Author Archives: Bill Ball


Innovation Lab Fall, 2015 Workshops offered by Bill Ball and Bryan Roppolo:

Tinkercad. 10/6, 4-5pm. duPont-Ball Library East Room. Learn the basics of 3D design for 3D printing using an easy and free, cloud-based application. No pre-registration required, workstations provided first come, first served.

Soldering. 10/13, 6-7:30pm. Innovation Lab, duPont-Ball Library. Introduction to the basics of soldering, including tools and equipment, wire selection, and simple electronic components. You will make and take home a cool blinky Make badge. Bonus swag: Google branded safety glasses! Enrollment limited to 8 students. Register online at:

Vacuum forming. 10/15, 7-8pm. Innovation Lab, duPont-Ball Library. Creating molds, shells, cases, and cosplay parts using our vacuum forming machine. Bring small objects with you to copy/mold that you don’t mind draping melted plastic on. Bonus swag: Google branded safety glasses! Enrollment limited to 8 students. Register online at:

Cricut and CNC machines. 10/19, 1:00-2:30pm. Innovation Lab, duPont-Ball Library. Learn how to lay out 2D designs in vector format and then cut them on our Cricut and CNC machines–good for working in paper, plastic, fabric, wood, and metal.  Bonus swag: Google branded safety glasses–and you’re going to the need them for this one! Enrollment limited to 10 students. Register online at:

Intermediate 3D printing. 10/22, 3-4pm. Innovation Lab, duPont-Ball Library. Not happy with the quality of results you’re getting from the 3D printers? Want to know more about the differences among our printers and how to get the most out of them? Drop by for some tips on how optimizing your prints. No pre-registration required.

Arduinos. 10/26, 6-8pm. duPont-Ball Library East Room. Building circuits and operating lights, motors, sensors, etc. using our Sparkfun Inventor’s kits for Arduino. Enrollment limited to 15 students. Register online at:

Please note: register with your real name so we can confirm that you are a current student. If you register for a workshop and do not show you will be removed from any further registration lists. 

Makerfaire Mania!

Orlando Makerfaire gets its geek on September 12 & 13. This is the big event of the year. Even bigger now that it has grown beyond the Orlando Science Center for the first time to include the Orlando Museum of Art and the path between them will be lined with food trucks!



Over 200 hundred maker exhibits will be available to play at. I will have a table of toys as part of the Factur collection where Stetson folks can meet up. There is some sort of 18 foot banana and the ever popular human powered snow cone hamster wheel thing. But probably the biggest news will be the world’s record largest arcade machine that has been under construction at Factur for the past few weeks. Put a carpool together, bring very large quarters and I will see you there!


The Other Shoe Drops

Now that we have a spiffy new makerspace, we need a spiffy new course on the books to teach in it. So here it is, ask for it by name (actually by CRN 7096) at registration time for Spring:

ENTP190 Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: 3D Printing and Rapid Prototyping 
MWF 01:30 pm-02:20 pm

Instructors: Tandy Grubbs, Chemistry and Bill Ball, Political Science

Have an idea for a product or small project but don’t know how to get it made?  This hands-on course will introduce you to the tools and concepts you need to rapidly bring your ideas to life using the resources of Stetson’s Innovation Lab. Primary emphasis will be on 3D printing and 3D design for printing. This will be supplemented with introductory units on model making, electronics, micro-controllers, vacuum forming, CNC routing, hand tools and power tools.


Membership, the reboot

J.J. Abrams was not available for this reboot so I guess we will have to do it ourselves.

Now that Innovation House in the old garage has become Innovation Lab in the Library we will need to redo our membership list.  You will need to re-sign a risk acknowledgement form similar to the one you did before. This will put you on the list for access to Innovation Lab. Let me put that another way: to use Innovation Lab you need to sign the paperwork again.

The form is here,

It will also be available in the library. Please complete it and turn it in to Bryan Roppolo or another librarian. The list of names generated from the singing the forms will also allow us to renew our blog author list and stay in touch with everyone.

