Last Chance July Classes!

DATE:  July 3, 2012     CATEGORIES:  Current Classes

Happy July, and happy 4th! We hope everyone enjoys the sun and our strange middle-of-the-week holiday. In the hopes that all you patriots get to take at least some time off this week, we have less than the usual going on at the Asylum until next weekend. We’ve even, (sadly but unavoidably), opted to cancel the MiniGolf Design Challenge, though we had enough interest that we’re hoping to be able to offer it again some time in the future.

What that means is that you have an extra week to sign up for July classes! It’s going to be hot and sticky in Boston this month — the air conditioning is working great here and traffic is up as people do their usual warm-weather slack-off from work. So summer’s now a great time to hang out at the Asylum! We’ve got a few tickets left to a number of classes – this is the perfect opportunity to jump in.

For basic introductions to safe operations of our equipment and qualification for new members to use tools, visit our Tool Training and Testing page.



  • Introduction to Casting & Moldmaking, Tuesdays, July 10-31 — A popular class returns! Learn the basics of casting from life and from object models, using safe materials to replicate everyday objects in plaster, wax, plastic, or rubber — including your various body parts. Taught by Bevan Weissman, longtime Asylum instructor & member, professional artist and engineer who enjoys incorporating both disciplines into his work. Bevan is unfortunately moving to Philadelphia this fall, so take his celebrated moldmaking class before it’s too late!
  • NEW! Introduction to Leather Carving, Thursdays, July 12 – August 2 — Learn to decorate and work with leather while creating a small project of your own design! Over the course of four weeks, students will learn the fundamental tools and techniques for leather carving and coloring, becoming comfortable with use of the head knife, awl, needles & thread, and dyes. Taught by Emily Lamkin, professional artist and designer and owner of a leatherworking business called Curious Alchemy that specializes in leather masks and accessories.
  • NEW! Foam Projects: Monster Heads, Saturday, July 14, 12-5pm — Foam fabrication returns to the Asylum with this one-day workshop. Students will modify and add to existing patterns to make their very own crocodile, dinosaur or monster head out of flexible sheet foam. Wear it around town or mount it to your wall! Taught by Bob Field, repeat Asylum instructor, founder of Foam Props and 25-year professional in foam fabrication.
  • Resin Inlay for Jewelry & Small Metals, Saturday & Sunday, July 28 & 29 — Karen’s popular resin inlay workshop returns! Spend a day learning to use natural, easily accessible ingredients like spices to add vibrant color to your small metal jewelry and sculpture. Basic metal soldering will also be introduced in this one-day workshop, offered twice. 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.

Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing

  • CNC Art to Part, Saturday, July 7 — 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, July 8 and July 15 — 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, Saturdays, 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, new Asylum community member.

Digital Media

  • NEW! Digital DJing with Traktor, (Brought to you by CEMMI.) Saturdays, July 7-28 — Explore the fundamentals of digital DJing with Native Instruments Traktor software. Material covered will include EQing, filtering, beat gridding, beat jumping, phrase mixing, harmonic mixing, looping, bass cuts (and other alternative mixing techniques), crafting a mix, and self promotion. Taught by Matt Allen, a software engineer, electronic musician, and DJ who releases and performs in both trance and techno.
  • NEW! Make Your Own Sound: Intro to Digital Audio Signal Processing and Synthesis in PureData, (Brought to you by CEMMI.) Thursdays, July 12 – August 16 — In this new class, students will learn to design their own unique audio effects, sounds, and synths at a basic level. Students will learn the ins and outs of oscillators, samplers, filters, Flanger, FM synthesis, and much more with software such as PureData or Max/MSP, or in traditional programming languages. Taught by Nick Donaldson, professional electrical & sound engineer, who has been writing digital audio software, designing sounds, and producing music for years.


  • Electronic Thing-A-Week, Wednesdays, July 11-25 — Tired of the delayed gratification of long, arduous projects? This three-week smorgasbord is for you! Drew will be guiding you through a series of electronics kit-based projects ranging from an altoids-pack battery charger to a home-made car alarm – every day you spend you take a finished project home. Sign up for all three classes at once for a discount!

Glass: Lampworking

  • NEW! Glass, and All that Sparkles, Saturday & Sunday, July 14 & 15 — With the Hot Glass: Introduction class behind you, you can now concentrate on the specifics of shaping and decorating of these little glass objects you know how to make. Using bits of glass, metals, foils, meshes, and other goodies, you will learn about the world of “enhancements”. Over two days, the class wil cover shaping and design ideas, and explore surface decorations, internal decorations, implosions and enamels.  Taught by Joanne Soroka, professional lampworker, artist, jewelery-maker, and teacher.


  • Tool Training: Oxy-Acetylene Welding, Cutting, Brazing, & Heating, Thursday, June 28 — 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 Ethan Labowitz, professional metalworker and instructor and founder of the Boston Institute for Clean Energy Prototyping (BICEP), and Paul Carson, professional engineer, metalworking enthusiast, and bike builder.
  • Metalworking Intensive, Wednesdays, July 11 – August 1 — 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.

Hope to see you at the Asylum this month!