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Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 Fun & Successful!

11 Apr
Click to see our Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 Album!

Click to see our Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 Album!

Gulf coast MakerCon, Tampa Bay’s  3rd Annual Celebration of the DIY Inventive Spirit brought everything from Blacksmith Artists, to Electric Race Cars fireand fighting robots to the Florida Fairgrounds Special Events Center West, at 4800 Highway 301 North in Tampa, on April 5 & 6.

Gulf Coast MakerCon was an Affiliate Event of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, as well as a recognized National Robotics Week event, and a recognized International Tabletop Day event, co-hosted by Suncoast Skirmishers, where tabletop gaming enthusiasts  tried out everything from Dungeons & Dragons to board games and card games.

Over 550 guests enjoyed browsing 50 technical, creative and professional exhibits blacksmithscovering everything from patent development and the inventive process, to 3D printing, programming, mechanical and electrical design, green tech and open source technologies, with a special Young Makers section for kids and families helped along by the great folks at the Community Innovation Center in downtown Tampa, and Sarasota Scientific Instruments.  The Tampa Tribune and Fox New 13 came gave us some nice coverage, too!

robot battlesIn the Robotics Showcase, guests enjoyed student built robotics by FIRST teams, and the University of South Florida Robotics Interest Group 15 lb. and under class fighting robot competitions. We also had a Makerspace Makers Corner, a Florida Inventors Showcase hosted by the Tampa Bay Inventors Council, Electrathon of Tampa Bay student built electric race cars, and some energetic chemistry demos by Mr. Home Scientist, Dan Flisek.  The Florida Artist Blacksmiths Association was a huge hit, working their magic to turn iron rods into roses and other art.

Many many thanks to our great sponsors Hillsborough County, Gabotronics and Learning is for Everyone, Inc. and to our in-kind partners, DEX Imaging , Mity-Mo Creative, Studio 7 Communications and F5 Live Refreshing Technology electrathon racerswho broadcast live from Gulf Coast MakerCon all afternoon on Saturday!

We’ve already got our amazing planning team in place and the Special Events Center at the Florida State Fairgrounds reserved again for next spring, so stay tuned for Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015!

gamingAnd in the meantime, stay connected on our Facebook page and through Twitter, send  us your events and announcements, and join the Gulf Coast Makers Consortium and keep the momentum going in building our Gulf Coast Makers Community!

 

Visit Plughitz F5 Live Refreshing Technology to see more great video and interviews from Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014!

Day One, Awesome Fun!

5 Apr

flickr We had a terrific first day at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014! The weather was gorgeous, making for picture perfect runs of the Electrathon racers, breezes under the trees where the blacksmith artists worked, and generally a perfect Florida spring day to celebrate innovation,  creativity and invention!

The battles raged at B.A.M., with some awesome robot matches,  and we got some nice press from the Tampa Tribune, Fox 13 News and Plughitz F5 Live Makercon schedulecoverage throughout the day.

Check out our Day 1 photo album on Flickr, and some of today’s videos and stories.  The fun resumes tomorrow at 1oam.  The presentation schedule’s been changed up a bit – check out the latest line up here.

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Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 Program Now Online!

2 Apr

Program cover The Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 Event Program is be printed as we write, and available here online for you right now, to download! (Many thanks to MityMo for stylistic support and to DEX Imaging for printing services!thumbs_tabletopday2014_600x500

Check out our great line up of Makers, and our list of pre-scheduled workshops and demos.   Many more demos will be posted on-site Saturday and Sunday, by Makers running presentations at their booths.

Saturday we’re celebrating International Tabletop Day all day, in our Gaming Corner.  There will be a National Robotics League competition – Battle at MakerCon – underway throughout the day, as well, in the Robotics area, thanks to USF-RIG, with 15 lb. and under fighting robots duking it out.  Sunday look for some smashing fun with bigger robots and the demise of old electronics.Gulf Coast MakerCon Makers and Floorplan

The weather’s looking fine, and there will be something for everyone to enjoy all weekend long!

Discount tickets good for the full weekend are available through Friday evening online at Eventbrite.

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Tickets at the gate on Saturday and Sunday are $15 for adults, for the day, and $8 for kids 6-12.  Children ages 5 and under are free.  Fairgrounds parking is $6.

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 (LI4E.org)  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 www.sarasotascience.org 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 Meetup.com to reserve a spot.

