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Meet the Makerspace Makers and Attend our 3rd Annual Makerspace UnConference

1 Apr

It’s an exciting time in Tampa Bay!  When we held our first “Makerspace UnConference” at our first Maker festival in 2012, there were no full scale makerspaces in Tampa Bay.  The Faulhaber FabLab at the GWIZ Science Museum in Sarasota and Familab in Orlando were our two closest maker neighbors.  Learning is for Everyone was exploring the idea with potential collaborative partners, and a couple of other efforts were under consideration.

This year, we’re joined by four groups who have various programs underway and are excited to share their success and programs with Gulf Coast MakerCon attendees.  We’re happy to introduce them to you! They’ll be exhibiting at Gulf Coast MakerCon all weekend, and leading our 3rd Annual Makerspace UnConference on Sunday, April 6, at 4:30 pm, where you can learn more about these spaces, and how you can work to build more of them in your community.

Community Innovation Center at the John F. Germany Library 

new logoThe Community Innovation Center (CIC) at John F. Germany Library is a collaborative effort between 1939934_482287221897921_725617154_oLearning is for Everyone, Inc (  and the John F. Germany Library,   the flagship library of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.   At 10,000 square feet, the CIC is the largest such facility in Tampa Bay and in Florida, and will function as a public Makerspace, an Entrepreneurship Center, a proving ground for Invention and Exploration, and the ultimate Creative Space,  providing the tools and human capital for fostering active creation, as well as the necessary knowledge for that creation.  The CIC, scheduled to open at the end of April,  is arranged into eight distinct, but flexible sections:

  • TechMasters Center
  • Entrepreneurial Center
  • Robotics Centers
  • Hands-On Workshop
  • Machine Shop
  • Media Lab & Studio
  • Arts Center
  • Computer Lab

CIC staff will be sharing some fun activities for our Young Makers section, and showcasing a little of what will be available in the space when it opens.

Faulhaber Fab Lab

Fab Lab logo

The Faulhaber Fab Lab is the oldest space in the area, currently moving to a new location in Sarasota, it bring high level manufacturing capabilities to the Gulf Coast area.  “A fab lab, ” explains representative, Eric McGrath, ” is a non-profit entity that has collaborated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to assemble a diverse collection of state-of-the-art equipment and computers into one workspace as a community center for innovation, entrepreneurship, and STEM education.”

fablab WorkshopsDr. Fritz Faulhaber and his wife Ping and through the Faulhaber Family Foundation are collaborating with the community of Sarasota to open the fab lab and be a central resource for invention and fabrication by individuals, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, retirees and business. The staff and volunteers in the community workshop instill the confidence for members to learn, design and safely operate computer-controlled machinery.

“The aim of a fab lab,” says Eric, ” is to teach advanced skills in design, innovation and how to make “almost anything”. These skill sets learned through nurturing the inventor in all of us can be applied in many careers. Business collaboration, workforce development and community innovation is an integral part of the Faulhaber Fab Lab.”

Visit for updates and information

Tampa Hackerspace

tampa hackerspaceTampa Hackerspace is a local community workshop organized to enable learning of technology skills by providing tools, space, equipment and classes.

“We are a non-profit, membership based institution, ” explains Tampa Hackerspace president, Bill Shaw. ” A broad selection of classes and workshops are open to both members and non-members.

“Every week we open our doors to the public and get together to build some cool projects and meet some very cool people. Join us to work on your stuff, bounce ideas off of members, check out the 3D printers and other equipment and socialize. Occasionally, we’ll throw in a small workshop or class. This is our best attended event and is a great opportunity to see what we do and meet our community.”

Tampa Hackerspace also hosts a Kid’s Open Make on Sunday Afternoons for crafts, electronics and technology projects, Minecraft, programming activities and more! Every month, they have a new theme and a host of new activities geared towards elementary and middle school students. Space is limited so they ask that you RSVP on to reserve a spot.

You can connect with Tampa Hackerspace:
Classes & Events:

Land O’ Lakes Library,  Pasco County Library System

The Lanedgar allan ohmsd O’Lakes Library in Pasco County has been exploring the idea of opening a makerspace in its library system for the past year, and made a name for itself this year, Pasco County Library Cooperativewhen it became the first library in the country to field a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team – the Edgar Allan Ohms! – who competed at the Orlando FRC Regional in March.  The Library is a trend setter, home to
one of the largest battle of the bands in the state (Rockus Maximus) and a popular anime convention (Lamecon) . A makerspace isn’t far behind!

The Land O’Lakes Library will be demoing their FRC robot, and showcasing free services and opportunities for job seekers and entrepreneurs. And you can apply for a library card, too!

