Happy Holidays- Resolve to Make in 2018


The MakerLab was humming over the holidays as makers were creating hand-crafted gifts and decorations. Everything from LED decorations, gift boxes, smartphone accessories, and more. Personalized glassware and metal insulated mugs were especially popular. One maker had a set of glassware etched with the name of each of her holiday party guests, and they were thrilled to take them home!

Hope you were able to stop by to get one of our Holiday decorations.






if you didn’t have a chance to create handmade gifts for Christmas, remember that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner! Open Lab hours continue – Monday and Wednesday evenings 5:30pm to 8:30 pm and Saturdays from 1pm to 5pm.


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


Vote For Us: SouthWorks Robotics Competition Is A Finalist For the Chicago Innovation Awards


After only one year of competition, our regional High School robotics and engineering competition is a top contender for the 16th Annual Chicago Innovation Award. The awards celebrate the most innovative new products and services in the Chicago region. Over 1500 business and civic leaders will come together on October 30th at Chicago’s Harris Theatre to celebrate the winners.Out of 530 nominees, we have been selected as a finalist for Neighborhood Award and Peoples’ Choice.

Please Vote for SouthWorks Here

(look for the name “Chicago Southland Economic Development Corp.)

Voting Deadline is October 5th



Join SouthWorks at Maker Faire August 19th; Kids Free


STEM Education, Vintage Military Trucks, 3D Printers, and Local Crafts

Chicago Southland Mini Maker Faire is even bigger than last year! Looking for something to do with your kids? Want to see the latest in tech? Interested in meeting local crafters? We have something for everybody, and with tickets free for 18 and under, how can you pass it up?

Get Tickets TODAY!

Near Space, Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, and More.

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects.

We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth – a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.

Glimpse the future and get inspired!

New Exhibitors


Exhibitor: Veteran’s Garage

Veterans Garage is dedicated to the restoration, preservation, maintenance and display of Historic Military Vehicles.



A 3D printer manufacturing startup from the Chicagoland area, has been working for the last year and a half to bring the next level of open-source hardware to market.

Read more here »