Category Archives: Greencastle’s Makerspace

Shovercraft Build

Basic parts used to make a "shoveable hovercraft"
Basic parts used to make a “shoveable hovercraft”

The mentors have met after our last group meeting and we decided on a Shovercraft as our first group build project. It looks like there will be at least 3 groups of 3-4 kids building one, then we’ll have a competition/race in August.

Our next meeting is Thursday June 12 at 7pm in the Community Room above Eli’s Books just off the square downtown. Please feel free to join us, we have 4 mentors willing to give their time so we can investigate, design, and create these craft for the competition. Even if you haven’t been involved so far, you’re welcome to show up and have your 9-14 year old daughter/son participate in this youth-centered maker club event.

Keep watching our Projects page for more details on how the team builds are going & when we’ll have the challenge/competition for the groups in August.

3D Printers

Smaller RepRap style 3D printer that 3D Parts Manufacturing is offering
Smaller RepRap style 3D printer that 3D Parts Manufacturing is offering.

Many makers have or use a 3D printer. I’m sure there are some here in Putnam County already, but I’d like to see a publicly available one. I’m personally building a 3D SLA printer with some help from some other folks, but would love to connect with other folks near Greencastle that have a 3D printer. Respond to this post or send me an email if you have one. There’s a certain amount of learning in making these work & we can build our skills/knowledge together.

Last week I was able to visit 3D Parts Manufacturing in Indianapolis to see their operation. Neat operation and Kim Brand is doing some real interesting things around 3D printing. If you just look at their website you’d get the impression that they’re mainly involved with the high end 3D printers, and they certainly have those, but they’re also working on creating a program for middle school kids that includes a 3D printer, support, and the lessons to go with it. An IBJ reporter was there the morning I visited and an article on what they’re doing just came out in this week’s Indianapolis Business Journal. I’m hoping to get Kim over here to Greencastle later this year.

There are several different types of 3D printers, explaining some of the nomenclature can help you understand those types.

3D printing is an additive process vs. the traditional subtractive machining used with CNC, lathes, and many other traditional fabrication tools. One of the real breakthroughs in more affordable printers was the open source printers that first started appearing in 2005. Many of these were based on the RepRap design goal to create a machine that could print most of its parts. The RepRap based designs, and most current printers less than $1000, use Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) which extrudes a thermoplastic. But other options are starting to appear including some lower cost Stereolithography (SLA) designs. SLA has traditionally been one of the more expensive 3D printing methods because of the material cost and laser control. I’ll write something on low cost 3D printing methods and the equipment we’re looking at for Castlemakers in a future note.

Youth Maker Group Meeting

Some of the younger kids at the kickoff meeting looking at possible projects we could make.

Thanks to all that made it Monday night at Crown Equipment to the meeting on creating a Putnam County maker group for youth. Seemed like a fairly good turnout for a first time meeting. We had 21 people there by my count – enough to get something going!

We briefly covered what the maker movement is, categories of possible projects, the making process, and some ideas for projects groups could do. There were also some Arduino boards & shields, a small hand built catapult, various magazines full of possible projects, a 3D printed chess set, and lots of pictures of maker groups and built projects. Several people indicated they wanted to come, had conflicts, and to count them in – I’ll get you the info presented. If you’re reading this and interested, drop me an email and I can also send you a copy of the presentation.

People afterwards filling out interest forms.
People afterwards filling out interest forms.

We also gave out some forms to the kids with a listing of possible project categories and a form for possible mentors to list their knowledge/expertise areas. I’ve now got a stack that is apparently bigger than the attendance – some families only were able to send one parent and several people there were representing other families too. It’s going to take me a few days to get through these and compile the list. If you were there at the meeting please be patient until I can read through & summarize the results. If you weren’t there, here’s a copy of the youth interest form and the mentor form. You’ll have to print these out and email them back – or heck maybe in true maker fashion maybe someone can make an online form!!

Greencastle Maker Meeting

IMG_8517_1Mark your calendar for Monday, May 19th to learn more about Castlemakers and what we hope to do in Putnam County. Crown Equipment has been generous enough to let use the Tiger conference room at the plant for us to discuss a maker group for kids 9-14 years old and their parents. And you’re invited!

I’ve described what is a makerspace is in a previous post, but you certainly don’t need one to make something. We need to unleash some of the creativity, innovation, and passion here – especially in our youth. So let’s meet to create a larger group that actually makes things!!

What: Public meeting on Castlemakers for youth-oriented makers and their families.
Where: Crown Equipment, Tiger Conference Room @ 7pm on Monday, May 19th.
Who: Parents and kids wanting to create & build things, along with anyone wanting to help create a local makerspace/fab lab.

At the meeting we’ll briefly go over the Maker movement, describe what we’re doing here in Greencastle, share some ideas of possible projects, and then ask folks to let us know their interests. I’m interested in 3D printers & laser cutters for example, there are others interested in robotics, drones, and hydroponics… well the list could go on and on. The goal is being a community-based group, the get-together is about sharing interests to determine where we can pool resources and share ideas and skills. An open-source model of building and creating things.

Can’t make it to the meeting? Sign up for our email list by sending a note to We’ll send you updates and put you on our list.

Not sure if you want to participate yet or maybe just curious what’s it’s about? Maybe even not sure that you can contribute? That’s fine – just come – Listen, Learn, and leave. Although, our real hope is that you’ll become so excited that you’ll participate. Because that’s what it is really about, creating something with others for enjoyment – and maybe learning a new skill or sharing an old one with other people.

What’s a Makerspace?

Club Cyberia, a Makerspace on the east side of Indianapolis

The majority of people, especially in the Midwest, don’t know what a Makerspace is. A Makerspace may be referred to as a Fab Lab or a Hackerspace (no not a place where people break into online accounts), although most consider them slightly different.

So what is a Makerspace? My definition: A community-operated workspace where people with common interests meet, socialize and collaborate. The focus is on making (design) with lots of hands-on learning, creation, & innovation through participation.

Makers are a community of people that make things. A Makerspace is simply the place and resources that they use to do it. Wikipedia can give you a longer, more in-depth definition and some differences between a Makerspace, Fab Lab, and Hackerspaces.

I personally believe in the group/community portion and the hands-on learning that making something offers. The art of creating physical things sometimes gets lost in today’s online world.

So we’re putting together a community group to do just that – make things. And putting together a list of tools to help people do it. Things like 3D printers and fabrication tools, but those aren’t the centerpiece of what we’re going to create. The centerpiece is the people and the process of making things.

Interested in what we’re doing? Send a note to & we’ll put you on our email list. Tell us how you’d like to help. We’re still organizing, so if you have a passion – express it now & you can help us with the group. You can even suggest some tools you’d like to see in the makerspace.

We’re working on a more public meeting for a youth oriented maker group in late April or early May. Watch for the date and location here.

Greencastle’s Makerspace Intro

Build things to have fun!

Connecting together people in the Putnam County and surrounding area so they can share their idea, their experiences, and help each other to build. And maybe learn something new in the process. Encouraging Innovation in our area.

But more on that later, in the meantime please start checking this blog if you’re interested in Innovation, local STEM events, and our developing Makerspace organization.