Makerspace UnConference

Our 3rd Annual Makerspace UnConference will be held on Sunday, April 6th, at 4:30 pm at the Gulf Coast MakerCon stage.   As an “un” conference, it’s a casual opportunity to join in open discussion with these four very different spaces, that share a common interest in providing public creative spaces to build, learn and develop skills for hobby, personal satisfaction, and academic and career enrichment.   Join us to get ideas, share insights and find ways to collaborate in bringing more of these great spaces to Tampa Bay and the Gulf Coast!


Meet the Maker: FreeFab 3D

19 Mar

Capture3D printing is all the rage these days, and FreeFab 3D is joining us at Gulf Coast MakerCon to show us why.  We asked FreeFab to tell us a bit about what they do and why they do it.

GCMC: Tell us what you do 
FF3D:  FreeFab 3D is a team of friends who have come together to design and build 3D printers, and we’ve just released our brand new model – the Monolith.

GCMC: Why do you do it?
FF3D: Fundamentally, (we have) a passion for making stuff. Everyone in the team comes from a technical or engineering background in some form or another, and for all of us openfreefab source 3D printing is a great way to let our inner nerd loose.

GCMC: What got you interested in 3D Printing?

FF3D: The interest initially came Mo and Lance Eppley purchasing a 3D printer and starting Tangible Labs and it grew rapidly from there. Through Lance’s beer-based networking the interest quickly spread to Fri (who was already 3D Printing at home) and Joel…it was only a matter of weeks before we were building our first printer.

GCMC: 3D Printing is everywhere these days – what makes you different?
FF3D: Each of the founders of FreeFab 3D brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge with them, particularly from the printing industry. Between us, we have a number of years working in engineering, electronics, product design, software development and marketing – this, and the passion we have for making stuff, makes us a great team.

Also unlike a lot of printing companies, we really want to focus on selling to local businesses and organizations, and offer better service – both during and after sale.

GCMC: What are you looking forward to at Gulf Coast MakerCon?
FF3D: We love attending Maker events, it’s great to meet people who share an interest in making and building things. The fact that it’s in Tampa Bay, where we’re based, makes it pretty important to us.

GCMC: What do you hope to show or teach folks?

FF3D: Firstly, that 3D printing isn’t as hard or scary as it may initially look, it’s great way to quickly prototype and realize the crazy ideas we all have every day.  Secondly to show our new 3D printer in action, the Monolith.

GCMC: What do you hope to get from the event?
FF3D: We’re excited to meet fellow makers and demonstrate our printer in action. Anyone who is even remotely interested in 3D Printing should stop by, take a look and ask questions – we’re ready and waiting. This is something we are passionate about and love doing, and we’ll talk all day about it.

GCMC: Anything else you’d like to add, comment or talk about?
FF3D: Come stop by our booth, see our 3D printer in action and meet the team – we’re offering a 10% discount on any orders placed at the show.

How awesome is that?! Advanced discounted tickets are on sale now – Get yours today!eventbrite button

Meet the Maker: Tangible Labs

1 Mar

tangible labs photoOur collection of awesome Makers is wonderful and growing! This weekend, we’ll get to know Tangible Labs. Tangible Labs grew out of MityMo Creative, a creative services agency located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. For over ten years, MityMo has provided print, mail, and web design and development services focusing on local small businesses, non-profits, and political campaigns.  Tangible Labs specializes in “making the world a more fun and interesting place through the use of micro-manufacturing machines and three dimensional printing technology. We believe in the real-world magic of dreaming an idea, and bringing that idea into reality by building it before your very eyes.

We checked in with Tangible Labs to learn a little more about them.

GCMC: What do you do?

TL: At Tangible Labs we provide 3D modeling and custom 3d print services for prototypes, customized and personalized items. We also started selling own own products called NerdTags.

GCMC: Why do you do it?

TL: We believe in the real-world magic of dreaming up an idea, and bringing that idea into a reality by building it right before your eyes.

GCMC: Why do you think it matters?

TL: 3D Printing technology allows anyone with an idea to make it a reality. Previously, rapid prototyping services could take months and $1000s of dollars. Now if you have an invention, you can design it and print it in the same day. The can really change manufacturing and engineering and hopefully make it more affordable for the average person and not just big corporations.

GCMC: How can others do it too?

TL: 3D printing is open source technology. It doesn’t take special training. Just the willingness to learn and explore new possibilities.

GCMC: Why should they want to?
The future is now.

 GCMC: What are you looking forward to at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

TL: We are looking forward to showing off the 3d printer to people who many have only read about it or seen videos online. It really is hard to explain to people, so having it printing as we explain the technology is a lot of fun. I love seeing their eyes light up and the excitement when they “get it!”

GCMC: What are maker fairs important?

TL: They are important because they give  people opportunities so see things in person they have only read about and it’s a chance to let them met and network with other like minded people. For kids it’s a great way to inspire them to work hard and try new things and to learn to not give up.

Come see Tangible Labs and more great exhibitors at Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5 & 6th!  Advanced ticket sales available now through April 4th at Eventbrite.



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