JCL Makers On a Roll

While the Johnson County Library’s Black & Veatch MakerSpace may be closed, its makers are still keeping busy and finding innovative ways to contribute their skills for the good of the library and the community. One of their latest projects involved something unusual: a steamroller.

During Project Block & Roll, the makers combined a new 3-D carving tool, the X-Carve, with a 36-inch construction roller to showcase a local artist and new MakerSpace equipment, and to raise money for the Library Foundation. The roller pressed ink from a carved wood block onto paper to create a print of a local artist’s work that was as large as 45”x32”.

Five of the art prints were donated to the Library Foundation, and donors were able to purchase $100 raffle tickets during the annual Library Lets Loose fundraiser for the chance of winning a print. Angelica Sandoval, one of the MakerSpace facilitators, said the steamroller rental and delivery fees were donated by Sunbelt.

“There were many parts of the project I enjoyed,” Sandoval said. She was especially glad to get to format the chosen artist’s piece for printing using the X-Carve, and to join the other makers in driving the industrial roller. “It was slower than I expected,” she added.

The Black & Veatch MakerSpace facilitators placed a call for art entries for Block & Roll online so they could choose and involve a Kansas City artist in the project. After hours of deliberation, they unanimously chose Shawn Sanem’s “Hurgle” from which to make the limited edition prints. As the winner, Sanem received two artist proofs from a master printer and $400. Also involved was Mark Raymer as the Master Printmaker. Raymer provided logistical guidance to the MakerSpace facilitators on the day

Block & Roll isn’t the only maker project in the works right now. There are several maker kits in circulation that allow for the exploration of coding using the free web program Make Code alongside circuit boards, a manual, and a cord for computer connection. 

Like other library staff, the makers have moved programs online such as their microbit workshop and sewing class, always finding new ways to work with and reach out to patrons. Sandoval said the Black & Veatch MakerSpace also provides remote 3D Printing for patrons during this time of limited services.

“The idea is that patrons reserve a time to print a model from TinkerCad or Thingiverse. A makerspace facilitator will then walk the patron through our 3D slicing program via Zoom” explained Sandoval, and patrons can then “pick up their finished print on the hold shelf at Central Resource Library.”

Having been with the Black & Veatch MakerSpace for two years, Sandoval says she most enjoys having “the opportunity to be creative while being able to teach patrons how to use tools and complete their projects.”

-- Catherine Strayhall