Tag Archives: Gulf Coast Makers Festival

Meet the Maker: Pamela French, of Pami Pocket

3 Apr

Pami at Spark n Hustle

Pamela French is one of our great commercial makers,  bringing her creation, “Pami Pocket ” to Gulf Coast MakerCon.   She’s also Vice
President of the Tampa Bay Inventor’s Council, one of our event partners, heading up our Inventors Showcase.  We asked her to tell us about herself and her product.

GCMC: What do you Make?

PF: A handy little neoprene cell phone holder for women called the “Pami Pocket”

GCMC: What got you interested in your product?

PF: I constantly found myself without pockets to hold my cell phone, but I always needed to have it on mePamiPocket. I thought there had to be a better way, but after I couldn’t find anything after searching in stores everywhere I decided to create it myself. My husband and I are the owners of an automotive upholstery shop so he sewed up the first Pami Pocket prototype in our backyard garage.

GCMC: What do you think makes it different from other similar products?

PF: Pami Pocket is different because it has a long, thin strap that can be worn across the body or around the neck. It’s made of neoprene so it’s water-resistant and Pami Pocket is so lightweight and soft, you’ll forget you even have it on. Pami Pockets are not just functional, they’re fashionable! They come in a variety of colors and rhinestone designs to choose from or you can get your own company or team logo design on a Pami Pocket!

GCMC: What are you bringing to MakerCon?

I hope sharing my experience and the things that did and didn’t work for me will help others who want to become inventors or “makers”. Of course I’ll be bringing the entire Pami Pocket line and am looking forward to sharing my handy product!

GCMC: What do you hope to take from MakerCon?

I’m expecting to have a great time meeting new people, networking and getting exposure for my product. I can’t wait to see all the other maker’s creative ideas and maybe even sell a few Pami Pockets along the way!

GCMC: Why do you think an event like MakerCon is important?

PF: MakerCon is one of the best ways to put yourself out there and share what you love. This is the perfect opportunity to meet other creative people and get inspired.

GCMC: Anything else you’d like to add?

I was just a mom working in the backyard when I came up with the Pami Pocket idea. I had no idea what to do, but by joining my local inventor’s club, I was able to learn and move forward much faster. I now have my product in boutiques and beach shops, and even a few local Walgreens and now am the Vice President of my local inventor’s club, the Tampa Bay Inventor’s Council!

Come see Pam French and her great Pami Pocket creations at Gulf Coast MakerCon this weekend! Discount tickets, good for the whole weekend, are available through April 4th.

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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 Story Makers: Scott & Nick with F5Live: Refreshing Technology

30 Mar

F5Live

Our third Tampa Bay maker festival is notable for many things, from being our first two day event, to the number and diversity of makers joining us this year, and for the refreshing presence of Scott Ertz and Nicholas DiMeo of F5 Live,  who will be broadcasting live from Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014 on Saturday.

We asked them to tell us about F5 Live, what they do and why they do it.

GCMC: So – what do you do?

F5 Live: Hosted by Scott Ertz and Nicholas DiMeo, F5 Live: Refreshing Technology is a livecast covering the worlds of gadgets,  gaming, Internet and media. Each weekly show airs live on Sunday nights at 9p eastern time at http://www.f5live.tv/joinus, allowing the audience to chat with the hosts live on the air and ask questions about the topics discussed on the show. After each episode goes off the air, the audio and video are then uploaded and are available for download through any number of services by Monday morning.

The crew also travels the country to cover special events and conventions from the International CES to ROBOCON Tampa Bay and

nick and scott

F5 Live broadcasting from the 16th Annual Orlando FRC Regional in March.

Gulf Coast MakerCon. Special shows air throughout the week of the events. F5 Live: Refreshing Technology is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network and is part of the PLuGHiTz Live Family. For more information, inquiries or if you’d like to have F5 Live appear, cover or produce content at your event, please visit http://www.f5live.tv or reach out to contact@plughitz.com.

GCMC: Great plug! We highly recommend people contact you.  But – why do you do it?
F5 Live: Because sleep is overrated. Like many of the people and companies exhibiting at the convention, we believe that our time is best used in the creation of things that others enjoy. In other words, we enjoy spending out time with cool things and sharing those cool things with others.

GCMC: How are you participating in GCMC?
F5 Live: We will be broadcasting live from the convention, helping to show off the maker culture as well as the really interesting things that our local makers have created. Our goal is to give everyone at the event a chance to show off their wares.

