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.



Maker TV Show





Make48 is a exciting and informative PBS show for makers. In every episode, teams compete to design and make a new product within a 48-hour time span. Only an idea is necessary as competitors get help with prototyping, etc.

MAKE48 is an exciting look at the entire invention process from idea to store shelf. In this unique series, teams compete to develop a new product idea, plan it, make a prototype and pitch it – all in just 48 hours. In the first four episodes, the viewer is immersed in the action as the invention process unfolds. With the constant pressure of the ‘ticking clock,’ the teams brainstorm, design and build their ideas in order to pitch a working prototype to a team of industry-savvy judges. Industry A-listers roam the competition floor and give advice on all facets of product design and development, and a panel of industry experts weigh in on the prototype’s function and marketability.

Unlike other maker competitions on TV, viewers and teams learn much about the process and tools. Additionally, the show’s website ( provides many resources for inventors and makers.

You can even apply to have your team compete!

You can view past episodes on the website ( or locally on WTTW on Fridays at 6:30pm and 11:30pm.




Summer Saturday Open Lab Hours


SouthWorks will be open earlier on Saturdays during the summer. Beginning June 2 through August 11th, the Lab will be open from 9am to 1pm. From August 18th until Labor Day, the MakerLab will be closed for maintenance and vacation.



Give Your Mother A Personalized Vase for Mother’s Day















Mothers love handmade items. Express your love with a beautiful vase etched with the sentiment or image of your choice. Learn the simple design software and etch with our programmable laser etcher to create a lasting memory.

We’ll supply the 3 1/2 inch diameter and 8 inch high round vase. Bring your design idea. Images, even photos from your phone, can be etched.

Cost: $25

Limited to 8 participants



Tuesday, May 1st, 5:30pm to 9:00pm