I Built a Wealth of Knowledge at the TechShop

Introduction: I Built a Wealth of Knowledge at the TechShop

While making my latest project at the TechShop www.techshop.ws I marveled at all the lessons I have learned since getting my membership.

Lesson 1:  Mistakes are some of the best learning opportunities. 
I have spent most of my time at the TechShop on the laser cutter.  A couple times I've hit print and nothing has happened.  Each time I've done that I've learned what to look for next time.  

Lesson 2: Everyone starts at a different point on the learning curve
I really had to learn to just get over feeling intimidated at the TechShop.  People have such great ideas and build the most incredible things and I feel like mine are so simple.  I have to keep reminding myself it's O.K. to do simple things and build on what you know.  If you don't start simple you'll never get the tools to go more complex in the future.

Lesson 3: Every project I do (no matter how simple) helps me build skills to do something more complex.
My first project was letters cut from a scrabble board because letters where the only thing I could draw on corel draw
Next I took the corel draw class.  I started practicing at home on corel draw trying to draw a top hat.  It proved to complicated for me at the time.  I switched to something easier a necktie that I drew for a coloring sheet I made for the kids at church for a Father's Day Craft.  It worked I was thrilled.
That leads me to my latest project a tool box shaped magnet with a quote about tools.

Lesson 4:  Figuring it out yourself is sometimes better than asking questions
I love asking questions but sometimes people just want to show you the answer instead of teaching you what to do.  In learning to draw on corel draw I've found googling a great resource.  Taking the corel draw class at the techshop helped a ton but when I forget what I learned or what order the steps go in googling saves the day.

Lesson 5: You have to practice to get good at anything
My secret to learning a machine at the techshop is to reserve time after the class to practice.  That way everything is fresh in my mind.  I also make sure I have a notebook to write down information.  I refer back to my notebook all the time just to make sure I'm doing things correct.

My latest project is a tool box shaped magnet with a quote about tools. 
It's made out of a cover of a book.

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Step 1: Draw Your Toolbox on Corel Draw

My first step was to design the toolbox I wanted as my shape in Corel Draw. 
I found an illustration of a toolbox I liked.  I figured out what shapes where involved.  Luckily all I needed to do was use shapes.  I needed to bring the edges in on the top of my box.  I knew I had learned that in my corel draw class at the TechShop but I couldn't remember how so I pulled out my course manual and found the directions. 

While drawing the toolbox I needed my outline shape to be a hairline for the laser to cut it out.  I found it worked easier for me to do the outline seperate and to add the other shapes after that was compete.  Of course I learned that through trial and error but I learned.

Step 2: Prepare Your Book Covers

I used hard back book covers.  I found books with red covers.  I then used a box cutter and cut off the cover.  My material was now preped and ready to use. 

Step 3: Laser Cut Your Toolbox

Next is to set your preferences for cutting and press print.  I tried different sizes till I found the exact size I wanted for my bookmarks.

Step 4: Last Add a Magnet

Last I added a magnet to the back of my toolbox.

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