Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tampa Hackerspace: Full Speed Ahead

Exciting times at Inspiration Labs and the Tampa Hackerspace. We had a great turnout at last night's meeting, our first since committing to leasing space. We had about 30 people and a great mix of interests - info security to robotics to wearable technology to molded chocolates to cosplay to biotech. We spent a bit too long having everyone introduce themselves but it's so great to hear all the skills available and projects people are working on. We could fill 3 classes a week for the rest of the year just from the expertise in the room last night.

We took a lot of questions and I know a few didn't have great answers. Like I said at one point, it's going to be a bumpy ride over the next few months as we grow the space and figure things out. But I've never been more excited and more certain that we're on track for a great hackerspace - something that's long overdue in Tampa.

I don't really want to completely recap where we are in our plans because we'll be doing that on the Inspiration Labs blog shortly. But we will be leasing space at CoWork Tampa - the big open meeting room that we've been using. It is office / meeting space and can support the cleaner and quieter fabrication work. We are pursuing several options to handle the messier / noisier equipment like woodworking, welding, etc.

Our next steps are to build out the space a bit, starting with a few locking cabinets and workshop tables. We have a good array of donated / loaned equipment that we will be moving to the space as soon as we have storage for it. We have a group working hard to prepare a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a few key pieces of equipment - starting with a 3D printer and a laser cutter / engraver. We will be sorting through the class options and will be offering more classes soon.

I'm really looking forward to looking back at this post sometime next year and remembering when this hackerspace was just 30 people in a room. Just a few months ago it was 3 people talking at the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire.

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