You can connect with Tampa Hackerspace:
Web: http://tampahackerspace.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HackTampa
Classes & Events: http://www.meetup.com/Tampa-Hackerspace

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 Communications Makers: Tampa Amateur Radio Club

29 Mar

TARCWe’re excited to have the Tampa Amateur Radio Club (TARC)  joining us at Gulf Coast MakerCon again this year.  We’ve always had “Hams” at our maker festival, and believe they bring a fun, interesting and important element to our DIY Celebration of the Inventive Spirit.

TARC member Jon Rubin shared with us a bit about the club and what it does.

“The Tampa Amateur Radio club (TARC) is a place where people from all different walks of life can come together to share and promote knowledge in radio technology. We do this by sharing ideas, teaching new people, and experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. We’re also tasked with assisting Hillsborough County in providing backup emergency communication in the event of a hurricane or other such disaster.

“While we are all amateur radio operators, each of us has different things that we enjoy doing with our licenses. Some people enjoy

TARC at TBMMF 2012

TARC at our 2012 Maker Festival

contesting, some enjoy using voice or CW (Morse Code) to make contact with people in faraway places. Still others enjoy using various digital modes of communication.”

Jon acknowledged that a lot of people might question the value of Ham radio when we have cell phones and abundant social media.  He has an eye opening reply.

“Most people don’t realize that local cell networks will go down if as few as 10% of the cell phones in the area are used at the same time. This means that during an emergency situation, such as a hurricane and its aftermath, cell phones may be unusable. Amateur radio doesn’t have to rely on cell towers, or even the local power grid. It’s simple to connect our radios directly to any car battery. Because of this we can assist in getting messages to/from the outside world just minutes after the storm passes.”

TARC is bringing a couple of portable antennas and some different radios for display and will have a full setup working and on the air.  Visitors will be able to actually use some of the radio, and will be able to get information about upcoming licensing classes, and more.

So come out to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 and enjoy this great opportunity to TARC and give Ham radio a try!

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Meet the Maker & Gulf Coast MakerCon Sponsor: Gabriel Anzziani, of Gabotronics

28 Mar

GabotronicsWe welcome Gabriel Anzziani, of Gabotronics, back to our Annual DIY Festival of the Inventive Spirit for a third year in a row, and this year, as well, with gratitude to Gabotronics as a Gulf Coast MakerCon Sponsor.

Gabriel Anzziani, founded Gabotronics in 2009 and has been moving full steam ahead every since!  We first made

gabotronics

Gabriel Anzziani, at our 2nd annual maker festival in 2012

his acquaintance two years ago, when he attended our inaugural Tampa Mini Maker Faire in 2012.  His remarkable and remarkably tiny, oscilloscopes  captured everyone’s interest in 2012, and since then, he’s expanded his line of products to a dizzying array of embedded systems and custom electronic designs, and now he’s a regular on the Maker Fair circuit.

 Gabriel is also a Kickstarter whiz, successfully funding at least three campaigns, for the Xprotolab Portable and the Xminilab Portable, and most recently his Oscilloscope Watch, which had a goal of $60,000 and closed out at almost $70,000.

Gabriel will have a great selection of his awesome products available for sale at Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5 & 6.

About Gabotronics

Gabotronics is based in Lakewood Ranch, FL, specializes in design and manufacture embedded systems, a direct outgrowth of founder Gabriel’s lifelong interest in electronics. Gabriel remembers disassembling RC cars, and building fans with the motors; creating door alarms from dial phone parts; and getting shocked when playing with relays, and always imagined having his own company called Gabotronics. He got his bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering at Simon Bolívar University in Venezuela in 2003. Gabotronics was formally founded on 2009.

“I really enjoy designing, inventing, making,” says Gabriel. “When I receive feedback from my customers saying that my products are awesome, it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

Many thanks, Gabotronics, for supporting Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014!

Meet the Science Makers: Sarasota Scientific Instruments

25 Mar

color tubes ssi

Gulf Coast MakerCon is an Affiliate Event of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, and we’re proud to help take our place among events all over the country working together to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through engaging hands on learning.   Among our great participants at this year’s DIY Celebration of the Inventive Spirit is Sarasota Scientific Instruments (SSI), a nonprofit organization supporting science education across Tampa Bay.

