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  • Archive for April, 2012

    Trebuchet Competition Today, 4pm!

    2012 - 04.29

    Come one, come all, the day of reckoning has arrived! At 4 o’clock this afternoon on the Cambridge Common, the seven valiant teams will be pitting their newly-fashioned siege weapons against one another, competing for distinction in range and accuracy as they launch water balloons at castle targets arranged around the green. Come join us to cheer on your champion and enjoy the beautiful day!

    The Asylum will be closed to the public from 3:30 to 6:30pm for the duration of the competition.

    See below for some photos from the week of building:

    The Trebuchet Design Challenge is being organized in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival.

    Trebuchet Challenge Underway

    2012 - 04.26

    The seven teams have been working hard since Sunday to get together their catapult designs. They have until Sunday to build them – stay tuned for more in-process photos! And don’t miss the public competition — the teams will be competing this Sunday at 4pm on the Cambridge Common to distinguish themselves in speed and accuracy. Join us!

    Trebuchet Kickoff, Sunday April 22

    Trebuchet team materials, all laid out.

    The Trebuchet Design Challenge is being organized in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival. Check out the festival events going on all week!

    (Photos courtesy of Karen Christians.)

    Open House Today at Artisan’s Asylum, 1-5pm

    2012 - 04.21

    Explore exciting fabrication technology, get up close and personal with the work of our resident engineers, inventors, artists and craftspeople, see examples of things you can make and learn to make here, and mingle with our members, instructors and staff! Tours will run roughly ever hour on the half-hour.

    This event is free and open to the public, with light refreshments available.

    Our open house today is organized in coordination with the Cambridge Science Festival. Be sure to check out the rest of the festival if you can – it’s going to be awesome! You can find out more information here: http://www.cambridgesciencefestival.org/. In addition to the open house and yesterday’s Mini Maker Faire, Artisan’s Asylum is hosting a one-week trebuchet design and build challenge starting tomorrow and ending with a public competition on the Cambridge Common on Sunday, April 29, at 4pm.

    May Classes Still on Sale!

    2012 - 04.21

    With a little more than a week to go, there are still seats left in a lot of May classes – so take a look below and see if there’s something for you!

    Screen Printing

    • NEW! Single-Color Screen Printing: A One-Day Introduction, Saturday, May 12, and Saturday, May 26 — Ever wanted to make your own custom t-shirt, tote bag, sticker, poster, or greeting card? The Asylum finally has a space and classes for you! In this one day intensive introduction to screen printing, you’ll learn all the basics and by the end of the day create a screen using your artwork and print a one-color design on your choice of t-shirts or paper. Taught by Erik Heumiller, graphic designer, film editor, printer, and Asylum renter and volunteer.

    Digital Media

    • NEW! Ableton Live: Intro to Advanced (Brought to you by CEMMI.) Wednesdays, May 2-30 — A comprehensive course about music composition, track production, and designing performance rigs using Ableton Live 8. In the intro class, students will cover the ins and outs of Ableton and learn all of its core functionality, its common uses, and a couple of uncommon ones. In the advanced class, students will be working with remixing, recording new content, using plugins / Max4Live, and creating plans for individual electronic musicians to get the most out of Ableton Live as a production/performance tool. Taught by Jester, well-known Boston area administrator, manager, designer, producer and problem-solver, co-founder and leader of CEMMI, and Ben Cantil (Encanti), independent music producer, performer, sound designer, DJ, and VJ, dedicated to creating high-quality and uniquely customized electronic media experiences, foremost in the A/V production Zebbler Encanti Experience, and in the band Shpongle Live.

    Electronics & Robotics

    • Introduction to Electronics, Thursday, May 10-31 — A beginner’s course in the theory and practice behind electronics assembly. This class will give you a working understanding of transistors by starting with core physical principles like voltage, current, and charge, and ending with building your own amplifiers and simple digital logic circuits. Taught by Avinash Uttamchandani, electrical & computer engineer and instructor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science.
    • NEW! Practical Electronics & Programming with Arduino, Sundays, May 13 – June 21 — A new, expanded introduction to the Arduino microcontroller. This class is an introduction to physical computing (using a computer system to sense, react to, and effect the physical world) with the Arduino. Students will learn the basic electronics and programming skills required to have an Arduino turn lights on and off, sense the world in a variety of ways, and move different kinds of motors automatically. Taught by Joe Schlesinger, electrical & computer engineer, MakeIt Labs maker space founder, and a new member of the Asylum.
    • NEW! Power Electronics (Brought to you by CEMMI.) Tuesdays, May 8-29 — Power Electronics will teach you how to, well, power things! Batteries are extremely handy ways to store energy, but don’t always come at the right voltages — it can be hard to find the 5 volt, 12 volt, or 17.34 volt battery that your project so desperately needs. This class will focus on how to take standard power sources (such as wall power or battery power) and convert them to a useful voltage for your projects! Taught by Nathan Lachenmyer, quantum physicist, electrical engineering graduate student at MIT, installation and generative artist, blogger, and education coordinator of CEMMI.

    Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing

    • NEW! CNC Intensive: CAD, CAM, and Cutting, Thursdays, April 26 – May 31 — This exciting new class brings you all the way through the fabrication process for creating your own CNC-manufactured work using free and low-cost software tools. This class focuses on the practical steps involved in capturing a conceptual design in 2D digital format, creating instructions for cutting pieces using computer-controlled machinery, and operating the Blackfoot CNC router in the Artisan’s Asylum woodshop. Taught by Jeff Jackson, long-time Asylum member and volunteer, primary operator of our Blackfoot, electrical engineer and digital fabrication technology and desktop manufacturing enthusiast.
    • Tool Training: CNC Router, Sundays, April 8, 15, & 22 — This three-hour training runs you through the basic operations of the CNC wood-cutting router. Each student will take the machine through an entire workflow cycle, from starting up and homing the machine to part removal and clean-up, leaving with a small product they made themselves. No software experience of any kind needed. Taught by Judah Sher, Asylum member and industrial designer who’s been designing, building, and selling his own CNC router over the past two years.
    • Tool Training: 3D Printer — This class fully trains and prepares students for using the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer independently, whenever they need projects made. Members who have taken this class receive a substantial discount on materials when using the printer to make 3D models. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti, roboticist and President of the Asylum.


    • NEW! Build Your Own Bike Frame, Saturdays, May 5-26 — Ever frustrated by riding a bike just not shaped well for you? Ever tempted to try and build your own frame, but not sure where to start? This is the class for you! Over four weeks, students will build a custom-fit bicycle frame from steel tubes, using Fillet brazed, lugged, or TIG welded construction. Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer.
    • Intro to TIG Welding, Mondays, May 7-28, and Tuesdays, May 8-29 — Come learn how to weld with Skunk! TIG welding is a precise type of welding generally used to make space frames (like bicycle frames) and small pieces. Students learn operation of a TIG welder and a large range of supporting equipment for a variety of materials and joint types. Taught by Skunk, metal sculptor, graphic designer, bike builder, Grand Poobah of the nerd bicycle gang SCUL, and long-time Asylum TIG welding instructor and member.
    • NEW! Metal Texturing Workshop, Saturday & Sunday, April 28-29 — In this packed two-day workshop, explore creating diverse and interesting textures on metal using various mechanical and chemical processes. Working with brass, copper and silver, students will etch and emboss a myriad of textures, finishes, and patterns using a variety of professional and home-made tools and techniques. Taught by Karen Christians, Asylum member, professional jewelry-maker and artist, published author, and founder of Cleverwerx, e-commerce metalsmith and jewelry website, and Metalwerx, jewelry school in Waltham, MA.
    • NEW! Metal Soldering for Jewelry & Sculpture, Wednesdays, May 9-30 (Afternoon and Evening sessions available) — Our first course on soldering for jewelry and small metal sculpture! Learn all the fundamentals to making clean, professional-quality seams in small metal fabrication. Students will learn several types of soldering for attachment of bezels for stones, modified and organic prongs settings, T joints, soldering tubing, sweat soldering, pinbacks, earring backs and bales. Taught by Karen Christians (see above).
    • Metalcasting with Sand, Bone and Water, Saturday and Sunday, May 19 & 20 — Learn to cast with molten metal without all the expensive equipment! In this workshop, you’ll learn to cast 3-dimensional metal pieces using simple and versatile molding methods and organic materials: water, delft clay, and cuttlebone. Students will gain experience carving, molding, casting, and soldering. Taught by Karen Christians (see above).


    • Intro to Woodworking: Build a Box, Wednesdays, May 9 – June 6 – This class is an introduction to fine woodworking techniques, including reviewing types of wood and their appropriate uses, joinery techniques, finishing techniques, and learning the proper use of most of the tools in the woodshop. Taught by Carolyn Emberley, lifelong maker and artist, and longtime Asylum member, volunteer, and sewing and woodworking instructor.
    • Joinery 1: Hand Tools, Saturdays, May 5-26 — This is the first in a new series of classes designed to teach the art of joinery from beginning to end. This 4-week session in the maintenance and use of the student’s own block plane, chisels, and cabinet scraper will be a required prerequisite for all following classes in the series. Taught by Peter Montague, master woodworker and graduate of the North Bennett St. School, and Asylum member, woodworking instructor, and woodshop manager.

    Sewing & Fiber Arts

    • Introduction to Sewing, Mondays, May 7-21 — Learn your way around a sewing machine while making a pair of comfortable drawstring pants. You can learn on our machines or bring your own! The class follows the process from pattern to cutting to pinning, sewing machine basics, to seams and buttons and hems. Taught by Carolyn Emberley, lifelong maker and artist, and longtime Asylum member, volunteer, and sewing and woodworking instructor.
    • NEW! Open Sewing Work Session, Sunday morning, April 22 — Bring your projects for a communal morning of stitching. An experienced sewer or two will be on hand to help you through roadblocks you’ve hit, pattern instructions you can’t figure out, troubleshooting your sewing machine, or just to ask questions you’ve been dying to know the answer to.

    Bicycle Maintenance & Repair

    • Basic Bicycle Maintenance, Wednesdays, May 2-23 — You may know how to ride your bicycle, but if you don’t know how to take care of it you’ll end up losing speed, causing damage, or stranded with a flat tire. Get your bike skills in shape before you hit the road again in the spring!

    May Classes Posted!

    2012 - 04.06

    May classes have now been posted, as well as some new April workshops! Highlights include new media like glassworking and metal soldering for jewelry, more advanced welding classes, and new sessions of old favorites: Woodworking Build A Box, TIG Welding, Metalworking Intensive, and more!

    Classes coming up soon include Urban Poultry 101, Advanced MIG Welding, and CNC Router training. And we still have spots open for teams to compete in the Trebuchet Design Challenge!

    April registrations for tool trainings are now available as well.

    Check out all of the above and more on our Current Class Offerings page.