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



SouthWorks Robotics and Engineering Olympics April 14th


This year, we are again involved in the SouthWorks Robotics Competition.  Thirteen local high schools and their corporate sponsors/mentors participated in last year’s inaugural event. This year we have 21 teams! 

See some great high school students compete in sumo robot battles, VEX robotics challenges, Pathfinder, Autonomous Racer, Catapult accuracy, and more.

The MakerLab will be closed on April 14th as we all volunteer as judges and other support staff. We hope you’ll be able to attend -even better- please sign up here to volunteer.


Laser Cut Cards



Lately, we’ve had a lot of interest in laser cut cards- from birthday cards and wedding invitations to pop-ups of scenes and even people.




Working with paper, primarily card stock and heavier coated papers, is a lot of fun. Such papers come in a multitude of colors, but also textures and patterns. Faux leather, wood, and metal coatings provide many ways to express yourself with paper.

Because of the thickness of the paper, you can also etch designs and text onto the pages. See the white designs and text on the examples above.





Or, you can print something on the paper first and then create cutouts later using the laser cutter as we did with the Chicago skyline cutout.


Etsy and pinterest are full of examples of laser cut cards, especially wedding invitations. You’ll see how expensive they can be to purchase, but with a little time and effort at the makerlab you can make your own unique versions for a fraction  of the cost. We’d be happy to help you get started.

Because the papers vary so much, laser cutting the paper is a bit trial and error, so bring a few pieces to experiment with.


Attendees Have Fun At Arduino/Electronics Workshop


This past Saturday, workshop attendees had fun learning circuit design and micro-controller programming using Arduinos. Students programmed flashing LEDs in various sequences, sounds using a piezo speaker, and more.

Flashbacks to the ’80s and 90’s occurred as the theme songs of PacMan and Star Wars came from the Arduino boards.







Our instructor, Robin Moseley,  a former Bell Labs scientist who designed microcontrollers and other hardware and software, explained what a microcontroller is, circuit design, and the many uses of Arduinos and  similar boards. He brought in many of the projects he has built with Arduinos, including drones, robots light displays, sound synthesizers, music samplers and connected devices (Nest, Alexa, etc.) sorts of things that can be easy DIY projects.
















Students left with a full development kit including the Arduino, breadboard for wiring circuits prior to soldering permanent connections, sensors and resources to find and make more projects.



Valentine Keepsake Box Class


The Valentine Keepsake Box workshop this past weekend produced some creative designs. Some experimented with inlays- cutting out hearts or roses from the top of the box and filling those cuts with deep red acrylic cutouts of the same pattern.













Don’t worry. If you’re still looking for a creative gift, our laser etch wine glass class is Saturday, February 3rd . Visit eventbrite to register.