Who We Are
Tampa Hackerspace was established to create a sustainable space for learning and collaboration. We provide space, equipment, and classes to enable members and the surrounding community to explore both their creativity and curiosity. Our mission is educational. We are currently a state-level non-profit and putting together the application for Federal non-profit status as a 501c(3).
DATELINE March 2013. With lots of interest, local enthusiasts pile into a recently formed Facebook group. There are about 120 members. Bill Shaw, a local IT guy who also runs kid-friendly robotics programs, volunteers to take the reins. A non-profit is formed and plans are made.
DATELINE August 2013. The Facebook community grows to over 200. Bylaws are written. Plans are made. A new team is recruited and placed into position as the board of directors. Thanks to a growing team of volunteers and a revitalized community, Tampa Hackerspace is born. A core group pledges enough in membership dues to make the rent and with the support of CoWork Tampa, we move into a great 1,600 square foot space in a historic cigar building in Tampa. We immediately start booking basic classes and holding weekly meetings.
DATELINE Today. The Facebook community is over 780 members. Our paid membership is now 25 individuals and families. We routinely have 20-40 people attending our weekly Open Make Nights. We are paying the rent and looking forward to how we can do more for the community. We have already done some great and fun things. We built Extreme Fencing for the 2013 RedBull Creation. We won the 2013 RadioShack Hackerspace Challenge by building a full scale TARDIS and embedded an EEG controlled video game. We built Superhoops and took them to the Orlando Mini Maker Faire. And then we open sourced everything on GitHub. November 9th, we hosted our first Restart Party where things were fixed and stuff was recycled - LOTS of stuff. In November we also participated in Make's Robot Hacks and built a robotic Minecraft chicken.
This is where you can help. We want to do more and make Tampa Hackerspace a resource for all of Tampa Bay. We are about more than fun projects and building community. We also want to establish a significant community outreach program for people who don’t yet know they are makers or don’t have the resources to express their skills and creativity. We want to teach kids that there are no limits to what they can accomplish. We will teach by doing and helping others build. Our slogan, “Build With Us,” idealizes what we are about.
To make this happen, we need better tools. Our membership is sustaining our operating costs but it will take years to self-fund the tools we need to do this right. We have identified a number of labs and workshops we plan to make available through our hackerspace. We also want to finish our Federal non-profit application so that we can attract resources from local tech and manufacturing companies. Finally, we plan to promote the maker movement through partnerships and by example. We want to empower everyone in our community to build with us.
Where Do The Proceeds Go?
About 20% of the money goes to paying the basic fees to Kickstarter and Amazon and reward fulfillment. We need better access control than we have with the simple locks on our doors. We plan to acquire a delta 3D printer, a laser cutter, soldering stations, bench power supplies, and a tabletop CNC mill.
Kickstarter + Rewards: $1,800
Space Upgrades: $500
We want every additional dollar we receive to go towards providing the best tools and equipment for our members and the Tampa Bay community. We’ve really worked to firm up our equipment list but it honestly still depends on how much money we raise. Here is where we'd like to be:
We realize that some of our backers will not know what some of these are.
While we do have a small 3D printer already, we want to get a larger model along the lines of the $2000 DeltaMaker. This will allow us to print larger objects than our current Solidoodle 2 can handle. Since 3D prints can take hours to complete, having two printers in the space will add additional capacity as well.
The laser cutter / engraver can take a flat sheet of material like paper, card stock, thin wood, chocolate, leather, some plastics, etc. and uses a powerful laser to cut very accurate 2-dimensional shapes out of the material. The machine can also use lower laser power to engrave designs into materials as well. Besides making flat products, a laser cutter is very useful to cut 2D shapes that can be assembled into 3D structures. The cost of a laser cutter can grow quite high. At a minimum, the Full Spectrum 40 watt model runs about $3,000 installed. A higher-end but still “starter” model like the Zing 24 runs nearly $11,000 before additional accessories and installation costs.
Cut and etched on a Zing Cut and etched on a Zing A CNC mill uses high-speed cutting tools to cut precise 3D shapes out of blocks of metal and some other materials. It’s a little like the inverse of a 3D printer which builds up shapes by adding layers of plastic until the desired shape is formed. The CNC machine builds shapes by removing layers of material until the desired shape is all that remains. More importantly, the shape it constructs can be of very sturdy materials like steel or aluminum rather than thermoplastic. The cost of a smaller CNC machine can range from a $3,000 do-it-yourself conversion kit of a Chinese-built manual mill to a $7,000 Tormach Personal CNC 770 Mill. Given the choice, we will likely hold off purchasing a CNC machine until we can afford a machine like the Tormach (or until we can find a great deal on an older used machine).
You could make a Stirling Engine with a CNC Mill and some seriously badass skillz! You could make a Stirling Engine with a CNC Mill and some seriously badass skillz! A CNC router is somewhat similar to a CNC mill but it is designed to cut shapes from large pieces of wood, MDF, and some plastics. It’s a fantastic machine for cutting signs, cabinets and enclosures, furniture shapes, arcade game cabinets, etc. The cost of a CNC router is usually not as limiting as the amount of space that the machine requires. We want to get a large machine but we need to consider where it can be installed. Even the larger Zenbot machines run $2000.
DATELINE April, 2014 (use your own time machine or our TARDIS). The Facebook community is over 1,000 members. Most of the new equipment funded through your generosity is installed and working. We have started a regular schedule of free safety and usage training for our tools. Classes are full! We are at 50 paid members and the weekly Open Make Nights are packed with people interested in making cool stuff. We have broken ground on our community agricultural initiative (currently in planning). We just wrapped up our second Restart Tampa event. Lots of interesting people are doing interesting things. The space is bustling with community groups, projects, and classes. People from all walks of life are engaged and here to build with us.
$15,000 Stretch Goal
CoWorkTampa has generously offered to significantly discount their $57 coworking membership to $20 per month for six months to EVERY backer of our Kickstarter plus every member of Tampa Hackerspace when we reach our $15,000 stretch goal.
$20,000 and $25,000 Stretch Goals
We will offer an extra two months of membership for everyone who pledges an annual membership at either the regular or keyholder level ($500 to $1100 memberships). This includes those who have already pledged. If we get to $20,000, we’ll extend these memberships by two free months. If we get to $25,000, we’ll extend the bonus to three months (for fifteen months total).
We’re working on a number of community partnerships. Right now, we have a handshake agreement with Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry makerspace to use their fabrication facilities but we can only get in there by appointment and the space is often in use by student groups preventing access to the gear.
"Tampa Hackerspace is a place where the best and the brightest want to be." - Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa, FL
This video features the songs “Dennis beat” by Jonas, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. © 2012, Richard Jonas and "A Way To The Top” by Soundroll.
TARDIS is a registered trademark of the BBC.
Build With Us!
Your contribution helps make us a better place faster. We're motivated, skilled, and extremely civic minded. As a group, we plan and execute big ideas to benefit our local area and demystify technology. The tools we'll be able to access thanks to this Kickstarter campaign will let us do this faster and better. Thank you for being a part of this. We hope you'll come by and "Build With Us!"
Risks and challenges
Our hackerspace is currently sustainable based on membership alone with enough revenue to pay the bills. But there is always the chance that our membership could disappear, cash flow could flatline and we could close our doors. If that happens, our non-profit charter requires us to donate all assets to a like-minded, non-profit organization.
Some of our rewards have risks associated with the use of third parties to manufacture items or source parts. We’ve lined up backup fabrication facilities and tried to stick with widely available components.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)