3D Geography


Pictures and maps really don’t give you a full idea of the scope of geographic and architectural features. Such 2D tools can’t show height or depth well.

Now you can 3D print any place on earth to get a greater sense of the terrain. Plus, many important buildings and other man-made structures are now available to be downloaded and 3D printed.

I’ve never been to the Grand Tetons, so I used a free STL mapper to print it out:

3D print of the Grand Tetons from actual USGS data

i could have done my neighborhood or even Antarctica if I wanted.

I found Fallingwater- one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpieces- on a website and printed that out, too. The great thing about it is that it includes the terrain around the house.  You can see how FLW located the house on the lot and how it fits into its surroundings. I had known that a stream ran through the building, but only with the 3D model was I able to actually figure out how.



Come in and we’ll be happy to show you how you can use this software and locate models to use in your class or as conversation pieces.


LED Message Board


Make an LED lit message board by etching a permanent design onto clear acrylic, then use neon chalk or dry erase markers to add a custom message. Great for messages, menu boards, and more.


Floating LED light workshop


We had a great workshop this past Saturday. Makers created beautiful night lights, gifts, and holiday decorations.

The item is constructed so that the clear acrylic sign is removable, so you can create additional signs and switch them out with the season, holiday, etc. Besides laser etching the image on the clear sign, we assembled the LED elements and nailed small clamps into the base to hold the LED strip. 

etched sign
sign with neon marker message added

We also found that neon dry erase markers and chalk shine when the LEDs are on, so you can have a permanent design on the sign and add messages with the markers. You can create message boards, menu boards and more with such a system.



Special Event- Create Your Own Flexagon- The Next Gen Fidget Spinner



Tired of Fidget Spinners? Want something unique? Flexagons are the next evolution of fidget spinners. Every time you fold them you get a new pattern.



The Flexagon Zoo for Makers – A Geometric Paper Artwork Design Workshop


They’ve entertained Nobel Laureates with their blend of art and mathematical secrets. Learn the history, construction, and beauty of flexagons from a world-renowned expert as you design your own.

This hands-on workshop introduces Flexagons for Makers.  Participants will learn how to create Flexagons from Triangles, Squares, Trapazoids, and other geometric shapes.  Flexing a Flexagon reveals numerous different faces hiding within the paper model and decorated with creative artwork of your choice.  This Workshop introduces the history, geometry, and construction for hexaflexagons, square flexagons, dodecaflexagons, and many others.  Participants will make flexagons from paper templates and will be able to use their own creativity to design the faces for a hexaflexagon and a square flexagon. The instructor will have numerous flexagons of all variations for participants to view.


Robin Moseley is the creator of the “Flexagon Portal” which has been the number 1 ranking flexagon website for over 10 years on Google search.  Robin has been referenced in numerous flexagon publications, videos, and books for his ideas and research on flexagons.


Register at: https://southworks-makerlab-flexagon-17oct28.eventbrite.com



Halloween Decorations at the MakerLab


Besides the usual holiday decals and stickers we cut with the vinyl cutter and the various cutouts and displays you can do with the laser cutter and the ghosts and goblins we 3D print, Phil found a way to etch Halloween designs into pumpkins using the rotary attachment! After etching, a coat of pottery glaze seals the deal.


Easy 3D Design




One of the favorite projects at SouthWorks is creating 3D printed bugs and monsters using Sculptris software. Many people are at first intimidated when they hear about 3D design and think about the heavy duty industrial CAD/CAM programs that take years to master and cost $1,000s each year.

Sculptris is more art-oriented and intuitive. Plus, it’s free!

From elementary school students to senior citizens, everyone seems to get the hang of it within minutes. Think of a ball of clay and how you would create something with it. You’d pull, twist, compress, stretch, etc. until you molded the clay into whatever you’re designing. Sculptris works the same way. You start with a ball of material on the screen and use a handful of simple tools to pull, compress, stretch it into a shape. You can add additional balls of material to make more complex shapes, and you can then paint the shapes on the screen.

From Sculptris website gallery

Finally, you can then send them to the 3D printer.

Below are some recent examples done by SouthWorks clients:

Sculptris example1 Sculptris example4  Sculptris example2Sculptris example3


Opportunity Works Visits SouthWorks


The 18 participants in OAI’s Opportunity Works manufacturing jobs training program spent the day in the MakerLab learning design software and laser cutter operations.

 Medallion wood etch




Each of them left with a medallion they designed and ran through the machine. A number of them vowed to return to work on additional designs for personal items and gifts.


Homemade Fossil

Laser etching into sandstone

A recent trip to the beach on a blazing hot, end-of-September weekend turned up several relatively flat, smooth sandstone rocks. The only thing missing was a fossil, so Phil fired up the laser and with a few tweaks to the settings produced our own fossil. He has etched into granite and marble before, but this turned out even better. The bluish tint of the etching really adds to the effect.