Learn how to fix things from your friends at the Appleton Makerspace!

Performing a bit of repair on my lawnmower, I was able to replace a broken wheel. But when I was uncertain about how to safely / easily sharpen the very dull blade I headed over to YouTube to see some examples of how one might perform such a feat.  I found a few clips that showed how to safely remove the spark plug wire, block the blade with a piece of scrap wood so that the blade does not rotate while you loosen the nut, etc.

Further, I found videos showing how to use a Dremel tool to re-hone the blade edge or if the blade was very dull, an angle grinder. I thought to myself, “I’ve used those tools (safely) before at the makerspace, I’ll head over there and give it a try.” When I got there, I donned safety gear and set about grinding a better edge.

As luck would have it, Laurel showed up and asked what I was working on. Laurel has sharpened many lawnmower blades and offered to show me how he does it! Laurel carefully demonstrated how a bench grinder is a more appropriate tool for the work I was trying to do. After a few passes per side on the bench grinder and a balance test using a small nail to observe the balance, I had a newly useful blade and more importantly, I learned how to repair it!

Thanks again, Laurel — This is why makerspaces are so cool!

American Hakko Products Donate Soldering Station

The Hakko FX-951 was donated to the Appleton Makerspace by American Hakko Products, Inc.
The Hakko FX-951 was donated to the Appleton Makerspace by American Hakko Products, Inc.

The electronics bench is one of the most used functional areas in our makerspace. That’s why I started to panic when our soldering station stopped working. After a failed attempt to repair the station it was clear that we need a replacement, quickly.

After a little bit of research, I noticed that we could easily get an inexpensive off-brand soldering station from a number of online stores. But trying to keep true to the makerspace spirit, I wanted to make sure we had the best equipment we could get.

We reached out to American Hakko Products, Inc. and they offered to donate a FX-951 soldering station and a T18 thermometer. This new addition show our commitment to provide the best tools to our members so they can continue making awesome things!

So thank you American Hakko Products for this incredible donation!

Storage Policy is Published

After a lot of discussion and refinement of process, we have an official Storage Policy in place and posted prominently on the wiki.

Jakob Brouillette did a ton of work writing up, and making changes to this policy in response to clarifications and suggestions by other members and officers.

It’s on the wiki if you want to read all the details, but I’ll highlight some of the big points here.


We are no longer any accepting items without prior approval. Organizing and disposing of things has taken a lot of energy this last year, and it’s hard to identify much value that has come as a result of things dropped off which weren’t specifically requested, or cleared ahead of time.

So, if you want to donate a thing, check the “Items Wanted” list and see if it’s on there.  If it’s not, you will have to get approval before leaving it at the space.


We now have two hackpiles.  One is a free for all which will have items of low value, but some utility. Anything in that pile is free for the taking for any purpose by any member.  The other is the Premium Hackpile and items there will have price tags on them. Members can buy those items by leaving money in the bucket designated for that pile.


If anyone finds anything left out in a common area that isn’t supposed to be there, they can move it to the Impound area.  Anything still there for more than a month becomes property of the makerspace and will be sold or auctioned off during the first week of each month.

If you find that something of yours wound up in the Impound area, simply take it out and put it in your appropriate storage or take it with you. The area is not locked down in any way. It’s just a place we will put things left out.

Don’t take anything from the Impound if it’s not yours.

If you do move things others may have left out, please be respectful and keep the items together by putting small things in a box before moving to impound.  We want to keep the place clean, but not at the expense of damaging or losing things.

And More…

Read the wiki on the Storage Policy for more details on things like Special Permits and Parking Passes.