Greetings Makers!  

The 2017 National Week of Making, June 16-22, will celebrate the creativity, ingenuity, and innovation of Makers everywhere and there are several ways for you to participate! 
Host an Event          Tell your Maker Story           Attend an Event                         
WV Maker News 
A Newsletter of The Education Alliance 

Maker Spotlight 
by Fairmont Senior High School 

The Fairmont Senior Make Shop is still in its infancy stage. Currently, it is stocked with sewing supplies, recycled materials, electronics, and loads of other awesome tools and supplies. Though the Make Shop is still a work in progress, teachers have begun to see its benefit and are increasing their use of the space daily. One example of how the space has been utilized is Mrs. Johnson's 9th grade English students. 

Mrs. Amanda Johnson's 9th grade English classes made great use of Fairmont Senior's Make Shop during the creation of their Body Biography Projects. Students had the opportunity to choose a character from their novel, Farewell to Manzanar, and physically and emotionally create those characters. Students went into the Make Shop and found materials to use such as Styrofoam, fabric, hot glue guns, doll hair, pipe cleaners, and much more. Many of these students lack resources at home, so this space was beneficial to all students and their achievement during this project. We are very excited to continue to provide students with a hands-on learning approach using the Make Shop.   

Vinyl Cutting
by Leif Sayvetz

The vinyl cutter is a versatile tool for any Makerspace. There are numerous reviews available online that compare several models produced by the major brands, Graphtec, Roland, USCutter, etc. What is addressed in this review, for those already with cutters or those considering, is an understanding that the vinyl cutter is far more useful than just a sticker machine. While the ability to produce custom stickers, labels, wall-pieces, and iron-ons can be appreciated, the possibilities the tool provides in process work should not be overlooked. Majority of these applications use the vinyl cut product as a mask, stencil, or resist to protect a surface from a paint or chemical.

For example, basic stencils created for spray paint may seem a little overboard when cardboard does so well, but for sharp lines on curved or uneven surfaces vinyl will stretch and stick. In regards to wood projects, it is very useful for selective staining. Vinyl stencils work rather well for silk screening; though to make multiple prints one should use vinyl with solvent resistant glue. One can also glass etch using an acid to roughen the surface of a window for fog/translucency. There are vinyl products designed to resist these chemicals allowing for home-made custom glass etchings.

Many vinyl cutters allow for the use of a fiber pen instead of a blade. This is what the machines were originally designed for, drawing blueprints quicker than a draftsman. This ability is both amusing on its own and very useful when attempting to transfer complex shapes larger than any other available printer. From CAD or graphic art files one can sketch lines on a large page to transfer to wood or other 2D material. In this case the ink is cheaper than a large sheet of vinyl for a single use.

Another example of application is the production of low power circuit boards that tape to any material. Some vinyl cutters allow for a mat which backs the blade for cutting paper or other materials without a peel-off. Curious minds have used copper tape intended for RF shielding and cut out circuit patterns designed on the simplest 2D CAD software. These cut outs were able to be soldered after applied to wood, fabric, acrylic, and even paper thus making reproducible flexible circuit boards ready to receive components. As you can see, the possibilities of Making are endless when using a vinyl cutter. If you have any questions or would like any additional information please email Nahdi Bropleh at

Innovative Ideas

Xometry's engineering team created a free production guide to aid Makers in choosing the best materials and processes for projects. Learn about a variety of innovative manufacturing processes and materials available, from 3D Printing to CNC Machining. Click here to download your copy!
Maker Updates      

Grant Opportunities: 

Governor's STEM Initiative Mini-Grant
The Governor's STEM Initiative and the WV Office of Education and the Arts are accepting applications for Summer 2017. Through this grant program, applicants may request up to $3,000 to implement or expand a STEM education project or program. Applications may be submitted to  by June 5th .

Win $2000 - STEM Grant
The Education Alliance is sponsoring a contest to encourage STEM enthusiasts to register their STEM program, event, club, camp or other activity in the searchable directory. Each EcosySTEM opportunity you provide will be entered in a random drawing for $2,000 in prizes. Be sure to submit all entries before the
July 15th deadline.  

STEM Classroom Grant 
First Energy is offering STEM education grants of up to $1,000 for educators of schools and youth groups in communities served by any of their electric operating companies. This grant will support creative classroom projects within STEM fields that will take place during the 2017-2018 school year. Be sure to apply by the September 22nd  deadline. 

Student Opportunities & Competitions:

The West Virginia University Statler College will be hosting seven weeks of Engineering Challenge Camps in June, July, and August. Camps are available for elementary, middle, and high school students. Registration will remain open until all spots have been filled. Click here to view camp dates. 

Marshall University will host a computer science camp for middle and high school students. During this half-day camp students will discover the fun in computer science by participating in activities such as robotics, mobile app development, drone flying and more. The camp will be held on two dates, June 10th and July 8th offering the same activities on both days. Registration is $20 and students may only register for one of the two dates. Registration due by June 4th

Explore rivers and watersheds while learning about science in a week of adventure. SSCC 2017 will take place from July 17th - 21st. Registration due by July 1st

The Morgan County Observatory Foundation will hold Rocketry and Astronomy camps in August. Camp dates are scheduled for August 7th-11th and 14th-18th. Both dates will feature the same material. Register here

Educator & Professional Opportunities:

The Robert C. Byrd Institute will host a free luncheon workshop at its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center in Huntington on Tuesday, June 13, from noon to 2 p.m. The workshop will focus on Autodesk 3D software. Seating is limited, please register by June 8th at noon

From June 26th - 28th, The WV Center for Professional Development is offering an opportunity for educators to learn effective classroom instruction using technology. The core concepts will be based on technology integration, student centered learning, collaboration, instructional strategies, and project-based learning. Registration and registration fee ($100) due by  June 12th

From July 25th - 27th, The WV Center for Professional Development is offering an opportunity for educators to learn effective classroom instruction using technology. The core concepts will be based on technology integration, student centered learning, collaboration, instructional strategies, and project-based learning. Registration and registration fee ($100) due by July 10th