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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!

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 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: Electrathon of Tampa Bay

13 Mar

tbt carWe’ve long  been fans of Electrathon racing.   Electrathon joined us at our first Maker Faire in 2012, and we’re really happy they’ll be at this year’s event.  We talked to Ken Fiallos, the Executive Director and Founder of Electrathon of Tampa Bay, to learn a little more about this awesome program and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast Maker Con.

GCMC:  Just what is Electrathon of Tampa Bay?

Electrathon of Tampa Bay is  mentoring partnership of contractors, educators, Electrathonengineers, interested citizens and information technologists .    Our vision is to contribute to the laying of a foundation for a green, vibrant, low carbon future full of possibilities and opportunities for tomorrow’s children in the Tampa Bay area.  It is our mission to make this contribution by promoting Electrathon Racing and Solar Sprinting, endeavors full of technological entrepreneurial challenges and adventure.

GCMC:  Tell us about Electrathon racing!

KF:  An electrathon is a custom built three or four wheeled electric vehicle, somewhat similar in overall appearance to a Go-Kart, but powered by an electric motor and batteries. Electrathon class vehicles are principally defined and constrained by length and width (12 feet long and 4 feet wide maximum) and by battery weight and chemistry (73 lbs, sealed lead acid). Driver’s weight is ballasted to 180 lbs for fairness. Safety regulations require features such as braking systems, roll bars, and electrical disconnects. The basic format is to determine which car can travel the furthest distance in one hour’s time within the limitations of battery weight and other factors mentioned above. The main design problem is posed by the fact that fast speeds drain the batteries rapidly resulting in the car not being able to continue in motion for the entire hour, so design teams must compromise speed in order to gain distance.

Electrathon racing itself is a somewhat recent invention, first started in 90s in Australia. It is has grown in popularity in the Lomax JSS team smallestNorthwest and New England States as well in Canada and Mexico.The relatively low cost of the electrathon racing has made the sport a popular activity for many colleges and technical schools although it has achieved its largest participation among high school age students world-wide.

GCMC: What’s involved in building the cars?
The areas of knowledge and skills that are encompassed by the design, construction and operation of an Electrathon car are wide-ranging. Here’s some of what student learn  when building the cars:

  • Electronics, Electricity and Electromechanics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • AutoCad and Machine Design
  • Planning , Organization and Project Management
  • Construction and Assembly Techniques
  • Budgeting
  • Teamwork
  • Writing & Communication
  • Aerodynamics, Aesthetics, Ergonomics
  • Research Skills
  • Environmental Science and more.

You’ll get to see these great electric racers and Jr. Solar Sprint cars in action at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

 

Call for Makers Extended to March 21st!

13 Mar

Future is brightWe’ve gotten a rush of inquiries and interest, so we’re extending our Call for Makers through March 21st.   Learn more about Gulf Coast MakerCon here, and apply via the form below.  It’s free for educational and demo exhibits, and just $75 for the weekend for vendors!  All Makers will have a 10×10 foot area, a 6 ft. table and two chairs. The rest is up to you! Make it Awesome!

If you’re interested in flying your maker flag as a sponsor at Gulf Coast MakerCon, please check out our sponsorship opportunities, too!

Gulf Coast MakerCon for Educators

9 Mar
GCMC educator cover

Click on the image to download a copy of the Gulf Coast MakerCon Educators Guide.

The “maker” movement is simply the DIY creative spirit reignited for the 21st century. It’s a return to self-sufficiency, self-reliance and creativity, providing engaging and hands-on opportunities to inspire, educate, and entertain curious and creative learners of all ages. It celebrates arts, crafts, engineering, food, green design, music, science and technology and brings together communities who embrace the DIY (do-it-yourself) spirit.  There are lots of ways to “make” education happen in this very active learning experience, and to engage students in active learning at Gulf Coast MakerCon.

We’ve compiled some resources for educators interested in visiting Gulf Coast MakerCon with their students, or just looking for classroom take-aways.  The weekend will be rich with hands on learning opportunities for all ages, and will hopefully inspire some ideas for classroom enrichment in the process.

The overall goal of Gulf Coast MakerCon is to help people of all ages become empowered creators of their future and ours, to feel capable of creating, repairing, inventing, adapting, handling, trying , and becoming active and engaged producers instead of passive consumers . To that end we hope that both youth and adults will take the opportunity of Gulf Coast MakerCon to:

  • Meet and interact with all our Makers, who are sharing their unique passions and projects.deconstruction
  • Explore the wide variety of exhibits and presentations that will be available throughout the weekend.
  •  Experience a live performance or demonstration.
  • Engage in a hands-on project or activity that you can take home.
  •  Collaborate on a project or share experiences with people of all ages.
  • Learn about the power of the Maker community.
  • Be inspired, as a student or member of the public, to try at least one new idea at home or at school.
  • Be inspired, as a teacher, to bring at least one new idea for active making into the classroom.
  • Get a sense of the wonder and value of following your passion!
  • Inspire Curiosity in the world around you!

