February Classes Posted!

DATE:  January 14, 2013     CATEGORIES:  Current Classes

Here’s what you’ve all been waiting for — February classes! Check out the list below for an onslaught of exciting new offerings: Fiberglass & Foam, an intro to Pneumatics and Hydraulics from the Asylum’s founder, two new basic electronics lab classes, a new weekend workshop from the jewelry lab, and a lecture and discussion on accounting for creative businesses. Also herald the return of high-demand classes like Manual Machining, EL Wire, both the Oxy-Acetylene tool training and Brazing class, and training on the Wood Lathe. There’s a little bit of everything, and each one is something you’ve asked for — check it out!

More to come soon — there will be another Arduino class, more Hot Glass offerings, and a new Introduction to Robotics in February as well.

For the last-minute planners among you, a quick list of upcoming January classes with tickets left before the February offerings:


Assorted & Multimedia

  • NEW! Lecture: Life on the Ledger: How to Make Your Works Add Up, 6:30-8pm Friday, January 25 — You were placed on this earth to express your creativity in wild and imaginative ways, NOT to balance a checkbook. But you realize you need at least one foot in the business door, and you don’t want it to get stuck. Luckily, Rich Streitfeld can take some of the stress out of the numbers game, allowing you to devote more time to your craft. Join us for a presentation on accounting and business planning for creative businesses. Reception to follow.
  • NEW! Fiberglass & Foam: Introduction to Wet Layup Composites, 7-9pm Wednesdays, February 6-27 — Ever wanted to learn how to make large, curved or organic structures like boat hulls, car bodies, or airplane wings? In this class, you’ll learn how to make your own composite parts from scratch by laying fiberglass cloth over shaped foam molds in order to make light, rigid structures. Taught by Ben Zelnick, professional mechanical & aerospace engineer and new member of the Asylum.
  • Quick’n’Dirty EL Wire Workshop, 12:30-5:30pm Saturday, February 9 — EL wire is short for electroluminescent wire – meaning a flexible, durable, waterproof string of light! It’s a quick, cheap, and low-skill medium with a high visual impact. In this workshop you’ll gain the skills necessary to produce long-lasting, durable, eye-catching EL wire costume pieces or decorations, and you’ll go home with a project that will wow your friends and family (or your valentine). Taught by Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and longtime Asylum member and instructor.
  • Introduction to Mold-Making & Casting, 7-9:30pm Tuesdays, February 5-26 — Mold-making and casting is a process that has been used by artists and industry for hundreds of years to replicate objects from life or to transform an object into a different material. In this four-week exploration, students will learn how to make one-part and multi-part molds to replicate everyday objects, their own sculpture, or even their body parts in rubber, plastic, foam, wax, alginate, and plaster. Taught by Kat Ely, glass, metal, wood and resin artist, and co-owner of a design and fabrication business that uses mold-making and casting to produce plastic and rubber prototypes.
  • Decorate Your Own Dig Box, 7-8:30pm Tuesdays, February 5-26 — Artisan’s Asylum has a unique opportunity to create public art for the greater Boston area, and we want you to take part! DigBoston, popular local news outlet, has partnered up with us to keep our city streets rust-free and art-ful. Dig gives us broken down newspaper boxes, and you repair one and transform it into a unique yet functional work of art. No previous experience necessary, just commitment and a willingness to get creative. Participants will have their final work celebrated and published on the Digboston.com website, and installed on the street for the world to see. Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and Dig Box transformer, will help you work your way through this complex and exciting project.

Bicycle Maintenance

  • Bicycle Maintenance I, 7-9pm Wednesdays, February 6-27 — 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 the bad weather hits this fall commuter season! Taught by Seven Of Nine, regular Asylum instructor, SCUL pilot, graduate of the Broadway Bicycle School, and general bike builder/modifier extraordinaire.
  • Bicycle Maintenance II, 7-9pm Thursdays, February 7-28 — If you want to get deeper into the workings of your bicycle, this is the class for you! Learn skills like rear hub overhaul, truing your wheels, headset overhaul, and front derailleur adjustments. Completion of Bicycle Maintenance I required for registration. Taught by Seven Of Nine, regular Asylum instructor, SCUL pilot, graduate of the Broadway Bicycle School, and general bike builder/modifier extraordinaire.

Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing

  • CNC Art to Part, Sunday, February 10, 11:30am-2:30pm — In three hours, learn how to turn a 3D computer model into a network of interlocking flat shapes that can be cut out on an Asylum CNC router! Students will learn the use of 123Make, Inkscape, Draftsight, and CamBam. 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: CNC Woodcutting Router, Sunday, February 10 or 24, 3:30-6:30pm — 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 (see above).
  • Tool Training: 3D Printer, Sundays, 4-6pm — 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 Peter Montgomery, student and rapid prototyping enthusiast.