We will also announce a series of safety workshops (and other workshops) shortly. You should sign up for one of these if you have not done one. I will try to provide Bryan a list of everyone who has had a safety orientation but I think you will get access to everything sooner if you just take one of the safety orientations when they are announced.

To use anything in the room with the power tools you will have to be on record with the Library as completing a safety orientation.





Innovation House becomes Innovation Lab

Ok here is the big announcement…..

Thanks to the efforts of Dean Susan Ryan, Innovation House has been merged into a greatly expanded and renovated space that has been housing the library’s 3D printers. All of the equipment (and most of the furniture) acquired by Innovation House has been moved over to join the four 3D printers in place at the library.

We will have to work out the details of membership, etc., but at this point Innovation House has essentially ceased to exist and we will call it Innovation Lab, a name the library has already been using. Feel free to come over and check it out and start using it when you are back on campus. While you are there, say hi to Bryan Roppolo, the new library staff member who has his office in the lab and will be taking on running Innovation Lab. I have a desk in the new space and will be there often. We will put together some workshops for the fall.

The new space is about the same overall size as Innovation House but divided up into more functional rooms and much nicer. Needless to say, it is in a much better location on campus, right on the main floor of the library.

Below are a series of photos showing the new space. Everything is operational at this point except for the Shapeoko CNC and I will get to that when classes start.

The best thing about having a garage start-up story is the part about moving out of the garage. Goal accomplished.



Is this the new home of Innovation House?

This post mostly serves as notice to watch for the next one.

A big announcement is coming soon!

Until I have a date finalized I can share two things:

  1. Innovation House is currently all packed up and will not be available for use for the next couple of weeks.
  2. No more bugs!



Internet of Things Weather station at Stetson.

I am assembling a wifi-connected weather station at the Gillespie museum on campus that will stream weather data via As a base I am implementing the Sparkfun weather station project (although with the much more sturdy mast structure already in place). This will be a base that someone who wants to do a project in IoT, interface design, data analytics, etc can work from in the next academic year. It will be operational before the summer is over.

This is the Sparkfun setup. Ours will be more professionally mounted.

This is the Sparkfun setup. Ours will be more professionally mounted.


Upcycling Innovation House

I came into to Innovation House today and found Jifu Groleau and Logan Dobson making messenger bags out of upcycled materials. The bags are made from plastic grocery bags, old t-shirts, wax paper, used tie-down straps, zippers, and velcro. If you are interested in making your own contact Jifu at



MakerCon last notice, Makerfaire first notice

Now is the time to plan your attendance at the local festivals of Make.


MakerCon is next weekend (Saturday, April 18) at the Florida State Fairgrounds. It’s an easy 2 hour drive down I-4. Over 75 exhibitors have signed up for an intense day of building and destroying stuff. The most popular categories seem to be robotics (including live robot combat), entrepreneurship & inventors, and other makerspaces. Highly anticipated activities (other than the robot combat) include the ability to have yourself 3D body scanned for printing (bring your own thumb drive), an outdoor pod drone race, an open demo mosh pit, and the kind of explosive chemistry demonstrations that have been banned from more timid maker events. Innovation House will have a booth. We probably won’t blow anything up but it should be a kinetic day.


Orlando Makerfaire has been announced for September 12 & 13, at the Orlando Science Center once again. This is the big one for Florida. About 2000 people attend each day, anxious to get their hands on stuff and be impressed by your brilliance. Stetson has had a booth every year of this event and I encourage you to start thinking about what projects you would like to bring, even if it’s only for part of a day.

Arduino Day

Arduino Day at the Melrose Center, March 28

The Melrose Center at the Library in Orlando is a cool place with 26,000 square feet of tech toys (, mostly audio/video/multimedia production. Arduino day is being co-run with the Orlando Robotics and Makers Club (
I will be there with my usual Arduino gadgets and the project. You should come.
Bill Ball​