2/1/21

Click here to view our February 2021 newsletter. 

Subscribe to our mailing list to get our monthly newsletter delivered right to your inbox. For more updates, follow us on our main Facebook page and on Instagram. You can also follow the Manufacturing Incubator and the THINQubator seperately on their respective Facebook pages.

1/4/21

Dear Friends of TVCOG,

We made it to 2021! It has been a tumultuous year and we are grateful for the opportunity and our ability to remain a responsive community space, especially during the times we are needed most. Thank you for your continued support! In spite of the challenges we have faced in 2020, with the help of our members, volunteers, board of directors, and staff we have been able to accomplish so much, including:

Events and Programs

  • Hosting our weekly Virtual Member Meetings and Social Night! We miss meeting socially in-person and breaking bread together, but for the health and safety of the community, we decided to take our meetings and social nights to the community Zoom room. Since March an eclectic group of TVCOG staff, board, volunteers, members, and former members meet casually for weekly updates on policies, events, and general socialization every Tuesday at 6:30 for the foreseeable future.
  • The Manufacturing Incubator at TVCOG launched the Food for Thought Product Development “Virtual Luncheon” Series! We hosted presentations on intellectual property, packaging, non-dilutive funding, AR in product development, networking in times of COVID, and prototyping for mixed reality games! Our gratitude to Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C, Center for Economic Growth, NYSERDA, Joss Koss, Velan Studios, and Tucker Consulting for their time and energy.
  • We launched the Maker-in-Residence Program! Tech Valley Center of Gravity’s Maker-in-Residence program was created with the goal of finding and supporting a gifted maker in Troy who might not be able to afford to use the space otherwise. The program annual program gives a Troy-based maker the chance to pursue a project of their choice at TVCOG with dedicated space and resources, including a complimentary “Super Maker Membership,” a storage space, free access to the prototyping center equipment, and a stipend of $500. The program is one of TVCOG’s Community Access Programs, programs designed to eliminate the barriers to making. These programs are designed to offer opportunities for access to our space and resources to individuals with demonstrated financial need. Click here to learn a little bit more about Toast, our very first MIR, as he works on an interactive human-powered gravity storage device used to store energy.
  • TVCOG and the Capital District Inventors and Entrepreneurs meetup decided to join forces rebranding Open Hack into “Hatched-CDIEM”! Hatched-CDIEM is a monthly group (current meetings are virtual) on the first Thursday of the month to give feedback on inventions and product development featuring a quarterly inventor meetup!
  • We reconfigured and re-launched our Quick Start Guide Series in order to offer safe, socially distanced classes on equipment basics to members. These short, introductory classes are designed to introduce beginners to some of the tools we have here at the COG. Along with previously offered course options in the Woodshop and Machine Shop, we also added brand new courses on MiG Welding and TiG welding this year. These one-on-one sessions are available to members only, by appointment and are taught by our Facilities and Incubator Director Dan Falkenstrom. 
  • Many of the special events we usually participate in were cancelled or reconfigured to a virtual format this year, and we were lucky to be able to still be able to participate in these virtual events. We are so grateful to have found a way to still partake in One Million Cups Albany, Global Entrepreneurship Week, and the Empire State Maker Faire, and thankful to our many partners in such events for inviting us to join, participate in and help plan these events. We look forward to seeing what these events look like in the future and are excited to participate again!

Makerspace Equipment 

  • The Prototyping Center got a new Formlabs 3B printer with a fume hood!
  • Thanks to your donations on Giving Tuesday in 2019, we were able to acquire not only a lathe, but a vertical mill for our Machine Shop! These replaced equipment that have been graciously loaned to us for several years.
  • We also received a few other new pieces of equipment, generously donated by community members, including a Prusa Mini 3D Printer, and a pen lathe and horizontal band saw. 

