Scrap on Spot Hosts the Deconstruction Zone at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

Deconstruction Zone MakerCon flyer We’re very excited to announce a collaborative partnership with Scrap on Spot for Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.  Scrap on Spot is an e-waste recycling company with a higher purpose, committed to environmental stewardship and sustainability through the recycling and repurposing of electronics.  Scrap on Spot president Tony Selvaggio was the recent winner of the  Hillsborough Business Pitch Competition at the county’s Access to Capital event, and has spoken at 1 Million Cups Tampa and other events throughout the area about helping us change our behavior and mindset with regard to electronic waste.

At Gulf Coast MakerCon, Scrap on Spot is partnering with Eureka Factory to help young guests get up close and personal with electronics in the Deconstruction Zone, where youth, with the guidance of adult experts, can help dissassemble scrap electronics and learn about what’s inside the electronic devices we use every day.

Scrap on Spot will also be providing on-site e-waste collection.  Now’s the time to unload SOS-logo-small_1408371925_referencethose old Computers, Keyboards, Mice, Circuit Boards, Printers, Scanners, Copiers, Fax Machines, VHS Players, CD Players, Stereos, Telephones & Cell Phones, Component Parts, Tablets, and Laptops.  (Please do NOT bring  Batteries, fluorescent light bulbs and TVs or monitors. Thank you!)

Thank you, Scrap on Spot, for helping us Make our Day!


Posted in Electronics, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Young Makers | Tagged , , , ,

Meet the Makers: Tampa Amateur Radio Club

TARCWe’re very happy to have the Tampa Amateur Radio Club (TARC) joining us again this year at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015.  We asked a couple of their members to tell us a bit about amateur radio and the place of ham radio in the DIY community, and they did a nice little back and forth for us here to share what they love about ham, and why they think you’ll love it too!

So Meet Jon and Liz:

TARC at last year's Gulf Coast MakerCon event

TARC at last year’s Gulf Coast MakerCon event

Jon: Hi, my name is Jon (KJ4NYD).

Liz: Hi. My name is Liz (KM4BWM) and we are amateur (ham) radio operators.

Jon: Before we get into the kinds of things that amateur radio operators do or build, let’s talk a little about what amateur radio is.

Liz: To be a amateur radio operator to me is fun and interesting. You meet all different kinds of people from all over the world. It is a way to interact with someone that you may have otherwise have never met, or even had an opportunity to meet.

Jon: For those that don’t know, amateur radio is what what the rest of the world calls “ham” radio. They are just different words for the same thing. You may ask yourself “what’s the difference between that and a C.B. radio?”

Liz: OK Jon. What is the differnece?

Jon: Well, there are a couple of differences. The first is output power. C.B’s are limited to about 5 watts and are only for local area use. Most people don’t realize that it is illegal to use a C.B to talk to anybody that’s more than 60 miles away.

Liz: Really?? I didn’t realize that C.B.’ers were limited to that short of a distance.

Jon: Well, I’m not saying that they don’t do that, but yes it is illegal. Amateur radio operators on the other hand can talk all over the world if conditions are right. Depending on frequency, we can use 1000 watts or more. Because of the increased power, we are required to get a license which is free and only requires that you pass a simple test.

Liz: Yeah, you don’t have to take it four times like I did. Thankfully there’s no limit to the number of times yyou can try to pass the test. Thank god it’s pass or fail. :)

Jon: There are different levels of licenses… Technician, General, Advanced, and Extra. We can go into the difference later for anybody that’s interested.

Liz: So Jon, how easy is to make your own radios and antennas. Also, why would you build something on your own instead of just going onto the internet and buying something out of the box?

Jon: Well Liz, take a look at the picture of the antenna that I’ve attached. Those are just a antennasfew of the antennas that we have at my local club (yes, us radio geeks have clubs). Just one of those can cost $1500 or more, but they’re regular just stainiless steel tubes, nuts, and U-bolts that are assembled in a particular way. You can buy all those things at Home Depot like $120 or so. All you need to do is get the measurements right.

Liz: Yeah, but what if I’m not mechanically inclined?

Jon: There’s are apps to help figure out the measurements. Anybody can put a nut onto a antenna 2bolt. Plus all you have to do is ask for help, and tons of other hams will come to help build and install the thing.

