Check out Summer Classes!

DATE:  July 8, 2013     CATEGORIES:  Current Classes

July 4th is passed, but why not make summer the season of independence? Empower yourself by learning a new skill, exercising your creativity, and meeting new people at Artisan’s Asylum! We have an exciting array of new and returning classes in almost every shop this summer, making it possible for you to learn how to cheaply and quickly replicate 3D printed parts, drive a powerful CNC machine with HSMWorks, sketch like a designer/ engineer, control robots or electronics with the Raspberry Pi or the Arduino + Simulink platform, use a sewing machine, and add images and designs to metal. Learn seven different ways to shape and build metal (check out metalworking & welding below), or learn your way around the woodshop (woodworking). Even learn to brew your own kombucha or ginger beer!

And there’s much more. But whatever you choose, we look forward to seeing you explore this summer. Check out the full list of current offerings below.

Assorted Other & Multimedia

  • Hacker Junk Mosaics, 12-3pm Sunday, August 11 — Looking for an accessible entry point into making? Sign up for a fun afternoon of computer parts and collage! Combine the colors and patterns of 2D materials with the shapes and forms of 3D objects. Delve into Melissa’s collection of recycled papers and electronic parts, or bring your own! Taught by Melissa Glick, artist, educator, and avid creative recycle enthusiast.
  • NEW! Functional Parts: Moldmaking for 3D Prints, 7-9:30pm Mondays, August 12-26 — Have you ever wanted to make multiples from your 3D print? Or make it in a different color or material? This class explores mold making and casting specifically for 3D prints. Come with a print ready and make a series of replicas, while learning about your options for materials and processes! Taught by Kat Ely, artist and sculptor and owner of her own design and fabrication prototyping business.
  • NEW! Kombucha & Ginger Beer: Introduction to Fermentation Workshop & Tasting, 5:30-8:30pm Saturday, August 17 — Join us for a fun “night out” maker style! Learn the basics of dealing with live cultures at home while tasting a variety of home-brewed kombuchas and ginger beers. Walk away with your own fermentation starter kit and all the information you need to get started on your first batch! Taught by Jimmie Rodgers, longtime and multifaceted maker and educator, founding Asylum member, and experienced homebrew enthusiast.

Bicycle Building & Maintenance

  • Bicycle Maintenance I, 7-9pm Thursdays, August 1-22 — 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 Wednesdays, September 425 — 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.
  • Wheelbuilding, 7-9pm Thursdays, September 5-26 — Build your very own hand-built bicycle wheel! You will learn to lace, center, true and tension your own rear wheel. Taught by Seven.
  • Build Your Own Bike Frame, 10am-1pm Saturdays, September 14 – October 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 lugged construction. Taught by Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer.

Business & Marketing

  • Business Consulting for Artists & Makers: Office Hours, By Appointment — This is a FREE service offered to Artisan’s Asylum members. Dan Trajman holds open hours by appointment for anyone who would like consultation on business-related concerns: register now to reserve a slot!
  • Arts Marketing for Artists & Makers: Office Hours, 6-9pm Wednesdays — FREE consultations offered to all Boston area artists, makers, and craftspeople by Jesa Damora of FunnelCake Marketing. If you have a project you’d like to publicize or get off the ground; if you have creative goals that require resources, leverage, and nurturing; or if you just need to rant about (and maybe get some traction on) making an art life happen for yourself, this is the place to be. By appointment and drop-in.

Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing

  • NEW! HSMWorks for CNC Machining, 5-7pm Fridays, July 19 – August 9 — Looking to use higher end CNC machining tools to create 2-D and 3-D forms and prototypes? Get familiar with the controls software you’ll need to take a solid model for a wood, plastic, or aluminum prototype and select tools, speeds and feeds, and machining operations and translate them into G-code. Necessary to use the Multicam Industrial CNC Router, for which tool training will finally be available in July. Taught by Doug Ruuska, recovering physicist, artist, designer and fabricator.
  • NEW! Introduction to the Multicam Industrial CNC Router, 5-7pm Thursdays, July 18 – August 8 — Want to build big? Learn to use the industrial Multicam CNC router! Able to cut 2- and 3-dimensional shapes from full-size, inches-thick sheets of wood, plastics, and aluminum, this machine is the largest computer-controlled cutter currently in our shops. In this month-long intensive training, learn everything you need to know to operate the machine safely and independently. HSMWorks training a prerequisite. Taught by Doug Ruuska.
  • Introduction to 3D Modeling, 7-9:30pm Wednesdays, July 19 – August 14 — Come learn how to use Solidworks at Artisan’s Asylum to create 3D models of parts you can make in our shops! 3D modeling software is used worldwide in professional settings like engineering, product design, and more. Designing parts in 3D modeling environments allows you to develop an idea in full before you cut any material, and then either make parts automatically on computer-enabled tools or develop a set of drawings that allow you or other people to create your parts from plans. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti, professional roboticist, founder of Artisan’s Asylum, mechanical lead of Project Hexapod, and contestant on the Discovery Channel’s new design/build show, The Big Brain Theory.
  • Tool Training: CNC Plasma Cutter, 7-10pm Mondays — Learn how to use the Asylum’s new computer-controlled, water-cooled plasma cutter to cut any shape you want out of a 4’x8′ sheet of metal! In this class, we’ll show you how to translate your hand sketches and CAD drawings into patterns cut out of any metal sheet up to an inch thick at rates of up to 200 inches per minute. Taught by Gui Cavalcanti.
  • Tool Training: CNC Woodcutting Router, Sundays, 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. Training in generating 2D CAD files and tool paths available separately. Taught by Judah Sher (see above).
  • Tool Training: 3D Printer, Sundays, 4-6pm — This class trains students to operate the uPrint SE Plus 3D printer independently, whenever they need projects made. Training in generating 3D models in STL file format available separately, in the Introduction to 3D Modeling class. Taught by Peter Montgomery, student and rapid prototyping enthusiast.

