and other fun DIY projects for kids. She said sometimes, buying play-doh and other crafts materials can get expensive.

“I grew up in a house where we made our own fun – we didn’t go out and buy things; we made them,” she said. “This is a great non-toxic recipe, and it’s a fun activity for kids.”

Wade said the Maker Mondays series is a great way for members of the community to visit the Fab Lab and see how individuals and businesses can use the space.

“We’re here for the budding entrepreneur who has an amazing idea and wants to build their first prototype, or for area businesses looking to utilize specialized machinery,” Wade said. “At the Fab Lab, we create a positive place to foster an entrepreneurial way of thinking.”

The next Maker Monday session is a how-to on making your own t-shirt jersey. It will be held Nov. 24 from 5:30-7 p.m. Sessions are free to college students and $10 for all other participants. Children under 16 years of age need to be accompanied by an adult. Call (276) 656-5461 to RSVP or email for additional information.

Jon (standing) and Libby Sharp (right) lead a presentation on making your own apple cider during a Maker Mondays session on Nov. 3. 

Katie Croft mixes a batch of homemade clay-doh during her Maker Mondays “Food for Geeks” presentation.