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.



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



Help Us Build An SLA Printer


Henry Locke, Maker extraordinaire and creator of Flex Vat 3D printer components, will be at SouthWorks to help us build the SLA printer he demoed earlier this summer.

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! It is great for intricate designs for jewelry and other items.

Henry has updated his design and we’ll be building it on September 9th. Drop by for part of the day or the whole day. No tools or expertise required.

Watch a video of the SLA printing a heart!

DATE: Saturday, September 9, 2017

TIME: 10:00am to 4:00pm


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 »


OAI Summer Campers Visit SouthWorks


Nine middle school and high school students whose parents participate in OAI’s workforce training programs spent four afternoons recently building things in the MakerLab. They learned 2D design and the capabilities of the laser cutter to create a backup hanger.

Next, they spent the afternoon in a virtual world with game designer Malcolm Williams. He brought in his Virtual Reality setup and the students were able to draw in 3D- moving around what they had created as if it was hanging in the air. They also had fun exploring the insides of the Great Pyramids and then dodging zombies.

They learned about 3D printing and created 3D designs (below) using Sculptris. We 3D printed their creations so they could take them home.

Lastly, they build a table top robot which learned to scramble around a table but always turn around just before it looked as if it was going to fall off. They designed stickers for the robots to personalize them. Below is an angry rabbit/robot crab!


Purdue Northwest’s Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center Adds Co-Working Space


Purdue Northwest just off the Tri-State on Indianapolis Blvd. in Hammond will open a co-working space at its CMEC. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be August 8th at 10am and open house tours will go on throughout that week.

Amenities include fast wi-fi, coffee, access to meeting space, 24/7 keyed access, workshops and networking events, access to the enterpreneur-in-residence and more.

CMEC also provides access to Purdue business, engineering, and manufacturing students and faculty to help you produce your physical product. Once you’ce developed a minimal prototype ( at SouthWorks, of course!) CMEC will be able to guide you through the production design process.

Find out more at https://centers.pnw.edu/cmec/



Etsy Crafter Business Gets Going in MakerLab


Larry Banach, a grad of our most recent Etsy class, has found a great niche re-purposing finely-crafted cigar boxes into marketing opportunities for local businesses. The boxes have interesting shapes and wonderful finishes and grains. Larry adds logos and non-cigar related enterprises love the impact.