Hillsborough County Proclaims April 18th “Maker Day”

Makers Day 2015 ProclamationIt’s official! In recognition of Gulf Coast MakerCon, April 18th is Maker Day in Hillsborough County!

The actual proclamation, which is signed by all seven County Commissioners, will be on display at Gulf Coast MakerCon.  Be sure to stop by the Hillsborough County booth (#12) to share with county representatives why you feel supporting makers and making in our communities, at all levels is important, and especially to thank them for their support of Gulf Coast MakerCon with an EDI2 Grant, as well as the proclamation.

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Meet the Maker: Wayne Rasanen, Inventer of DecaTxt

WayneHe was Making before Making was cool! Anyone who’s been involved in the inventors community in Tampa Bay for any length of time knows Wayne Rasanen, long time leader of the Tampa Bay Inventors Council, but first and foremost, an inventor himself, creator of DecaTxt.

Wayne’s been an ardent supporter of Gulf Coast MakerCon from its earliest days as a Mini Maker Faire, and filmed our great promo video at last year’s event.   Wayne is a gentleman and a scholar, a friend of inventors, and a valued partner that we feel honored to have with us again for this year’s Gulf Coast MakerCon. He tells us more about himself here, and what you can look for at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.


GCMC: Who are and what do you make?

WR: My Name is Wayne Rasanen and I’m making a new kind of mobile keyboard for touch-typing called DecaTxt

GCMC: Why do you make it?

WR: QWERTY doesn’t work well on mobile technology and any touch-typing skills are lost 297438_10151348741358312_1504058625_non tiny touch-screens.We need something designed for modern small devices and the DecaTxt is the first step in that direction because you can type without looking with one hand.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important?

WR:  We see it as an important tool for improving accessibility for the vision impaired and a great variety of other disabilities. It can be used to more safely text because you don’t need to stare at your device to type.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

WR: We will bring a few of our keyboards so people can learn how a device the size of a deck of cards with only 10 keys can replace a full keyboard. We’ll show some other ways it can be used and even bring a game where stuff blows up!

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?

WR: Try it for yourself and see how 145 years of QWERTY could be at an end… at least in a mobile environment.

GCMC: Why should folks come out to a maker festival?

WR: Last year was a blast and you can see so many things, learn so much, play, build, and experiment with cool projects that you won’t find anywhere else. The line-up this year looks even better!

 GCMC: What’s so great about making stuff?

WR: Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. This is a place where the doers and the teachers get together and build stuff that can change the world. Leaders create and make the future so get off your butt and do it. In old age you won’t regret the things you have done as much as you will the things you neglected to do. Use your mind and build!


If that’s not a call to creative action, nothing is! Join Wayne and all our great Makers at Gulf Coast MakerCon, who are using their minds and building our future, and learn how you can, too!

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Last day for discounted tickets to Gulf Coast MakerCon, $2 off gate admission.


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Concerto in CAD: A Battlebot is Born

Some people put videos of nature or landscapes to music, or images of people. Some see concertos in CAD.  Enjoy this look at a Southeast Combot Championship robot under design, courtesy of Chris Willingham, a mentor with the  Edgar Allan Ohms Land O’Lakes Library Robotics Team.

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Meet the Maker: Minda Cameron, Creator of Flap Top Comforter

Gulf Coast MakerCon will feature a lot of tech related Makers and exhibitors, but we also have a big complement of crafters, who are equally the Makers we celebrate when we talk about the DIY Inventive Spirit.  “Inventive” doesn’t automatically equate to technological innovation.   Makers can be inventive with a variety of raw materials, arts and textiles, and developing simple and elegant solutions to everyday challenges is as valuable as a new app or gadget.   Minda Cameron is one of those Makers whose creation, the Flap Top Comforter provides one of those elegant solutions.


GCMC: Tell us a little about yourself.

MC: My name is Minda Cameron from the Tampa Bay Area.  Am a retired flight attendant
with Pan American Airways, and still a member of World Wings International.

GCMC: What have you made?