Electronics & Robotics

  • NEW! Introduction to Pneumatics and Hydraulic Systems, 7-9:30pm Mondays, February 11 – April 1 — Learn how to design and build the types of actuation systems that power Stompy and other high end robots and vehicles! Harness the power of compressed air and hydraulic fluid to generates hundreds, to thousands, to tens of thousands of pounds of force instantaneously. The systems are much simpler to design and assemble than you think they are, and are simpler to work with than most other forms of actuation. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti, professional roboticist, founder of Artisan’s Asylum, and mechanical lead of Project Hexapod.
  • NEW! Basic Electronics: Blinky Lights and Spinning Motors, 7:30-9:30pm Mondays, February 4-25 — In this class, get a project-based introduction to basic electronics by building a bunch of different circuits on breadboards and observing their behavior. Instead of listening to a series of lectures, learn by doing! Assemble simple circuits, like that which light LEDs or spin motors in two directions, figure out how they work, and build more complex circuits as the class progresses. Taught by Tom Brendlinger, electrical and computer engineer in the robotics field and Artisan’s Asylum member.
  • NEW! Introduction to Soldering: Conway’s Game of Life, 1-3pm Saturday, February 2 — Come learn how to make your own electronic circuits from scratch by building Conway’s Game of Life! Learn good soldering technique, how to identify bad solder joints, and how to solder many different kinds of components together on a crowded electronics board. Students walk away with their own Conway’s Game of Life electronics boards, which make for functional and fun house decorations. Taught by Tom Brendlinger, electrical and computer engineer in the robotics field and Artisan’s Asylum member.

Fiber Arts

  • Introduction to Sewing, 7-9pm Thursdays, February 7-28 — 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! This 4-week basic intro class brings students quickly through the process from pattern to cutting to pinning, sewing machine basics, to seams and buttons and hems. Appropriate for students ages 12 to adult. Taught by Carolyn Emberley, lifelong maker and artist, and longtime Asylum member, volunteer, and sewing and woodworking instructor.


  • New! Structural Metalsmithing: Make A Box, 10am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, February 9 & 10 — Use this fun box project to hone your small metal sculpture skills! Building on the basics of jewelrymaking, students will practice design, layout, soldering, filing, forming, and decorative embellishment with the flex shaft in the fabrication of a small, friction-fit brass box. This decorative item is a perfect practice project to expand your small metal sculpture comfort zone, and also makes a lovely gift!  Taught by Karen Christians, professional jewelry maker, metal smith, tool designer, writer and educator, and leader of the jewelry studio at Artisan’s Asylum.


  • Manual Machining & Layout (Machining Like A Pro), 7:30-9:30pm Tuesdays, February 26 – April 2 and Thursdays,  February 28 – April 4 — An expansion on our classic metal machining class, this 6-week course will teach you not only the operation of the milling machine and the metal lathe, but also the layout and design skills necessary to help you to make metal parts to exacting specifications like a pro. Taught by Christian Weagle, long-time Asylum machining instructor and professional roboticist at Boston Dynamics.

Metalworking & Welding

  • Tool Training: Oxy-Acetylene Welding, Cutting, & Heating, Thursday, February 28, 7-10pm — The oxy-acetylene (O/A) rig is arguably the most versatile, potentially dangerous, and misunderstood piece of equipment in any metal shop. This one-shot class will demonstrate welding, cutting, brazing, and heating, and teach you how to set up, operate, and shut down an oxy-acetylene rig without harming yourself, other Asylumers, or the equipment. Taught by Paul Carson, professional engineer, metalworking enthusiast, and bike builder.
  • Introduction to TIG Welding, 7:30-9:30pm Mondays, February 4-25 — 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.
  • Metalworking Intensive, 7-10pm Wednesdays, February 6-27 — In this class, the instructors will guide students through professional-grade steel construction skills in the building of industrial steel stools, storage racks, and work tables for the shops of the Asylum. By the end of the session, students will have learned all the skills necessary to building load-bearing steel structures, including cutting, grinding, jigging, and MIG welding. Taught by Calvin Domenico and Edison Gieswein, long-time Asylum members and volunteers who’ve been manufacturing professionally and for pleasure for much of their careers.
  • Introduction to Brazing, 2-4:30pm Sundays, February 10-24 — Brazing is a uniquely useful metal joining process that allows for joining dissimilar metals and joining metals that could not otherwise be joined by welding. Learn about joint design, brazing technique, and practice joining dissimilar metals; join very thin steel (.010 thick!) to thick steel plates, and join thin walled steel tubes without welding. Even learn how to repair castings made from iron alloys with poor weldability! Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer.

Screen Printing

  • Single-Color Screen Printing: A One-Day Introduction, Saturday, February 9, 11am-5pm — Ever wanted to make your own custom t-shirt, tote bag, sticker, poster, or greeting card? In this one day intensive introduction to screen printing, you’ll learn all the basics and by the end of the evening 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.


  • Returned! Introduction to Wood Lathe, 7-10pm Mondays, February 11-25 — Woodturning is the art of curves and cylinders, smoothness and symmetry. This 3-week class will teach you how to use the Asylum’s wood lathe safely and effectively, providing a survey of tools, techniques and tricks. You’ll learn techniques for turning wood on a spindle and a mandrel. And along the way you’ll make a few pieces to take home. Taught by Dan Landers, carpenter, electrician, electrical engineer, and wood buff.

For our full roster of Tool Training sessions, designed for those self-starters who already know what you want to build, are accustomed to working on your own, and just want to learn how to use the tools you need safely, check out the list on our Tool Training & Testing page.

Refund Policy: We offer full refunds for any class cancellations more than three days in advance of the class start date. After that point refunds are contingent upon the Asylum being able to fill the seat. No refunds are offered for same-day cancellations.

We’ll see you at the Asylum soon! In the meantime, stay warm and safe.