GCMC: What do you hope to bring to GCMC?
F5Live: Attention; loud, obnoxious attention. Through the broadcast, we really hope to be able to expose the uninitiated to the truly unique world that is the maker culture. Lots of people have passions that they don’t know can be fulfilled, and seeing others doing it might encourage them to try.

GCMC: What do you hope to take away from Gulf Coast MakerCon?
Someone’s 3D printer. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.

Okay – so watch your stuff if Nick and Scott come by, and watch F5 Live – you’ll find it refreshing!  Look for Scott and Nick at Gulf Coast Maker Con all day Saturday, as they help us tell the Maker Story in Tampa Bay!

 

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 Game Makers: Suncoast Skirmishers

27 Mar

suncoast skirmishers

One fun new element of this year’s Celebration of the DIY Inventive Spirit is the incorporation of International Tabletop Day into our event, made possible thanks to Suncoast Skirmishers.  We spoke with Dominick Trascritti, who heads up the RPG Gaming portion of the group, who told us a bit about the group and what it brings to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014.

“Suncoast Skirmishers is a group that is associated with Historical Minature Gaming,” explained Dominick. ” It is really a loose group made from members who specialize in role playing, historical miniature players, fantasy/science fiction gamers, and board gamers. Most members are also members of the Pathfinder Society of Florida who play Paizo’s Pathfinder Living game, Historical Miniature Gaming Society South, Story gamers,thumbs_tabletopday2014_600x500 and smaller groups.

“In its essence all tabletop gaming is about imagination, and socialization. Players share something to explore, if it’s a fantasy world, a “what if” question from history, or even exploring game theory. Players play in the same room, and socialize before and after a game.

“Professional gamers are employed not only by militaries around the world, but “serious games” also allow business to help managers gain confidence, and urban planners practice for disasters or operations.

gaming

Tabletop gaming

“There are many skills that come from gaming in this manner. First are simple math skills, pattern recognition, strategy, and statistical theory. Softer skills such as persuasion, speaking, and confidence are also exercised.

“In role playing games teamwork, attention to detail, planning, and flexibility under pressure are exercised.
Many players also like to know the actual history then try new twists on the story, for example, “What would have happened if Cornwallis at Yorktown was able to break out and continue to fight the Revolutionary war?”

“In many parts of the hobby, the miniatures and tables must be designed, fabricated, painted, and repaired. All these are skills that are learned or taught.

“For Gulf Coast maker Conference, we hope to bring this hobby to light to others, show the players how games are played, and provide chances to play full scale events.”

Meet the Maker: Jason Rawley, of Fireblade Comics

26 Mar

fireblade comics

We love the cosplay and gaming elements of our event this year, and are happy to welcome Jason Rawley of Fireblade Comics to our line up for Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014.  We asked him to tell us a bit about his work and what he’s bringing to our maker event.

GCMC: What do you do?

JR: Fireblade Comics began as my dream of producing online, live-action, interactive comics. As it’s developed over the years, I also incorporated my other works with custom action figures, props, and other collectibles.

GCMC: Why do you do it?

JR: I grew up in the 80’s as a huge fan of comics and movies and I was drawn to the realm of film making at an early age, especially special effects. Even as early as elementary school I Jasonwould create props and set pieces for the school plays. Art has always been in my veins so over the years I’ve done everything from graphic arts, website design, drawing, writing, and crafting. I’ve been building scale models for many years so that led to customizing action figures. Prop making became more of a demand as the cosplay community has grown, to the point where I get quite a few commissions throughout the year from people who come across my other works.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or valuable?

JR: I believe all art is important as self expression while is essential to us as humans. For those who get into cosplaying or collecting, this can be a great escape from the stress of normal life. So it’s always a privilege for me to be able to use my art to express myself while at the same time creating things people will use and appreciate for years.

GCMC: How long have you been doing it?

JR: I’ve been crafting, building, and customizing since early childhood so most people would say it was “all my life”.

GCMC: What do like best about it?

JR: As a form of self expression, being able to create things from my imagination is a wonderful release and a therapy. It’s taken me places and I’ve gotten to make many great friends over the years.

iron-man-unleashed-ver2-18GCMC: What are you bringing for folks to see or do at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

JR: I’ll be bringing a healthy selection of my customs including an array of props from sci-fi blasters to Ghostbuster gear as well as some action figure bases and displays. If possible I’ll bring some work-in-progress pieces so I can demonstrate how projects move through the construction phases.

GCMC: What do you hope to get out of your Makercon experience?

JR: I’m hoping to meet some good people with the same interests and fanboy fascinations as myself as well as get some feedback on my projects.

