Make Your Own Conversation Hearts


Can’t find Conversation Hearts this year? The ones you find don’t have quite the message that you want to convey?

Phil has created the solution. With the laser, he has created his own conversation hearts. They’re about 1 inch in size and, while they’re not edible, they can get your message across in fine detail. These hearts really show off the amazing detail that the laser can deliver. They’re only 1 inch but the text and background come out amazingly clear.

Stop by and create your own!


Learn About 3D Printing And Doing Intricate Castings

3D printed original
Silicone mold

You can 3D print objects, primarily in plastic. However, you can also create 3D models which you can then use to make castings in other materials- jewelry in precious metals, figurines, miniatures, railroad and other collectibles, and even chocolate.

Henry Locke, Maker extraordinaire and creator of Flex Vat 3D printer components, built one of his 3D printers for us. SLA printing uses a vat of light sensitive resin cured by a video projector to create amazingly detailed forms- think Terminator with the alien rising out of the vat of goop!

The main focus of the presentation will be how to make silicone molds from 3d printed masters and using those molds to make castings:

  • Learn how the SLA printer works
  • Tips for designing and printing your 3D object to be casting-friendly
  • We’ll have one or more 3D prints to demo
  • We’ll make a silicone mold and make one or more polyurethane castings but also discuss how to work with other materials.

Watch a video of the SLA printing a heart! (

This event is free.

DATE: March 9, 2019

TIME: 1pm to 3pm


Learn To Solder Workshop


Learn the art of soldering electronics. When you build electronics, you solder the wires and components together or to the board so that the electrical connections are made. Learn a steady hand to make those solders while you build a sound sensor machine.

No experience necessary

DATE: Saturday, March 30

TIME: 10am to 1pm

COST: $25

Register Here


Special Electronics Workshop – February 9th


Only 4 spots are left.

Our most popular workshop is back! Attend while Robin is still available!

Learn the basics for micro-controller coding and project design in our workshop hosted by Robin Mosely, Great Lakes IT, Inc., CEO and a former Bell Labs board designer. Robin has lots of examples- from robots to music synthesizers to motion detectors and machine controllers- to get you interested in your next project.

The workshop provides basics for creating and programming your own projects using Arduino. And Robin can answer ANY question you have about electronics!

Lunch is included.

WHEN: February 9, 2019 from 10am to 2pm

WHERE: SouthWorks MakerLab, 208 Forest Blvd., Park Forest, IL 60466

Cost: $40 at the door. We accept credit cards.

Since we only have 4 open spots, you must RSVP to in order to attend.


Special Drop-In Valentine’s Workshop

Valentine’s Day card- etched

Not sure what to do for your Sweetie for Valentine’s Day? Have an idea but you also want to get extra points for making something?

Saturday, February 9th, during our regular Open Lab Hours (1pm to 5pm), Phil is going to be demonstrating how, and helping you, to make one-of-a-kind Valentine’s cards. Cutout cards, personalized etched messages and images, picture frames, and more are all possible to complete in one visit.

Of course, you’re also welcome to come in to make many other Valentine’s gifts- personalized wine glasses and accessories and more.

Custom-designed box makes gift of wine even more special.

Laser Cut Project

Laser cut Marble Maze

Anyone who has visited the lab knows how much we like to show off the kerf cut samples to demonstrate the precision cutting of the laser. The kerf designs turn solid pieces of material into flexible objects- with flexibility determined by the design of the kerf. One design even turns the solid sheet into something more like sponge- flexible in all directions!

Al made a marble maze and used kerfed boards to create the curved walls of the maze. Looks amazing. The kerfs even add an artistic touch to the maze.


Santa’s Workshop Has Been Busy


Makers have been busy creating many holiday gifts (we won’t spoil the surprise and show them before Christmas) and decorating items. Here’s just a sample of the decorations that you can come in and make:

Laser Cutting:

Tabletop Christmas trees built around a mini-globe ornament

Votive candle etched with holiday wishes.

3D Sleigh to hold flowers, candy, etc.

3D reindeer

3D Printed



Sleigh and reindeer

CNC Router

Snowman candy dish


Create Your Own Snowflakes


Take snowflake making to a whole new level with an online snowflake creator that’s really easy to use. Yet, you can make simple as well as sophisticated designs.

You draw lines in the triangle on the right and, like a hall of mirrors or kaleidoscope, it duplicates your design in the 11 other triangles that make up a whole snowflake- giving you an amazing design quickly and easily. You see and edit your designs on the screen, so you can experiment without cutting up a whole ream of paper. Then, download the design to print and cut it out by hand. Even easier, bring the design file and some paper to the MakerLab and cut out dozens with the laser cutter to decorate your tree!

Edit by adding new lines, moving red dots, etc. When your sub-design is done, hit add. You can still add or edit more. At the bottom, the green box allows you to download to your device to print, etc.


New Projects


Al is always coming up with some new creations to dazzle us. This time, he used the laser to build a toolbox/tote that uses no glue or fasteners. It’s held together just by the fit of the tabs and a couple keys. Really clever, useful, and beautiful.






He also recreated an old Jenga-style game he call Piranha Pile-up. The pieces- in the shape of fish- roughly fit together enough to keep from falling when stacked on the base. The object is to add your piranha and not make the pile-up crash down. Colorful and fun.


Halloween Projects


Phil did his annual Pumpkin etching- this time a series of Sugar Skull designs. And, other Makers created some ghoulish LED signs. We’re open Halloween night. Come in and make something scary.