THINQubator

  • The THINQuabtor at TVCOG kicked off 2020 with a special STEAM-Powered Saturday2 event in January, partnering with the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market to offer two simultaneous activities on one day. STEAM adventurers made DIY Kaleidoscopes at the Market, and then headed to the THINQubator for our Mini Zip Lines activity. 
  • In March of 2020, the THINQubator celebrated the end of its inaugural FIRST Lego League (FLL) Team season, which ran from Fall of 2019 to Winter of 2020. Our goal was to bring the inspiration and opportunities of FLL to middle school students in the area who might not otherwise have this option. With the generous support of the AI Center of Excellence and Price Chopper Supermarkets' Golub Foundation, we were able to offer the program completely for free to students ages 9-14 in the Capital Region. We look forward to hosting a second season in the future. 
  • The THINQubator at TVCOG took Steam Powered Saturday virtual! Starting in April of 2020, we reconfigured our projects to focus on materials available at home, and started hosting the event via video tutorial through our Facebook page. Previous projects include: The Science of Rainbows; Kitchen Chemistry Pt. 1: Chromatography; Kitchen Chemistry Pt. 2: Ph Scale; Secret Spy Messages; Solar Oven S'mores; Pepper's Ghost Illusion; Exploring Nature: Collecting Shells and Fossils; and Spirographs! In August, we partnered with the Troy BID to provide SPS Supplies Kits to go along with our Kitchen Chemistry Videos for the Troy River Fest Ramble! We also partnered with Bard and Baker Board Game Cafe to offer a special STEAM-Powered event for Troy’s Annual Victorian Stroll; volunteer-made, lasercut wooden spirographs were available all month long for pickup at Bard and Baker, to go along with December’s video. Check out our videos and project guides here. Thank you to our guest SPS hosts, and to our sponsors: Albany Society of Engineers, GE Healthcare, and Agora Media.
  • The THINQubator also launched our first-ever virtual after-school clubs programming to help area schools engage students with virtual STEM-related extracurricular activities during the pandemic. Our first clubs are Scratch programming-related and being piloted at two charter schools in Albany. More to come in Spring 2021.

Community 

  • A team of TVCOG makerspace members appeared on Make48: Sam Wechsler, Adam Siemiginowski, Anasha Cummings, and Dan Falkenstrom, known as Team InvenTROY appeared on Season 4 of Make48, the “world’s fastest invention competition.” Check out their story on WMHT’s community stories blog.
  • During the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, TVCOG, Center for Economic Growth, and Benét Laboratories, with financial support from the Rensselaer County Industrial Development Agency, scaled up production of face shields in response to supply shortages for personal protective equipment, prioritizing hospitals, medical clinics, and essential service organizations dealing with the public. TVCOG members with home 3D printers joined in to make shields and cloth face masks for distribution as well. Other material donations were received from Sunoco Plastics, Albany Distilling Company, and Arcadia Manufacturing.
  • We had our very first fundraising Instagram Auction! This virtual fundraiser was held in November of 2020; led by TVCOG board member Beth Bornick, items donated by our makers and members of our local creative communities were auctioned off for over a week on Instagram! All proceeds benefited the TVCOG. Take a look at our Instagram page to get a look at the items we auctioned off. 

We hope that 2021 will bring better tidings than 2020, and look forward to growing with our community even more this year. We hope to expand our virtual programming and offerings, announce the return of in-person classes later this year, offer exciting new ventures for STEAM-Powered Saturday, begin a monthly newsletter and so much more. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year, and want to thank you for your continued support. 

-Cheryl

Cheryl Kennedy, Executive Director

For Immediate Release
August 25, 2020
MEDIA CONTACTS

Dan Falkenstrom (518) 244-3544 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Duncan Crary, (518) 274-2723 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

TECH VALLEY CENTER OF GRAVITY SEEKING “MAKERS” IN TROY FOR MAKER-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
Applications Due Sept. 8., Program Open to Troy Residents, 18+ with Financial Need

 

TROY (08/24/2020) - The Tech Valley Center of Gravity is launching a new Maker-in-Residence program with the goal of finding and supporting a gifted maker in Troy who might not be able to afford to use the space otherwise.