Come check out Jason’s awesome work at Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5 & 6!  Get your discounted tickets today!

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Meet the Maker: Todd Emmons and the Bait Dipper

26 Mar

Bait Dipper

We’ve got some great inventors showcasing some awesomely cool inventions at Gulf Coast MakerCon this year, and one of them is Todd Emmons, with his Bait Dipper, built just for the avid fisher person in your life!

We asked Todd about the Bait Dipper and his upcoming visit to Gulf Coast Maker Con.   As you can see, ToddJessica Harrelson 03-23-14 likes fishing, and also the opportunity to make a positive impact through what he loves to do – invent – and fish!

 

GCMC: What do you do?

TE:Invent new products.

GCMC: What inspired you do it?

TE: The love of fishing.

GMCM: What makes your invention different from other things that are already available?

TE: It solves a problem of retrieving live bait from a bait well or bucket.

GCMC: What will you be sharing at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

TE: The Bait Dipper. All-In-One, Aerator, Flashlight, Tackle Box & Flip Top Opening with Bait Window.

GCMC: Is this what you do full time?

TE: We are working our way there. We also are owners of an internet marking company and a construction firm.

GCMC: What do you love best about your work/product?

TE: Sharing our vision on helping out our community and being around something we love ( Fishing )

GCMC: Why do you think an event like Gulf Coast Maker Con is important?

TE: So we can inspire others, that they can do what ever they set their minds to do. Also It is part of our branding efforts as we try to attend all expos trade shows and festivals. Networking is another great source for information on advancing your product.

GCMC: What do you hope to get out of participating in Gulf Coast MakerCon?

TE: Brand awareness, helping others, and a great time meeting new people.

GCMC: Anything else you’d like to add?

TE: Yes!  Whatz Up Products Inc. with the manufacturing and assembly of the “Bait Dipper” is partnering with the Transformational Learning Center a division of Broken Beautiful Ministries, Inc. a Christ-based organization whose vision is to bring hope to a targeted area in West Pasco County, Florida by bringing together businesses to teach, train, equip and encourage individuals who are caught in a cycle of entitlement or who are re-entering into society from jail, prison time or the less fortunate. This transformation will be achieved through job training and discipleship which in turn creates self-esteem that comes from working and taking pride in their accomplishments.

You will feel a sense pride as well that you are helping make a difference in the lives of so many and that the product is “United States of America Made”.

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We hope you’re inspired by the Emmonses obvious pride in their work, and come see their BaitDipper and other great creations at Gulf Coast MakerCon!

Meet the Idea Makers: Tampa Bay Inventors Council

25 Mar

TBIC

The Tampa Bay Inventors Council (TBIC) is a long time friend and partner of LI4E, and we’re delighted to welcome them to Gulf Coast MakerCon 2014, where they’re hosting the Florida Inventors Showcase.  We talked to Wayne Rasanen, president of TBIC, to learn a bit more about his great organization and what they’re bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon.

GCMC: What do you do?

WR:  I help coordinate the Tampa Bay Inventors Council meetings and activities plus, plus, plus…

GCMC: Why do you do it?

WR: Inventors need guidance to avoid getting ripped-off by bad actors so TBIC provides a forum where inventors can meet to share their experience.

GCMC: Why do you think it’s important or valuable?

WR: America is great because of the ideas we generate and the businesses we build. Helping that process is vital.

GCMC: How long have you been part of TBIC?

WR: Although I first attended in 1996, I have been active with the board since 2003 and president for the past eight years.

GCMC: What do like best about TBIC?

WR: I like helping people learn and connect with opportunities. When an inventor makes it on the market I’m thrilled to have helped.

in10did

Wayne showing a Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013 visitor his In10Did keyboard.

GCMC: What are you bringing for folks to see or do at Gulf Coast MakerCon?

WR: TBIC has been involved with Maker events for several years and know that it is a rewarding place to be. I will be bringing my keyboard innovation but several inventors will be showing what they are working on.

GCMC: What do you hope to get out of your Makercon experience?

WR: Feedback on product development is a big plus but it is great to see what others are doing to help fuel our creative minds.

GCMC: Anything else you’d like to add?

WR: Come hungry to learn and you will leave all filled up!

As you can see, Wayne’s a busy man of few words – but as you’ll be able to see at Gulf Coast MakerCon  2014, he’s definitely a man of action, leading a great group of not just thinkers but awesome doers!  Among the inventions that will be on display on behalf of TBIC:

So head out to Gulf Coast MakerCon April 5th and 6th,  come hungry to learn – we’ll fill your plate up!

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