This Summer OPENSOURCE Art will hold a weekly evening workshop for making home products out of reclaimed materials from the Champaign-Urbana community. OPENSOURCE will have a basic wood shop set up with experienced people in shop to assist with using the tools and a wide range of waste materials in stock. Participants are also invited to bring in their own reclaimed material and tools. Let's get together and make some beautiful products out of waste from our area!

OPENworkshop will take place Wednesday nights from 7-10pm. Additional meetings will be added as needed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Interstate Sign Coasters

This weekend I came down to Champaign to visit and had a chance to stop in OPENworkshop and build some stuff with Louis. I decided to cut out some "Interstate Sign" shaped drink coasters to go along with the Illinois shelf I made earlier in the summer. It felt good to get back in there and make stuff. I think that OPENworkshop is a great opportunity for people to make stuff without spending a bunch of money, but also to use junk materials to make something new. It was also great to come back after being gone for a while and seeing all the cool products people made.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Chameleon sushi rack

Small crowd at the workshop this week but we're all making good progress on our projects. I'm making a bench from this sushi sign. Eric is still working on his spice rack and Mike is nearly finishing up his chameleon cage.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shop is Hoppin

Things are really starting to roll at the OPENWorkshop. Everyone is making lots o progress with their projects. Their was a really good atmosphere of everyone taking turns with tools and sharing advice and help. And we even blew out the lights a couple of times (which is what happens when you have 4 power tools running into one power strip I s'pose).
Thanks to Carol Jo for taking the pics and bringing in all the fabric!

Eric working hard on his privacy screen.

Fred is whipping up something special.

Eleanor is working on a TV stand.

Pat and Mike working on Mike's Chameleon cage.

Zoe sawin table legs

Friday, July 20, 2007

Illinois Shelf

I completed the Illinois shelf! The craftsmanship is pretty poor in some places, but I think it should get the job done. Here are some pictures.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Workshop CANCELLED for this week 7-18-07

For those of you who are not on our mailing list I wanted to let you know that OPENworkshop will not be happening this Wednesday due to an Open Critique taking place at the same time at OPENSOURCE Art. If you would like to participate in the Open Critique at OPENSOURCE Art check out this link: Open Critique

Friday, July 13, 2007

Back In Action

After rain delay, 4th of July celebrations and people being out of town OPENworkshop was back at it this week. Louis has kept hard working on his shelves which look really nice. Fred came in to work on his project and I almost finished up my Illinois shelf. I think all the tools are up and running now so we have a fully functioning guerrilla wood shop if anyone would like to come build things. Louis made some nice fliers which should be popping up around town so hopefully we can gain more interest and have some new people come to OPENworkshop and try building something. Check out the images from this week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


We have a table saw now! Tonight Eric, Louis and Ryan set it up and installed a fresh blade. I cut out the shape of Illinois on the scroll saw and replaced the blade. Molly was in the workshop working in her studio. Things are starting move more fluidly now that we have all the necessary equipment. We are using the front window to display all the cool things that people will make. Right now Louis is finishing up his shelving unit. Check out the pictures!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

DIY Pallet Stripping Demo Images

Over the past few weeks we have developed an efficient method for stripping pallets down to usable wood. First run a hand saw down the center of the pallet, getting as close to the center support beam of wood as possible. This allows the cross planks to be easily pryed off of the side support beams with a crow bar. When prying the cross planks off, be careful that the wood doesn't split around the nails (this happens when the cross planks are thin, so we have been careful to select only pallets with thicker wood). Next remove any straggling nails from the cross planks. You can then run the cross planks through the planer to get a flat surface on one side. The planks can then be easily cut using the table saw, chop saw or jig saw.

Feng Shui

This week we worked on reorganizing the entire OPENworkshop room to save space and create specific areas to house tools, books, wood, etc. It was a lot of work, but I think it totally paid off because it is very clean and easy to find things now. Eric continued work on his project, sanding down some wood and getting everything cut to the right length. I also found a great blueprint for some modular shelves which don't look hard to build, but are also really nice looking.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Screen Print Demo and Biscuits!

Today Meghan gave a screen printing demo. We learned about a good cheap place to get screens and the basic steps to get started, from making your design to laying down ink. It was fun and hopefully we can use this knowledge in the future to make some DIY OPENworkshop T-shirts. If you would like to learn more about screen printing there are a ton of great free tutorials and tips online. Here are two sites with different demos: here, or here .Lou then explained what biscuits and biscuit joining was all about for those of us that didn't know.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Using the Planer

Tonight we took a bunch of the pallets and put them through the wood planer. Some of them turned out really nice. We have a metal detector to find nails in the wood, which wasn't working so well, but might prove useful in the future. We also stripped the nails out of a bunch of pallets. Now there is getting to be a big stock pile of wood that is ready to use. We plan to have some step by step DIY walkthroughs up on the blog soon as well.

Monday, May 28, 2007


I made some diagrams in an attempt to explain the system we developed last year for turning waste in to modules for products.
The concept is: determine the two the main sources of waste we would have in constant supply: pallets and drywall. Then estimate the average amount of material we could get out of the waste and based off of this develop modules for making products. These drawings show the system for making a modular shelf.

This is mostly just a concept, a process for turning lots of waste into lots of products quickly. This concept is pretty hard to explain visually and all the details of the process aren't here, but this should give a general idea of what we were trying to do and maybe it can help inspire some product ideas or better yet inspire ideas for other systems of (sort of) mass producing products out of waste.

Using x-Acto, cut drywall into 12" x 12" sections

Using circular saw and crowbar, strip pallet town, ideally preserving three 2 x 4's and x number of cross boards (these vary from pallet to pallet)

Using the table saw, rip the 2 x 4's in half then cross cut these, resulting in several 12" x 2" x 1" sections (these will be used to frame the drywall for the sides of the shelf). Next, cross cut the cross boards into 12" long sections and plane one side (these will be used for the wide shelf planks)

Next, using the table saw, route out 1/2" grooves in the 12" x 2" x 1" sections. Fit these sections around the drywall sections that were cut down earlier to create the sides of the shelf. Laminate the planed cross boards together (this can be done many ways, we found the best method was to use a biscuit jointer), and using the table saw, rip off any excess to create 12" x 24" shelf planks.

Use these modules and a few more cuts with the table saw to create a shelf! Or use the modules to make something else!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The beginning

For the past few weeks we have had people start to collect waste materials to build with, research materials (books, magazines, articles, etc.) and tools. We have begun to set up a woodshop in one of the front rooms at OPENSOURCE Art in downtown Champaign. Everything is in the early stages as far as designing and producing things, but hopefully we can start building some cool stuff over the next few weeks.