Time to start fixing things again!

Who remembers having a View-Master as a kid? You know…that plastic binoculars-looking toy that used thin cardboard disks containing seven stereoscopic 3D images. Well, somebody gave my kids an electric Star Wars version this year for the holidays. Instead of holding it up to your eyes this new toy projects images onto a wall and comes with 3D glasses for super special viewing.


Needless to say they were excited to have their very own “holoprojector”. We quickly opened the box, put in the batteries (not included), turned off the lights, and hit the power button. Immediately we saw an amazingly clear image showing several Star Wars characters!! But before we could even get our 3D glasses on the image disappeared. I toggled the power switch a couple times and the image came back. Then gone. Then back. This continued for awhile with three very sad little kids. At this point I switched into geek mode and started to troubleshoot the problem. I quickly realized that if I left the projector on the image would come and go at random intervals. It was clear that we had a defective device and unfortunately did not have any receipt. If this would have happened to me 2 years ago I probably would have thrown the toy away and moved on. But since starting PaxSpace my childhood love of tinkering has returned and I was determined to figure out what was wrong.

When we returned home after the holidays I took the toy over to PaxSpace and immediately started to take things apart. If you don’t already know I am a Computer Scientist so my knowledge of electronics is just enough to be dangerous. But I did know that its always smart to start by checking each of the electrical connections. The projector light was obviously getting power but something was causing it to cycle at random. As I worked through the connections I noticed that there was a resistor which appeared to have a very poorly soldered connection.


Firing up one of our irons I quickly re-soldered this connection as well as all of the others for good measure. Then I put the batteries back in and hit the power button half expecting nothing to work. I was wrong! The projector came right on and more importantly stayed on! I had done it and knew I would be a hero to my three children!


It was also a small victory for me too. I did not let this cheap little toy beat me and just end up as trash in some landfill. I took the time to find out what was wrong and was able to fix it in less time than it would have taken for me to buy a new one. That, my friends, is why PaxSpace exists. Tinker on!

Nick, VP

PaxSpace Kids Micro Pumpkin Chuckin’

At our PaxSpace Kids Lab two months ago we had a blast building bridges using nothing more than popsicle sticks. There was one problem…we still had a ton of popsicle sticks left over. We’ve been trying to come up with another fun activity using the same materials and finally decided it was time to build catapults! With popsicles sticks?! Yes! We will be holding our first PaxSpace Kids Micro Pumpkin Chuckin’ event. During the event we will discuss many different types of medieval ballistic weapons and, given time, attempt to build as many as possible. Our ammunition will be those tiny little candy pumpkins all kids love!

There is no cost for this event but space is limited so please register here.

Please contact Nick Clark directly if you have any questions.

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Fall Open House

Now that fall weather has finally started to descend on Southern Maryland it is time to start thinking about how to stay warm. Why not join PaxSpace?! With our three (almost four!) 3D printers, CNC router, laser engraver (coming soon), computer lab, electronics shop, and full wood shop we’re sure there is something for everyone. Come by to see for yourself what PaxSpace has to offer!

In addition to having the space open for tours we will also be building a Laser Engraver. Throughout the day, members and visitors will be able to partake in the design, sourcing, fabrication, and assembly of all of the parts necessary to build a tool capable of cutting paper as well as engraving on wood and plastic/acrylic. It is our intention to have a moving platform and the ability to cut paper finished before the end of the open house.

Please contact us if you have any questions or need more information!

The What:
PaxSpace Fall Open House

  • Meet our board and other members
  • Learn more about our PaxSpace Kids Crew and Lab programs
  • See one of our 3D printers in action!
  • On-going PaxSpace demonstrations
  • Help us build a Laser Engraver (or just watch)

The open house is also a chance to meet some of our instructors and discuss what classes we offer. This is your chance to tell us what you want us to be teaching!

The When:
Sunday, November 16th, 2014 from 11am until 5pm

The Where:
44178 Airport View Dr
Building 2, Bay 13
Hollywood, MD 20636

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Help us grow!

As we approach the one year anniversary of PaxSpace opening our doors, I’ve begun to reflect on everything we have accomplished. As a business, our biggest accomplishment was becoming a 501c3 nonprofit organization. This was our goal from the start, and goes a long way to fulfilling our mission of providing education and scientific awareness to our Southern Maryland community. Our membership has grown steadily this year, and with it our areas of expertise have expanded, too! We’ve started several new programs to serve our members and greater community including a STEAM-focused scouting program for kids. It has truly been an amazing year, and our leadership team is humbled and excited by all of the support PaxSpace has received.

Looking toward the future, we have no plans to sit idle now. Over the next several months we’re going to be focusing on creating new partnerships, seeking sponsors, and fundraising so we may continue to inspire lifelong learning and innovation in our area. PaxSpace is more than just a workshop–we are uniquely positioned to offer programs and services that make a huge impact on our community. How can you help? Do you own a business that is seeking partnership with a dynamic educational organization, are you interested in sponsoring an event or needed piece of equipment, or are you able to commit to a tax deductible monthly donation to support any number of ongoing programs and projects?

We thank you for helping to make PaxSpace’s first year stellar. We look forward to spending many more years inspiring people of all ages in Southern Maryland.

Please visit our donations page if you are interested in making a donation to our general fund.

Please email me directly if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or partner organization.

Nick, VP

PaxSpace Kids is now Open Labs!