Liz: That is true. The ham nation is one of the friendliest groups of people that I’ve ever met.

Jon: I personally also like to build things just to see if they work.

Liz: What kinds of things have you built?

Jon: Well, I’ve got a handheld antenna made from PVC pipe and pieces of an old tape measure. We call that a tape measure beam. I also made an HF antenna out of 5 metal slinkies that I bought at Toys R Us that works surprisingly well. Pictures of both are attached.

Liz: You’re kidding. They actually work!!?? How cool!! How far away can you talk with them?

Jon: The tape measure antenna is good for just a few miles. However, I have talked to people across the Atlantic with the slinkies.

Liz: Well I got into it to be able to help out in emergency situations. Helping out with Police and Fire departments when phones lines are down.

wiresJon: Cool. All it takes for that is a wire to be strung between 2 trees, or along a fence, or something. All wire sends out and receives radio waves.

Liz: I have not talked to as many people as you have, but I have found it cool that we got to listen to the space station for the a minute or two as it passed us by. They go so fast that the signal goes by quickly. I love the fact that I can speak to either someone in the states as far as Alaska or as close as Tampa or go the other route and speak to someone in Australia or Japan.

Jon: The nice thing about this hobby, if you can think about it, you can do it. People still use voice and morse code, but we also send digital dignals as well. Plus TV signals.

Liz: So what will we be displaying at our table at Makercon?

Jon: We’ll have both local long distance capabilities there. We’ll be completly running off of our own power supply, and will be using an antenna that another Maker built to take on hiking trips into the Colorado wilderness.

Jon and Liz: We both look forward to seeing you at Gulf Coast MakerCon.

And we can’t wait to see you both there, too!


Look for more Maker features soon!  Want to share you Maker story? Visit our Contact page to get in touch.

Posted in DIY, Electronics, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Radio | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Makers of Maker Spaces at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015!

makerspaceThe year we held Tampa Bay’s first ever maker festival, Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire, in 2012, the concept of “makerspaces” in the Tampa Bay area was just a fledgling idea.

The Faulhaber FabLab , then at the GWIZ Science Museum in Sarasota, was the only formal such space in existence in the area.  Small independent spaces, like the always awesome Backyard Workshop provided glimpses of what could be accomplished with some high end tools, friendly collaboration and creativity, but there were no easily accessible public creative spaces for most people.

Today, just three years later, there is an abundance of maker, hacker and fabrication

The Hive at John F. Germany Library

The Hive at John F. Germany Library

spaces in operation or under development across the Tampa Bay area and along the Gulf Coast.

The spaces profiled here have already signed up to participate in Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015, in our Makers of Spaces area, and will be showcasing member projects, providing opportunities for hands on fun and learning, and sharing information about their spaces and how to be part of them!

If you’re part of a community makerspace in the Gulf Coast area, join in the fun and register your space for Gulf Coast MakerCon today!

InnovationLabThe Innovation Lab at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus, which is one of our great collaborative partners for Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015,  opened this past summer at the Seminole-St. Petersburg College Library.  The space has an an active and creative community of makers and educators are working on everything from Interactive Fiction Games to exploring uses of 3D pens.  They hosted the Mid-Pinellas ComicCon and MakerCon in August, drawing thousands.  The Innovation Lab is leading coordination of our ComicCon & Game Fest area at this year’s event.

st pete makersSt. Pete Makers is the newest space on the Gulf Coast block.  Spearheaded by Mo Eppley of Tangible Labs, and also a collaborative partner for Gulf Coast MakerCon, St. Pete Makers held their first Maker Fest on December 20th, and will be opening their new St. Pete Makerspace this winter!



Stetson Innovation House

Innovation House at Stetson University is an academic makerspace that provides creative gathering space for  students, alumni and staff and a suite of contemporary tools for rapid prototyping. It is currently hosted by the Stetson Hacker Space student organization and was provided start up support from the Prince Entrepreneurship program.


The Faulhaber FabLab has a storied history of breaking ground in the fabrication, rapid prototyping, STEM education and creative development community on the Gulf Coast.   The Faulhaber Fab Lab is reopening in its new location at the new Suncoast Science Center this spring, providing fresh space for its digital fabrication lab where students, teachers, hobbyists, entrepreneurs, business owners, retirees, inventors, or anyone with curiosity and a tinkering spirit can make their ideas come to life.  The FabLab is currently in “beta mode” with members of the Sarasosta Makerspace and will open to the public in late spring.

