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
The Community Innovation Center (CIC) at John F. Germany Library is a collaborative effort between Learning 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
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.”
Dr. 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 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.
Land O’ Lakes Library, Pasco County Library System
The Land 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, when 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!
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!