Design & Engineering

  • NEW! Design Drawing for Makers, 4-6pm Sundays, July 28 – August 18 — With all the focus on new digital design and modeling technologies, it’s easy to forget the value of hand drawing. Most designers still start their process with hand sketches – on paper you can quickly simplify complex spatial problems or evaluate iterations and variations of a product’s design. In this four-week course we will demystify drawing and break it down into its essential components to give students the skills to clearly communicate their 3D concepts in a 2D format. Taught by Andrew Edman, artist and fabricator who co-runs Plus Fabrication.
  • Mechanical Design for Makers, 7-9:30pm Tuesdays, September 10 – October 29 — Have you ever wanted to make a thing, but had no idea how to design it? Take Mechanical Design for Makers, where you’ll learn the fundamentals of mechanical design by competing in a series of light-hearted, increasingly more difficult design/build exercises over the course of 2 months! Taught by Gui Cavalcanti, professional roboticist, founder of Artisan’s Asylum, mechanical lead of Project Hexapod, and contestant on the Discovery Channel’s new design/build show, The Big Brain Theory.

Electronics & Robotics

  • FREE! Circuit Hacking Night, 6-8pm Wednesdays — Come play with electronics at Artisan’s Asylum! For newbies and experienced hackers alike, one night a week the electronics & robotics lab will be open to the public — there will be a free introductory soldering lesson, electronics kits on hand for sale for those who wish to make things, and experienced hackers and engineers around to answer all your questions. Feel free to bring your own projects to work on if you have them! Run by Jimmie Rodgers, professional hacker and instructor and Artisan’s Asylum electronics lab monitor.
  • Introduction to Arduino, 7:30-9:30pm Mondays, July 8 – August 5 — Learn how to program and use an Arduino! This easy-to-learn open source microcontroller board takes all sorts of sensor inputs, follows user-generated programs, and outputs data and power. Arduinos are commonly used in robotics, mechatronics, and all manners of electronics projects around the world. Taught by David Stokes, professional software developer with a long previous career as a technical artist in the video game industry, electronics enthusiast, and longtime Asylum member, instructor and volunteer.
  • NEW! Introduction to Robot Control Systems: Arduino + Simulink, 7:30-10pm Thursdays, August 1-29 — In this exciting new class, learn robot control systems software straight from the experts! Over 5 weeks, This project-based course will teach you how to design control systems with Simulink and deploy them onto a Rover 5 platform-based robot automated by the Arduino Mega 2560. Taught by employees of MathWorks (makers of MATLAB and Simulink) this course will highlight how simulation of systems can rapidly accelerate controller design. Sponsored by MathWorks, all proceeds from this class will go to benefit Artisan’s Asylum.
  • Introduction to Raspberry Pi, 7:30-9:30pm Tuesdays, August 6-27 — The Raspberry Pi is one of the most groundbreaking pieces of electronics of the last year. This single board computer is inexpensive yet comes packed with ethernet, USB, a high powered graphics engine, digital I/O ports and enough CPU power to accomplish your projects. In this class, learn how the Raspberry Pi can bridge the gap between the Internet and the physical as the brains behind all your projects. Taught by Eric Friedrich, professional software engineer, maker, and member of the team that built the Radioshack-competition-winning Laser Harp.

Fiber Arts

  • Introduction to Sewing, 7-9pm Thursdays, July 11-25 — 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 3-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. Taught by Carolyn Emberley, lifelong maker and artist, and longtime Asylum member, volunteer, and sewing and woodworking instructor.
  • NEW! Machine Sewing Crash Course, 11am-2pm Saturday, August 3 — The perfect class if you want to quickly get up to speed on the down and dirty basics of machine sewing. You’ll learn forward and backward stitches, how to thread the machine, how to wind a bobbin, and how to sew in a straight line and turn a corner. Come out of the class with a home-made pillowcase or tote bag and the basic skills you need to operate a sewing machine for simple projects. Taught by Carolyn Emberley.
  • Make-Your-Own Pattern: 1-Day Skirt Workshop, 11am-5pm Saturday, August 17 — You’ll come out of this fun, short class with a completed skirt that you can wear and a custom-made pattern to take home! You will learn how to measure yourself to create either a pencil skirt or circle skirt without using a pattern. This can be a stretchy or woven fabric skirt. Taught by Carolyn Emberley.