MC: The name of my product is “Flap Top Comforter”.  Having been a housemaker for my husband and 2 grown children, I saw that shams and decorative throws had no use at all, except to be thrown out of the bed when one is ready to go to bed.

My comforter replaces this  clutter on top of the bed with a decorative flap. A design feature of a pocket can tuck in toys for kids, as an incentive to make their beds, and for adults, they can tuck in love notes or flowers for loved ones, etc.

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

MC: Folks can try making bed with my mini-prototype, and prove for themselves that my product is a better alternative to the standard comforter.

GCMC: What should people come out to a maker festival?

MC: Folks should come out to the maker festival because this is a chance to meet people of all ages, creeds, gender etc. that try to make this a better world.


Minda is spot on about the value of a maker festival, and we’re so glad she’s part of Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015, bringing the message that innovation and inspiration come in all sizes, shapes and solutions!  Come meet Minda at Gulf Coast MakerCon and see how she’s made something as routine as making the bed, better!

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Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 Program Now Online

Program cover

Click the image to download the Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 program.

Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 promises to be our biggest and best event yet, and a sign of things to come, as our Maker community continues to grow and connect.   Check out our 2015 event program and start planning how you’re going to Make your Day at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

We’ve got

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Meet the Makers: Innovation Lab [Makerspace @ SPC]

InnovationLabThe Innovation Lab [Makerspace @ SPC] is a creative space at the St. Petersburg College Library of the Seminole Campus.  The Innovation Lab [Makerspace @ SPC] has been one of our great collaborative partners helping make Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 possible!

Chad Mairn, Librarian and Adjunct Professor at St. Petersburg College, as well as CTO of Novare Library Services, Inc., is the director of the iLab and shared a bit about the space, their goals and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon.


GCMC: Who are and what do you make?spc innovation lab

CM: The Innovation Lab [Makerspace @ SPC] is a collaborative learning environment, oftentimes referred to as our “technology playground”, where people of all ages and with common interests (e.g., science, technology, engineering, arts, and math — STEAM) can meet, socialize and/or collaborate while sharing innovative ideas and learning new skills. There are no judgements, no grades, and it is encouraged to color outside the lines and to make beautiful mistakes. The Lab currently has the following:

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Meet the Makers: Tampa Hackerspace

tampa hackerspaceNow two years old, Tampa Hackerspace is one of the oldest Tampa Bay public workshops around and one of the biggest and most active.  Several of the makers around their booth, are also members, and developed their creations and projects at Tampa Hackerspace.   Jon Adair, Director of Operations at the facility, took some time to tell us more about Tampa Hackerspace and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.


Tampa Hackerspace is a non-profit, membership-based workshop. We offer space, THequipment, and other resources for members to learn and build all sorts of things. We hold an “Open Make Night” on most Tuesdays when anyone is welcome to come tour the space, try out a 3D printer, get project advice, meet people, etc. We also offer a wide variety of classes from CAD and 3D printing to programming to lockpicking and leathercrafting.

We got our start almost exactly two years ago at this event. We’d seen spaces grow in other cities and really wanted to bring that experience to Tampa Bay. We couldn’t be happier with the response and support we’ve gotten from the community. We’ve grown faster than we ever anticipated and it’s been quite a challenge to keep up.

For this year’s Gulf Coast Makercon, we are bringing our full-scale TARDIS we built for the Popular Mechanics / Radio Shack Hackerspace challenge. It’s been around Tampa Bay and beyond, spending time at MOSI and appearing in a wedding. We’ve been updating the interior and electronics but it’s also just a fun photo prop. We will also have several projects incorporating Arduinos, 3D printing, laser-cutting, and more. We will have a 3D TH Shop areaprinter running, making different samples.

People should come to events like Gulf Coast Makercon to meet other makers. The tools and actual projects are neat but there’s tremendous value in being able to connect and network with a community of local makers.


Come meet the great folks at Tampa Hackerspace, see what they do and learn how you can do it, too, at Gulf Coast MakerCon Saturday, April 18th, at the Florida State Fairgrounds!

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Just 3 more days to get discounted tickets to Gulf Coast MakerCon – $2 off gate admission thru April 17th!



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