We talked to Jennifer Holt – Queen of Discovery (aka Director of Programs & Education) at SSI, who told us more about this great organization.

GCMC : Tell us about SSI – what it is, what it does, and why it does what it does.

JH: Sarasota Scientific Instruments (SSI) is a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for hands-on exploration in science, technology, engineering and math. SSI began in Imagine schools palmer ranch 22006 in Pinellas county with a program called the Science Lending Library. The science lending library allows teachers to borrow equipment and kits needed for hands-on science exploration and experimentation in the classroom. Through the years Sarasota Scientific Instruments has partnered with many different organizations to facilitate lending of science equipment to teachers in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota and Manatee counties. Today, SSI not only provides equipment for borrowing to the four counties, but has also branched out to include educational outreach. SSI is also working to secure a location for a fabrication laboratory which will be open to schools and the general public for Sarasota and Manatee counties.

Sarasota Scientific Instruments and the science lending library program is supported by the Faulhaber Foundation. The Faulhabers, who are both engineers, are passionate about providing hands-on science experiences and have worked to fill the need to bring those vital learning experiences into the classroom. After all, how can you fully understand science concepts until you have the opportunity to apply them and actually experience how they work?

Imagine schools palmer ranch 1GCMC:  Can anyone use the Science Lending Library?  What’s it cost?

SSI’s Science Lending Library program is free to teachers in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Sarasota, and Manatee counties. Sarasota Scientific Instruments’ educational outreach and festival programs are available for schools, community festivals, school science nights, or any other special events for a fee depending on the program type and length. Please visit our website at www.sarasotascience.org for outreach program offerings and costs.

GCMC: What will MakerCon guests be able to see or do at the SSI booth?

At the Sarasota Scientific Instruments booth, guests will be able to browse through the selection of equipment available to teachers for borrowing through the Pinellas/Hillsborough branch. Guests will also get to try out a few of the science tools from the science library.

Please make sure to visit the SSI Faulhaber Fab Lab in the Makerspace Makers Corner, as well,  to see the exciting lab being established in Sarasota.

 

Meet the Maker: Daniel Flisek, Mr. Home Scientist

10 Mar

Daniel FlisekHome ScientistDaniel Flisek is a civilian Physicist working for the US Navy with a self-professed ” strong interest in chemistry on the side.”

We  asked him to tell us a bit about himself and what he’s bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon.

DF: “I have a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Virginia Tech, and I really got interested in chemistry only after I graduated. I originally got into amateur chemistry when I read Theodore Gray’s amazing website on his periodic table collection, and I decided I wanted to start my own.

“At first chemistry was a way to isolate elements for my collection by freeing them from their compounds, but my interest quickly grew to encompass all of the amazing things that can be done with the science. I’m particularly interested in inorganic chemistry and metallurgy.”

Daniel hosts a YouTube channel and blog, where he posts videos and write-ups of the experiments he does in his home laboratory.  (What? You don’t have a home laboratory?)

” The goal of all this,” says Daniel, ” is that I want to spread excitement and interest in science. Too often, kids get turned off to science (particularly chemistry) in school because the teachers either don’t have the background and aren’t aware of any exciting demos, aren’t able to do them because of lack of funds, or are too worried about liability. I’m trying to rekindle the spark of the scientist in people young and old by sharing what I do, and showing off some of the amazing things that can be done if you just put your mind to it.”

Look for some real sparks, at Gulf Coast MakerCon, too.  In addition to a static exhibit (which may have static) that will feature an Element display, Daniel will also be creating some showy chemical reactions for us.

“I think community maker events are a great opportunity for people to share the cool things they do with others,” says Daniel. “It’s also a terrific thing to demonstrate the incredible things people can do at home, and that you don’t need fancy equipment, a huge bank account, or a PhD to accomplish some pretty amazing things.”

If you want to see Daniel, and some fine chemistry, in action, get your tickets today

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Happy Holidays from Gulf Coast Makers!

24 Dec

Holiday greeting

Gulf Coast MakerCon Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale!

19 Dec

Take advantage of our Early Bird ticket sales for Gulf Coast MakerCon, and get admission for the full weekend at half the rate of a one day pass, paid the day of, at the gate! Early Bird tickets will be on sale now through Feb. 28th.

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Click here to Buy Tickets!

Interested in being a Maker? Click the button!apply button

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