“We are reducing the barriers to making,” said Dan Falkenstrom, facilities and incubator director at Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCOG). “Compared to other maker spaces our memberships are often less expensive, but $100 per month is still expensive for a lot of people.”

The first residency is offered to Troy residents only, age 18 or older, whose taxable income in the last year was $39,526 or less.

The program will give a Troy-based maker the chance to pursue a project of their choice at TVCOG with dedicated space and resources, including a complimentary “Super Maker Membership,” a storage space, free access to the prototyping center equipment, and a stipend of $500.

“A maker is someone who creates something that wasn't there before,” Falkenstrom said. “Typically ‘maker spaces’ and ‘hacker spaces’ are thought of as places where electronics projects are done or robotics are made, but it's really much more than that — woodworking, metalworking, machining, welding, game development, writing, software design, all these things, where something is made with imagination.”

Occupying two levels of the historic Quackenbush building in downtown Troy, the TVCOG members' area is fully equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, communal computers with specialized CAD software, and equipment for welding, woodworking and machining. A Prototyping Center includes professional-grade machines.

“We want someone who has a great idea, but doesn’t have the tools or the space to pull it off,” Falkenstrom said. “The ideal candidate will have a track record of building things and will have a project in-mind that can show off what can be done with all the tools we have here.”

Proposals will be evaluated based on the project’s purpose, aesthetics, whether it demonstrates divergent thinking, its community engagement — whether it attempts to solve a community problem or engages the community in some way — and how it will make use of TVCOG’s various equipment and work zones.

Information about the residency and the online application can be found at: https://www.tvcog.net/community/maker-in-residence-program

Applications are due by 5pm on Sept. 8, with the residency expected to begin in October or November. COVID-19 protocols are currently in place at TVCOG and may change by the start of the program.

Some particulars of the residency will depend on the scope of the project proposed. Falkenstrom said the program will last between three to six months and will include some public component, to-be-determined, such as a presentation or a workshop led by the resident. Mentoring will be available from staff and from the more than 200 members.

The Maker-in-Residence will own all intellectual property associated with their project or anything else they personally create at TVOCG.

In the future, Falkenstrom said the residency program may be opened to those who live outside of Troy and those without prior experience making things.

“The primary reason why we’re focusing on a Troy resident right now is that we want to help our immediate neighbors,” he said. “If this is a success, maybe we can open it in the future.

The Maker-in-Residence program is funded by TVCOG’s Community Access Fund which supports mission-critical initiatives related to access, equity, education, and volunteership. The Community Access Fund is made possible by grant funders, corporate sponsors, and individual donors.

TVCOG Executive Director Cheryl Kennedy said the infusion of grant funding to the Community Access Fund also allows those who may need temporary financial assistance to become members.

“We’ve been able to redouble our efforts and expand our programs to not only kickstart the Maker-in-Residence program, but to assist current and new members who may have been financially impacted by COVID-19 to continue using the facility, as well as build out new partnerships,” Kennedy said.

To donate to the Fund, visit: https://www.tvcog.net/community/community-access-fund

 

ABOUT TECH VALLEY CENTER OF GRAVITY

Tech Valley Center of Gravity (TVCoG) is a makerspace, prototyping center, manufacturing incubator, STEAM-education center and creative community located in the heart of downtown Troy, New York. A member-supported 501(c)(3) community resource organization, the Center of Gravity serves members from Albany, Columbia, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties by providing low-cost access to equipment, tools, technology and space, as well as business expertise, education and resources.

The Manufacturing Incubator at TVCoG provides expert coaching and incubation across industries, advisory services and support for product-related startups. For members launching entrepreneurial ventures, we offer resources for product development through the Prototyping Center, with its advanced manufacturing equipment and flexible workspace.

INFO

For information, visit: www.tvcog.net, call (518) 244-3544 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.