I made a birdhouse. It lives in my soul.
I’ve recently moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area, two hours away to the Sierra Nevada foothills. There’s no more traffic. Things are affordable. There are artists everywhere — this is where everyone comes when Bay Area Gentrification drives them out. It’s wonderful.
I’ve joined my local makerspace, Hackerlab.org. They have a location in Rocklin which is 15 minutes from me, and a second location in Sacramento (half hour drive). And, unlike the Bay Area, it’s *always* 15 minutes. It’s 15 minutes at 9:00 am. It’s 15 minutes at 6:00 pm. In the Bay Area, I couldn’t leave my house for 8 hours of the day without getting stuck in horrible traffic. I love it here.
Hackerlab is wonderful. Membership is really affordable, and they have SO many fun toys to play with! The Rocklin location has an amazing sewing & cosplay space with industrial sewing machines and sergers. They have a ton of 3d printers, including a resin printer which I have yet to play with. They have laser cutters, MIG and TIG welders, a fully appointed wood shop, an electronics lab, a VR station, and a CNC router. All of this is available for members to use, 24 hours a day. It’s like a dream come true.
I took a couple classes ($15 for members!!) and made my first project on the CNC router: it’s a snap-fit plywood bird house, using Fusion360 to create toolpaths for the CNC router. I’m delighted with it.
The CNC router is basically a computer-controlled carving machine. I can design whatever I can dream up, in 2-d or in 3-d, on my computer and then the machine will use router bits to carve or mill whatever I made. This means I get to use my years-of-experience making pretty things in photoshop, and turn that into real stuff, without having to learn the kinesthetics of woodcarving techniques.
There is still a huge learning curve, don’t get me wrong. But I am waking up in the middle of the night, full of IDEAS…… and this is only the very first machine I’ve tried.
If you’re in the Sacramento / Roseville / Auburn area and like making stuff, come to Hackerlab! This place is amazing.
Next up: Painting my birdhouse, which I suspect will become a Fairy House once I’m finished.