Maker Faire Orlando is a maker magnet, drawing creative and energetic individuals and groups from all over the state. Tampa Hackerspace is one those groups, opening as Tampa’s first Hackerspace in 2013, and recently moving into bigger quarters to accommodate a growing and active membership.
We asked Director of Operations, Jon Adair, a mobile app developer with his own company, Thinkamingo, and a founding member of Tampa Hackerspace, to tell us more about the space and what they’re bringing to Maker Faire Orlando.
Tell us about Tampa Hackerspace.
JA: Tampa Hackerspace is a non-profit, member-driven workshop. We provide space, equipment, and a community for people to make stuff. We now have three 3D printers, 2 CNC machines, an electronics lab, a wood / metal shop, and classroom space. We offer over a dozen classes for members and nonmembers on everything from Arduinos to Lockpicking to 2D Art. Every Tuesday we hold an Open Make Night for people to come check out the space, meet people, get advice or help on a project, 3D print something, etc.
Why do you do it?
JA: We started Tampa Hackerspace because the Tampa Bay area was long overdue for a space like this. We’re happy to share our experiences and to connect people to efforts to start spaces in their area. We’d love to see different spaces across the state connect to bring the tools of the maker movement closer to everyone’s neighborhoods.
How do you do it?
JA: Our focus is driven by what members are interested in. We’ve had an early focus on quadcopters, 3D printing, and IT security. As we’ve grown, we’ve expanded into electronics, sewing / fiber arts, traditional media art, and woodworking.
What’s unique about Tampa Hackerspace?
JA: We have a strong focus on getting kids involved in STEM activities. We run a weekly Kids Open Make where kids can come in and work with 3D printers, littleBits, Snap Circuits, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and other projects. Thanks to a $20,000 Making the Future grant from Cognizant, we held summer camps for Tampa youth where they did soldering and Arduino projects.
Why hang out at Maker Faires?
We enjoy coming to Maker Faires to meet lots of interesting people and hear about what they’re working on. We also love getting to connect in-person with other makerspaces and groups from around the state.
What are you bringing to Maker Faire Orlando?
At Maker Faire Orlando we will have a LEGO quadcopter project, a solar-powered pollution monitor system, Minecraft animatronics, some Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects, and more. A couple of our members, Steve Graves and Wes Faler, are also exhibiting their own projects nearby.
Come see Tampa Hackerspace and the great stuff their members are working on at Maker Faire Orlando September 13 & 14, and learn how you can get making in your community, too!