All posts by Joe Harper

Build a Makerspace – Part 6 – Let’s Go Muddin’

Before you start reading this you may want to catch-up with:

Part 1 – Why Build a Maker Space
Part 2 – Walls Going Up
Part 3 – Framed!
Part 4 – Insulated!
Part 5 – Drywall


Finally something messy the whole family can enjoy together! Now that all the heavy gear is out-of-the-way and the room is cleaned out we can all go to town filling screw holes and mudding joints. I had lots of help for this, even my oldest daughter got in on the “fun” this time.


Tools for this part of the build:

  • Sheetrock mud, I bought the kind that comes pre-mixed in tubs.
  • Lots of various putty knives and taping knives
  • Drywall tape (Paper or mesh, your preference)
  • drywall sanding screens and pole sander heads
  • patience and time. This is gonna suck be difficult.

This part is where it all comes together. You can hide many mistakes and expose them by how good or bad you do with the mud, tape, and ultimately sanding. It is hot, nasty work and if you were going to budget to have one part of your build done by professionals this would be the one. All that being said, it was the one part of the project that brought my little girl, my pregnant wife, and my in-laws all together in the room at the same time to work on the project so what the heck!

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The most important thing to remember is that too much mud is bad. Also and equally important is theft that not enough mud is also bad.

Perfect mud is perfect.

You want the mud to be the consistency of about sour cream so add water until it is just right. This way it will flow into the cracks but also hang on the wall and not drip. It is also important to remember that this is a multi stage job and you will be mudding and sanding and then mudding and sanding again (And sometimes again!) So don’t over do it with the first coat. The first coat is more about getting a base layer down and filling holes and cracks for the next coat(s).

Once you have taped and mudded the room, you will have to give it a day or so to fully dry before the dreaded sanding can begin. I would recommend you wear eye protection and a mask at the very least.

(I would also recommend that you do this while listening to a good podcast to keep your mind moving during this repetitive and miserable task, Stuff You Should Know (@SYSKPodcast) is a good choice regardless of which episode you pick!)

Start with a low grit sanding screen on a pole and work over the mudded areas until they are smooth. This is important as it is a chance to knock down any rough spots or torn paper from the drywall. There will be dust. LOADS of it.

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The important thing is to ensure you don’t miss a spot while sanding so be sure to bring a bright light with you and shine it across the wall in a parallel fashion to see the imperfections. Once you have the first coat sanded, you guessed it! Get to mudding again! If you did a good job this is a 2 round process. If you are like me a 3rd round will be needed. Don’t skimp here, this is the part that makes the finished room look awesome or pitiful. When you get to your final sanding do so with 120 grit sanding screens and be careful not to scar the wall by using too much pressure. Once the sanding is done, go over the walls with a damp towel to knock down the dust and reduce the build up that will get on your roller during the painting phase that will be coming soon! But first we must trim the room!

Check out Part 7: On to the trim!

Build a Makerspace – Part 5 – Drywall

Before you start reading this you may want to catch-up with:

Part 1 – Why Build a Maker Space
Part 2 – Walls Going Up
Part 3 – Framed!
Part 4 – Insulated!


It’s like a puzzle! A horrible, heavy puzzle. With special rules like don’t install the sheets vertically, don’t end a sheet with a seam around a door, pieces should be hung from the top down, and so on and so forth…


Tools for this part of the build:

  • Figure your SqFt for your drywall and over buy by about 10%-20%.
  • A bucket of drywall screws.
  • at least 2 cordless drills, I used the Milwaukee M12 brushless drill
  • Help! you will need hands for this, beyond yours.
  • a Dremel with a router attachment and a drywall bits (Not a must have but made cutting out electrical box opening a breeze!)
  • Tape measure, pens, a brain and probably another brain to check your brains math before you cut.
  • Utility Knife for scoring the drywall
  • a long straight 2″x4″x8′ or longer to break the drywall on
  • Drywall Screw Setter Bits make sure your screws are inset enough to be filled with mud later. Get some!
  • Steel corner bead for nice sharp corners

This part had lots of math, lots and lots of hands, and dear god, was it hard carrying all the drywall down from the driveway to the basement. I bought 10′ long sheets and it was delivered by the Building supply on a truck with a forklift. Unfortunately I have a steep rock walkway that leads down to my basement that no forklift could ever traverse so the pallet of material had to be taken down 2 sheets at a time.

Once down there we started at the top and by top I mean the ceiling. Do yourself a favor and take a spare 2″x4″x12′ and some scrap 2×4 cut to about 3 feet long as a prop for holding the drywall up to the ceiling from the ground. This worked great and save backs and sheets by keeping one of the helpers on the ground. th ceiling is the hardest part and I now understand why folks like drop ceilings. You never end up holding 30 pounds over your head while you screw it into a floor joist 10 feet above the ground with drop ceilings.

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Continue reading Build a Makerspace – Part 5 – Drywall

Build a Makerspace – Part 4 – Insulated!

Before you start reading this you may want to catch-up with:

Part 1 – Why Build a Maker Space
Part 2 – Walls Going Up
Part 3 – Framed!


This place is gonna be LOUD. With the Saws, the Hammers and the grinders that will eventually make their way into this room, it was decided early on that the entire space would need to be insulated before the Sheetrock went in. This was actually one of the more costly and time-consuming parts of the build. I can’t blame folks for not wanting to jump in and help with this part as hours of sweating in a Tyvek suit, respirator and goggles is not much fun. I still had plenty of itchy nights after stapling up the pinky goodness.


Tools for this part of the build:


I did a test (though not very scientific) by running the air compressor in the workshop before and after the insulation and the sound suppression when listening upstairs was significant. Also, the room now stays at a very stable temperature  regardless of the rest of my basement. I have been considering running HVAC lines into the room off the first floor trunks but may not have to due to this insulation.

Continue reading Build a Makerspace – Part 4 – Insulated!

Build a Makerspace – Part 3 – Framed!

Before you start reading this you may want to catch-up with:

Part 1 – Why Build a Maker Space
Part 2 – Walls Going Up


Ok, this time we have everything here so we are going to get this done.

We start by cutting all the needed 2″x4″x10′ boards to 8′ 6″ long.  As our walls are going to be 8′ 10″ before the tray this is to accommodate for the footer and header on each wall. The footers were pressure treated 2″x4″x12′ lumber and we used a cartridge riffle gun to shoot the nails into the concrete.  The headers were constructed with 2×2 beams and 2×4 ribs on the ground and then nailed in place above the walls. This was hard work but easier to do with a helper because they were pretty heavy once built.

We had to build in the headers to cover the ventilation that runs from the HVAC in the basement up to the first floor. This will also add some visual interest to the ceiling which sounds nice but adds a lot of work to the drywall, mudding, sanding and ultimately the trim assuming I ever put any on the ceiling down there.

Continue reading Build a Makerspace – Part 3 – Framed!

When Drones attack! (or more likely, when people attack themselves though stupidity)

(Warning: This post contains graphic images that show blood and fresh wounds and my be disturbing to some people.)

The most dangerous part of any UAV is the operator or programmer. Failure to pay attention, or double-check your surroundings, or your power systems, or your control system, can have catastrophic results for you the operator or for innocent bystanders.

But to be sure, the person most likely to be injured by a UAV is you the operator. Fingers are cut or lost, arms and faces slashed all due to negligence on the part of the person most likely to get close to the craft while it is powered, once again you the operator.

SO how do we avoid the carnage?

Continue reading When Drones attack! (or more likely, when people attack themselves though stupidity)