Jewelry & Metalsmithing

  • NEW! Introduction to Electrolytic Etching, 11:30am-6pm Sunday, August 4 — Put some art on your metal! In this one-day, workshop-format class you will get a crash course in the increasingly popular electrolytic, or galvanic, etching process. This environmentally-friendly process for creating clean, beautiful etchings in metal plates through the use of electricity, without exposure to harmful fumes or caustic chemicals common to acid etching techniques, dates from the 19th Century. Taught by David Dowling, professional large-scale metal fabricator and artist, Asylum member and instructor.
  • Tool Training: Hot Craft Studio Jewelry Shop Thursdays, by Appointment — Students will learn the proper use and location of all the tools in the studio and to operate the acetylene gas tank, set up a soldering area, turn on and off the tank, use the polishing set up, the rolling mill, and the flex shaft. The perfect way to get trained up to operate independently in the Jewelry shop if you don’t have time for a long-form class. Testing necessary to be checked off to work on your own, available by appointment. Taught by Karen Christians, professional jewelry maker, metal smith, tool designer, writer and educator, and leader of the jewelry studio at Artisan’s Asylum.


  • Tool Training: Manual Milling Machine, 7-9:30pm alternate Thursdays — One-session basic training on the Asylum’s Bridgeport Vertical Milling Machines. See registration for exact dates available. Taught by Danaan Metge, mechanical engineer, maker, prototyper, and Artisan’s Asylum member.
  • Tool Training: Manual Metalworking Lathe, 7:30-10pm alternate Mondays — Basic training on the Asylum’s Colchester/Clausing Metalworking Lathe. No additional testing necessary. See registration for exact dates available. Taught by Paul Carson, professional engineer, metalworking enthusiast, and bike builder.
  • Tool Training: CNC Mill, 2:30-5pm alternate Saturdays — Basic training on the Asylum’s Sharp Vertical Milling Machine with MillPwr CNC Servo Controller. Requires previous training on manual milling machine operations. No additional testing necessary. See registration for exact dates available. Taught by Paul Carson, professional engineer, metalworking enthusiast, and bike builder.

Metalworking & Welding

  • NEW! Tool Training: MIG Welder, 7-9pm alternate Tuesdays in July — Looking for an introduction or refresher to using the MIG welder? This training will get you up and running and ready to take on your own projects.  Taught by Paul Carson, mechanical engineer, bicycle framebuilder and metal fabricator.
  • Tool Training: Oxy-Acetylene Welding, Cutting, & Heating, 7-10pm Thursday, July 18 and Thursday, August 22 — 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, mechanical engineer, bicycle framebuilder and metal fabricator.
  • DIY Kinetic Sculpture: Tabletop Flying Machine, 1-5pm Saturday & Sunday, July 27 & 28 — Motion is mesmerizing, especially when it’s art. In this weekend workshop, make a kinetic machine that mimics winged flight to grace your tabletop. Learn brazing and small metal working skills as well as basic mechanical concepts of rotary to linear motion. Taught by Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and longtime Asylum member and instructor. Also available August 17 & 18.
  • Introduction to TIG Welding, 7:30-9:30pm Mondays, July 29 – August 19 — 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. Also available in September.
  • Sculptural Metalworking, 6:30-9:30pm Tuesdays, July 30 – August 20 — Ecco’s popular metal sculpture class returns! This class is intended to be an introduction to sculptural metalworking techniques, featuring MIG welders, spot welders, and cold forming. Students will learn how to express themselves artistically through steel. Taught by Ecco, professional illustrator, mixed-media artist and sculptor and longtime Asylum member and instructor.
  • Metalworking Intensive, 7-10pm Wednesdays, July 31 – August 21 — 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 Paul Carson, Asylum member, engineer, and self-taught bicycle designer, and David Dowling, Asylum member, metal artist and fabricator. Also available in September.
  • Introduction to Brazing, 7-9:30pm Thursdays, August 1-15 — 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, mechanical engineer, bicycle framebuilder and metal fabricator.

Screen Printing

  • Single-Color Screen Printing: A One-Day Introduction, 11am-4pm Saturday, August 10 — 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.


  • Woodworking: Guided Projects, 7-9:30pm Mondays, Sessions July 8 & 15, 22 & 29, and August 5 & 12 — Create your own woodworking class! In this guided independent project format, students can get assistance with new projects, unfinished projects, one-on-one power and hand tool training, material recommendations, design advice, finishing tips, tool purchasing, vendors and more. All skill levels and all projects welcome! Registration is available for 2-week sessions — sign up for as many sessions as you need. Taught by Peter Montague, master woodworker and graduate of the North Bennett St. School, and longtime Asylum member and woodworking instructor.
  • Introduction to Wood Lathe, 7-10pm Mondays, July 15-29 — 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.
  • Intro to Woodworking: Build a Box, 7-10pm Wednesdays, July 24 – August 21 — 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.