For those of you who have not seen we are in the process of starting a new STEAM-based scouting program called Curiosity Hacked. As part of this new program we will be renaming our monthly PaxSpace Kids to Open Labs. These events will remain open and free to the public. The name change is to just allow us to better align with the main Curiosity Hacked program.

Now that I got that out of the way… What are we doing this month?

Popsicle Stick Bridges!

We’ve had a lot of fun with some of our previous competitions so we thought we’d keep that going. Thanks to the donation of a very large box of popsicle sticks from a PaxSpace member we’ll be building bridges this month. The idea will be to design and build a bridge that will span a predetermined distance. Since we don’t have hours to let our bridges dry we will be working with hot-glue so I’ll be looking for parents to help keep order. At the end of the build time I’ll go from team to team to see which bridge can hold the most weight. Breaking or bending to touch the table will determine the max weight.


As always I would ask that your register your children only so I can plan accordingly. Due to the type of activity and space limitations I’ll be limiting this month’s event to 10 kids.

If you go to register and the event is already full please email me! If there is enough interest I might be able to open up a second session.

Nick, VP

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Curiosity Hacked coming to Southern Maryland

We are excited to announce the first Curiosity Hacked Guild in Southern Maryland!!!

Curiosity Hacked is an inclusive, diverse, co-ed organization designed to support the next generation of makers, explorers, entrepreneurs, and leaders through an innovative program that blends creativity and technical skill through the study of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).

The Guild welcomes kids ages 4-14. The Guild’s Sparks program is for younger children (4-7) who are ready and interested in basic skill building and concepts. Older Guild members (8+) practice more complex skill building and focus on their individual goals while building relationships within our community.

Curiosity Hacked encourages the relentless pursuit of knowledge through relevant hands-on activities, mentorship, community, and family engagement, and the development of a strong moral character and leadership skills through our core values.

Please join us at one of the following information sessions:
September 17, 6:30-8:30 PM, Calvert Library in Prince Frederick**, Meeting Rm. #3
September 18, 6:30-8:30 PM, PaxSpace (click for directions)

To RSVP, for more information, or to get directions, please feel free to contact me directly.

Nick, VP

**This event is not sponsored by the Calvert Library

New Round of Classes

For those of you who do not keep a close eye on our event calendar I wanted to let you know we’ve recently added several classes. Take a look at the following list to see if anything interests you. As always, if there is a class or topic you are looking for please let us know. We are always looking for new ideas and want to make sure we are providing what the community needs.

Intro to Software Development 08/19/2014 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Intro to 3D Printing 08/26/2014 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Intro to CNC Routing 09/02/2014 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Blender/3D CAD Workshop 09/09/2014 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Intro to Android App Development 10/24/2014 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

One year ago…

One year ago I walked into Paul’s cube like I do most mornings to chat over my first cup of coffee. We’ve always figured the smokers get to take a couple breaks a day so why can’t we? As usual we started talking about some of the latest posts on Hackaday when Jim walked over from his desk. It wasn’t abnormal for him to join in from time-to-time but on that day he said something that would change our lives…

Have you guys ever heard of a Makerspace or Hackerspace?

Paul and I both quickly responded (possibly in unison), “Of course! Why?” His response? “Let’s start one!”

And the rest, as they say, is history. After that initial conversation things started to move very quickly. We had a few meetings over wings and beer to discuss structure. Amazingly we were even able to find a place willing to let us setup shop for free for the first 3 months. By the 23rd of August we were incorporated as PaxSpace Inc and less than a year later we were a full-fledged 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.

It has been an amazing ride and we want to thank everyone who has supported us over the last 12 months. We have many new and exciting things planned for the next year so stay tuned. If you still have not seen the space or do not understand what a Makerspace is please come in for a tour!

Nick, VP

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We are officially a 501(c)(3) public charity!

Last night at our weekly BOD meeting Dan walked in holding a single piece of paper smiling ear-to-ear. When he said it was from the IRS I just assumed it was the expected “follow-up questionnaire” to our tax exempt application. Nope!

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The most amazing part is we only submitted the application 3 months ago. I will say that again…THREE MONTHS AGO! From what we had been told we did not expect to hear anything for at least 6 months. And at that point we would need to reach out to one of our local representatives to follow-up on our behalf.

Needless to say we are excited about our ability to now receive tax-exempt donations and cannot wait to see what other doors this opens. Keep an eye out for more information on this as well as our big anniversary open house in November.

Nick, VP

Summer Open House

Now that summer has officially started it is time to start thinking about what you’ll be doing to keep busy!  Why not join PaxSpace?!  If you are still not sure what we are about or just want to see what we’ve been up to please plan on coming to our Summer Open House.

In addition to having the space open for tours we are also hosting a Catapult Competition.  The competition is open to the public so if you are interested in entering we still have room for a few more teams.

Please contact us if you have any questions or need more information!

The What:
PaxSpace Summer Open House

  • Meet our board and other members
  • See one of our 3D printers in action!
  • On-going PaxSpace demonstrations
  • Throw things!

The open house is also a chance to meet some of our instructors and discuss what classes we offer. This is your chance to tell us what you want us to be teaching!

The When:
Sunday, July 13th, 2014 from 11am until 5pm

The Where:
44178 Airport View Dr
Building 2, Bay 13
Hollywood, MD 20636