If you’re a public school teacher in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, or Polk county and would like to bring groups of ten or more students to Gulf Coast MakerCon, please drop us a line at info@learningis4everyone.org so we can provide you with a classroom rate, and help maximize the educational impact of your visit.

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.

eventbrite button

Click here to Buy Tickets!

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

Gulf Coast MakerCon Comes to Florida Fairgrounds, April 5 & 6

26 Nov

fb iconLearning is for Everyone (LI4E.org) hosted the area’s  first ever Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire in 2012. 2013 logoIn 2013, our event nearly doubled in size, drawing more than 500 attendees. For 2014, LI4E is dialing up our annual DIY Celebration of the Inventive Spirit with a two day Gulf Coast MakerCon, at the Florida Fairgrounds Special Events Center April 5& 6, 2014.

With an emphasis on technical, creative and professional workshops and sessions covering everything from patent development and the inventive process, to 3D printing, programming, mechanical and electrical design, green tech and open source technologies, Gulf Coast MakerCon will provide added value for adult attendees, with a special Young Makers section for kids and families, as well. There will be a wide variety of creative nd interactive vendors, exhibitors, and entertainment that includes everything from robotics and metalsmithing, to recycled instruments, ham radio, RC modeling, automotive tech, gaming, inventions, innovations, future tech and much more.

So save the date and look for more details soon!

GadgitKids and the Power of Reverse Mentoring

31 Jul

Gadgitkids logoHere’s an awesome idea! GadgitKids works “to create a society of mobile device users whose capabilities keep pace with the sophistication of technology.” – They do this through “reverse mentoring”  - a collaborative intergenerational win-win process of employing high school and college students as “GadgitKids”  giving them the tools and training to be effective communicators with a passion for helping others learn technology.

“Young people, our future leaders, need confidence and support,” says GadgitKids. “You need their technical knowledge. The end result of effective reverse mentoring is a working relationship between a young person and an adult which is mutually beneficial. “

GadgitKids invites college students, or high school students entering their junior or senior year, to review the position descriptions on their website and submit an application to become a GadgitKid.  Currently, applications from Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas and Polk counties are being considered.

Visit  GadgitKids at http://gadgitkids.com/apply-to-be-a-GadgitKid to apply or learn more.

Invention Alive and Well in Tampa Bay

29 Jul
gabotronics

Gabotronics at our 2013 Makers Fair

The Tampa Bay Business Journal ran a piece earlier this month titled, “Tampa tech industry is healthy, but local inventors are needed.”  Clearly TBBJ hasn’t been to one of our Maker Fairs, but more to the heart of the matter,   TBBJ says what’s missing is funding – “Industry observers say lack of local funding has cost the Bay area promising startups such as TourWrist, a Tampa company that moved its headquarters to San Francisco to be closer to potential investors.”

We’d suggest local entrepreneurial and community support is also critical.  Having a community that supports small scale innovation and invention is vital to nurturing that innovation and invention and keeping it here.   And invention does thrive here in Tampa Bay!

Over the last couple of years, we’ve highlighted dozens of Tampa Bay area inventors, from Snapit Screw to Gabotronics, and FRETS1 Satellite, In10did and Mentagy at our Fairs, to website profiles of inventors like young Hunter Morera and his Select-a-Wrench, John Doyle and his Doctor Door Stop,University of South Florida associate professor Daniel Yeh’s Gates’ funded water snap it screw photopurification device, and others.

More recently, South Tampa inventor  Jeff Bonnell  has been in the news with his Splashtablet Case – a unique suction-mount, waterproof case the iPad , and Palm Harbor inventor,  Tanya Lewis, who signed with Master Broker Jack Di Salvo (of Oxyclean fame),  and was also lauded as  Mom Inventor of the Year ,  an honor that included two airings on QVC for her Green Glider reusable mop pad.

Inventors are alive and well in Tampa Bay, and our community is growing and getting stronger all the time.  Here at Gulf Coast Makers, we celebrate makers big and small, young and older and will keep celebrating them, and working for the types of spaces and places where we can all invent and create together.

If you have an invention, an entreprenuerial experience, idea or best practice to share, or just want to talk shop,  contact us . We welcome guest bloggers and maker news from all over the Gulf Coast.

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