TechShop: Laser and CNC Embroiderer SBU

TechShop: Laser and CNC Embroiderer SBU

I’m going high-tech for the next month with a membership at the TechShop! TechShop is a place where you can basically make anything. It’s a little hard to describe, but it’s like a wood shop, except there are all kinds of machines and not just woodworking ones – laser cutters, metal tools, welding, electronics, long-arm quilters, sewing machines, vinyl cutters… all of which I’ll have access to for the next month. My friend also has a membership and he’s already made his own 3D printer. Pretty incredible!

It’s a little overwhelming because one month is a very limited amount of time to not only learn to use the tools but also design projects for them. I need to make vector and raster images so I can print from these CNC machines, so it’s been like a crash course in Illustrator and other programs. I’ve had very limited experience playing around with design programs, so I’m excited for an excuse to learn – I just wish I had more time.

My projects also are never this high-tech, so I don’t even think this way, if that makes sense. I don’t have a backlog of projects that I’ve been waiting to laser cut (although I have been wanting to make  adult merit badges for some time!) so I’m having to invent projects to make. I’ve resorted to making things that are kind of silly but exist no where else in the world. If I don’t make these things, who will?! 🙂 But more on that later.

I decided to target two main machines for my month of TechShop: the laser cutter, and the CNC Embroiderer. Besides being generally awesome, I figure I could cut out some cool earrings on the laser. And I have a vague desire to print out adult merit badges, though no concrete ideas. I took those two intro classes, and made some sample projects.

The “Geek!” badge was already loaded onto the embroidery machine but I got to choose the colors. I also took a class on using the embroidery design software – that was so amazingly incredible, I will have to write about it in more detail later. I customized the text on the dog tag… haha, I didn’t know what to put on it! I briefly contemplated putting my name and phone number so it would actually be useful but decided to go the more frivolous route. I credit my instructor for not questioning/blinking an eye at “MMM Meatburger Cat”.

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