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:

  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • littleBits Workshop Set
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • 4 CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Ultimate Starter Kits (Can be taken home!)
  • 3 Arduino Starter Kits (Can be taken home!)
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • Snap Circuits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV
  • Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast
  • Atari 1040ST computer running Notator music software
  • Microsoft Kinect
  • Google Cardboard for Virtual Reality
  • An iMac, 1 Linux computer, and 2 Windows computers
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • Reference Collection including books and magazines

SPC innovation lab booksGCMC: Why do you think it’s important, useful or worth doing?

CM: Libraries have started moving away from being places of consumption and are becoming places of production, so having a space that gives people a chance to explore various technologies is a good thing. To me, libraries are all about discovery and giving people a safe and comfortable place to dream, think, and create is very important.

Just today, we helped a retired plastics engineer get his secret invention into an actual prototype, so we can 3D print it and give it a test run. We tried using Autodesk 123D Catch and it worked ok, but we’ll probably design this piece in Blender. Also, we were introduced to PolyMold PCL plastic from MCM Electronics. Basically, the pellets melt and become pliable thanks to boiling water. Pretty cool stuff and it is all happening in our library!

GCMC: What are you bringing to Gulf Coast MakerCon?

CM: We will be bringing our Mindstorms robot, a Circuit Scribe, littlebits Synth Kit, a classic arcade game emulator powered by a Raspberry Pi, a cardboard virtual reality headset, and whatever else we can fit into the car.

GCMC: Will folks be able to do anything at your booth?skull with google glass

CM: Everything will be hands-on and we will encourage people to play with the technology.

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

CM: Do it yourself culture is becoming very popular and it is interesting to see what people are able to make these days with the tools that are widely available to them. My kids may not become engineers, for example, but having a basic understanding of how things work in today’s society will give them an advantage in the future.

Plus, going to a maker festival can provide an initial spark that may grow into a large intellectual flame down the road.


Join us at Gulf Coast MakerCon on April 18th, and get your intellectual flame sparked!

Tickets button

Just two more days to get your advanced tickets to Gulf Coast MakerCon, discounted $2 off gate admission!


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