SPC Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce shows off the cookie cutter she created in St. Petersburg College’s Innovation Lab.
SEMINOLE – Budding creators and innovators can now share ideas, create robots, learn or sharpen programming skills and build objects using 3-D printers at St. Petersburg College’s new Innovation Lab. The space, located in the Seminole Community Library, provides a modern, technologically advanced version of your dad’s garage, so to speak.
The grand opening was June 3.
These creative learning environments, often called makerspaces, are growing in popularity, said Information Services Librarian Chad Mairn, who received a $3,500 Innovation Grant from the St. Petersburg College Foundation to start the lab.
“For years we’ve been more consumption oriented, but now the trend is moving toward creating while discovering things yourself,” said Mairn. “With these technology tools, you can design and build things, learn, and share ideas instead of passively consuming information.”
The space will provide an area where people with common interests like computers, technology, science or digital arts can socialize and collaborate on ideas and learn new skills. In SPC’s lab, which is open to the public, visitors can learn how to program different devices, such as the Raspberry Pi, the Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board and the ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board.
“That lab is going to be phenomenal,” said Instructional Technologist Nancy Munce, who used the 3-D printer to create a cookie cutter she designed from scratch. “Those printers are still wickedly expensive; too expensive to have at home. The potential to learn valued skills is remarkable.”
Munce saw Mairn’s enthusiastic Facebook post about the lab and took him up on his offer to get involved. She was looking to prepare cookies for a friend who was graduating from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
She figured out how to use Adobe Illustrator to create an outline for the cookie cutter and then used a 3-D CAD (computer-assisted design) program for the rest.
“I poked around and somehow figured it all out,” said Munce. “Basically this saved me from having to cut three dozen cookies by hand.”
In addition to the printer, the lab will have:
• FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers littleBits Synth Kit
• Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
• Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
• An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
• A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
• MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
• Cubelets KT06 Kit
• ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
• 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
• 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 with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
• Online File Distribution System for access to project files, open access resources and more
• Reference collection including books and magazines