Eureka Factory

Eureka Factory, which produces Gulf Coast MakerCon,  is a maker of public makerspaces in the most literal sense, facilitating creative space development and design in public libraries, schools and other community facilities throughout the Tampa Bay area.   Owned and operated by Steve and Terri Willingham, designers of The Hive at John F. Germany Library, a  10,000 sq. ft. public makerspace which opened last fall, Eureka Factory seeks to raise awareness of the power of active creation over passive consumption through hands on events and programs.  In addition to Gulf Coast MakerCon, Eureka Factory also produces  ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, a FIRST K-12 youth robotics showcase, each fall, and is a collaborative partner in a variety of community building programs and efforts throughout Tampa Bay.

Posted in 3d printing, DIY, Education, Gaming, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Science, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Southeast Combot Championship at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

Southeast Combot ChampionshipLast year, we were delighted to have light weight fighting robot competitions at Gulf Coast MakerCon, courtesy of the USF Robotics Interest Group.  This year, we’re excited to be able to kick things up several notches,  with new expanded space for matches in multiple weight classes up to 220 lbs.!

The Southeast Combot Championship comes to Gulf Coast MakerCon with two arenas, and generous space for pits and work areas.  Weigh in and safety inspections will be from 2-8pm on Friday, April 17th, and from 8-10am on Saturday. Fights will start at 11am on Saturday, April 18th.

The arena combat area will be 16’x big bot26′ with a steel floor. The competition is open to all college, high school, and recreational builders . Visit the Builders Database for more information and to register your own team!

Many thanks to the Sam McAmis and the University of South Florida Robotics Interest Group for bringing the Southeast Combot Championship at Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015!

Posted in MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Robotics, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Gulf Coast MakerCon Early Bird Tickets Now Available

what do you makeWe’re pleased to announce that Early Bird ticketing is now open for Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015!

  • Early Bird Specials run through midnight March 31: $8 per person, ages 13 and up. $25 for a Family/Friend 4-pack (Early Bird special only!). Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $5.
  • Advanced tickets run April 1-April 17: $10 per person, ages 13 and up. $8 for children ages 6-12 .
  • Prices at the door, the day of the event: $12 per person, ages 13 and up. $10 for children ages 6-12.


Satellite Event LogoGulf Coast MakerCon 2015 is a USA Science & Engineering Festival Satellite Event, and a National Robotics Week event, and will feature National Robotics League NRW-logo-rgbFighting Robot Competitions in multiple weight classes, a ComicCon and Tabletop Gaming area, Young Makers section, Rapid Prototyping, Heritage Crafts, Inventors Showcase, Makerspace Corner, Innovative Arts, Ham Radio and much more!

Posted in DIY, Entrepreneurship, Gaming, Gulf Coast MakerCon, Gulf Coast Makers Festival, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival, Robotics, Young Makers | Tagged , , , , , ,

Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 Makers Application Now Open!

baitdipperMake stuff? Love sharing what you make? Love selling what you make? Gulf Coast MakerCon 2015 is the place to do both!

Our Makers Application is now open, and we invite you to share what you make at our April 18th event at the Florida Fairgrounds!

Proposals must fit the goal of Gulf Coast MakerCon to bring together science, art, craft, engineering, and music in an exciting and interactive public event.  All makers, commercial and demo, are required to complete a Gulf Coast MakerCon release form, which will be sent separately.

If you are selling products, it’s just $50. If you’re not selling anything, it’s free! (Although there may be a $50 refundable deposit required to ensure participation – no shows are no fun!) We’re aiming for 80-100 Maker booths for our 2015 event,  in indoor and outdoor spaces.  Spots will be filled on a first come, first qualified basis.

apply button

Click the button to go to our Makers Application!

Application deadline is  March 21, 2015 – deadlines are always closer than they appear, so apply to share your maker awesomeness soon!

Posted in DIY, MakerCon, Makers, Makers Festival | Tagged , , , ,

Happy Holidays from Gulf Coast Makers!

GCMC 2014 Holiday greeting

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