How to make an “Omaha Maker Group” patch!

Our embroidery machine can embroider text and borders very easily thanks to our wonderful donor.

If you are unclear at any step, please consult the babylock manual for the machine. It’s in the drawer labelled “Embroidery Machine Manual”.

You will need at least the medium hoop for our standard patch.

Cut a piece of fabric about 3/4″ larger than the hoop. Cut a piece of embroidery stabilizer that same size. Place the stabilizer over the inner portion of the hoop. Place the fabric over both of these. Then place the outer portion of the hoop over all of that, ensuring the post holes are opening towards the floor and the right-side of your fabric is on top. Flip this over and gently tug the fabric and stabilizer taut. Cinch down the hoop and tug fabric and stabilizer even more taut.

On the machine, ensure the embroidery foot, embroidery needle and embroidery arm are attached. Turn on the machine (do not attach the hoop to the machine yet). The machine will do a calibration. Now attach the hoop.

Hit the white “Embroidery” menu button on the screen.

Click on the on-screen button with a bunch of shapes. This will allow you to create the border. Select the rectangular option and then the solid bold line. On the next screen click the “layout” button. On the layout screen, resize the rectangle to 4.5 cm x 6.3 cm and orient it however you’d please. You’ll need to match this orientation for your words.

If you have not done so, thread the machine with a bobbin matching your fabric (or your top thread) and the top thread in the color of your preference. OMG’s official patch has a dark purple border with a white fabric background.

Lower the presser foot and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have a border.

Clean up the extra few stitches the machine puts in the middle with a seam ripper.

Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Assuming your border is the OMG dark purple, click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Group” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 0.2 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Group”.

Switch the top thread out to light purple. Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Maker” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 1.5 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Maker”.

Switch the top thread out to bright blue. Click the white “Embroidery” button on the screen. Click the letters with the serifs. Click on the “L M S” button until “S” is highlights, and then type in “Omaha” (lower-case letters are in the visual tab below the upper-case letters). Now click “Layout”. Orient the words with your border. Next, position the needle near the bottom middle of the interior of the border. If you’re doing math, it’s 2.25 cm from the bottom.

Again, lower the presser foot (if needed) and click the green back-lit “Start/Stop” button. If this is not green, stop, something’s wrong. Consult the manual or Sarah if she’s available.

In about 3 minutes, you’ll have the word “Omaha”.

Lift the presser foot and pull up the hoop. You now have a completed embroidered pattern! Remove the fabric from the hoop. Removing as much of the backing as you can. Cut a piece of iron-on adhesive to fit the size of your patch. Attach this with an iron per the adhesive’s instructions. Peel off the paper backing from the adhesive. Carefully cut out your patch!

Now, clean up the extra stitches the machine added between each letter and you’re done! Iron-on that patch wherever you please!

Toner Transfer Testing


My wife ask about me lasercutting a sign for some friends, but at the time she ask, our laser was still down for repairs. I remembered Ben doing a toner transfer project several years ago, so I googled it up, and it turned out to be easier than I remembered.

This isn’t intended to be a tutorial, but the general steps are as follows:

  • Print Design on a laser printer (mirrored)
  • Sand wooden surface (I bought a prefab plaque at Michaels 40% off)
  • Tape paper to surface so it doesn’t move around
  • Apply acetone (a little goes a long way)
  • Remove paper before toner bleeds everywhere.
  • Apply clear finish

This was my first try at toner transfer ever, and the photo below wasn’t my final product. The toner doesn’t soak in very deep, so it’s easily sanded off for another attempt.  I ended up resanding and transferring 3 times, due to incomplete transfer or smudging (as below).

Lighter weight paper seemed to work better (the paper at OMG was quite a bit lighter than what I had at home, and worked great) as it didn’t want to soak up so much acetone, and transferred more completely as a result.

Once I was satisfied with the transfer results, a quick coat of spray lacquer finished the project.  Setup, drying and cleanup took the majority of the time and effort here. Total hands-on time was about 15 minutes.

Gingerbread Teaser

While we’re waiting on the “good photos” from Garrick, enjoy these two less good photos I snapped of some our members’ handiwork.  As always, we had quite the turnout for this event, with several members bringing friends and family to play along.

A special thanks to Sarah and Jeff for helping make it go off without a hitch, particularly in the processing and emergency procurement of our frosting supply.

New Ryobi Tool Center

It’s been a few months now, but I’m finally getting to documenting the tool storage wall we built. I found a plan online to build some PVC drill/driver hangers, and adapted it to carry the grinder, glue gun and angle drill by their battery holders.

All the tools in one place!

The slanted pipes below the drills are some spare PVC cemented to a piece of Sintra (which is also PVC, so I used pipe solvent). These tubes, which have since been labeled, hold cylindrical tools, such as our rotary and oscillating multitools and apparently a caulk gun.

If you’re in the market for some drill hangers for yourself, we have a fancy jig built (for 3″ pipe, but 4″ works too), so c’mon down and build some for yourself!

Coming Soon – Drill Torture Tests

Just a sneak preview of an upcoming “project” at OMG… Member Ben found a great old drill at Habitat ReStore, and it spawned a conversation about torture testing various drills under extreme circumstances.  As a test, we pitted Ben’s drill against one of our cordless Ryobis… More “sciencey testing” to follow.

Remember, these sorts of things aren’t really planned or scheduled in advance; the best way to get involved is to show up a the space on our regular Tuesday meeting nights (along with off-week Thursdays, like tomorrow night).  Doors typically open around 5:30, and you’re invited!

Founding Day 2017 – OMG’s 7th Anniversary!

We’re going to be celebrating the Omaha Maker Group’s 7th anniversary on Tuesday, August 29th. As has become our custom, the evening will include dinner, dessert and the awarding of the annual Founders’ Prize. In addition, I’ve dug up some photos from long ago, showing not only the old space, but also our current K Street space as it was when we first moved in.

Dinner starts around 6, meeting and awards at 7, and dessert thereafter. Additionally, we’ve come up with a few interesting things for a raffle, so we’ll be drawing for that after dessert. Still TBD, but there might be a special “show and tell” after dark… I still need to check with Garrick for details though 🙂

This is an “open house”-type event, and members are encouraged to bring guests. It’s a great opportunity to invite your Maker-inclined friends, family and co-workers to see our new and improved space and find out what the Omaha Maker Group is all about.

Please RSVP below, indicating whether you’ll attend for dinner, dessert, both or neither. Since food needs to be ordered in advance, please be RSVP’d by August 25th so we have an accurate-ish headcount.

https://goo.gl/forms/vwAKXQjRkAGilReB2

Vacuum Chamber

What happens when you give makers a vacuum pump and a bin full of components to rummage around in? Watch the videos to find out.

Can you think of something interesting to put in a vacuum chamber? Post in the comments below.