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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.


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!



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



Trends in Tech Hardware Entrepreneurship

Ready for a 192 slide PowerPoint? I thought so. This one from the hardware accelerator HAXLR8R is worth it:

If you eyes glaze over on the venture funding slides, just keep going, They really cover the field of new technologies and their very fast cycle of creation, funding, manufacturing, commoditization, and obsolescence. So that great product idea you just had is probably already available in Shenzhen for $1. Oh well.

E-nabling Innovation House?

E-nable is a project to develop open source designs for prosthetic limbs, print out parts on 3-D printers, assemble them, and provide them to people around the world who need them.

Is there a group of Innovation House members that would like to be part of this project? If there is sufficient interest we can acquire the parts kits and start making and distributing these. If you would like to be involved please e-mail me at

The Library Goes Pro

From the Stetson Library blog:

“New 3D Printer

The duPont-Ball Library now owns a UPrint SE Plus 3D printer. The printer offers high-end ABS filament printing with dissolvable rafting/scaffolding. Because of the cost of this machine and the cost of the materials to support it, this printer is restricted to academic print jobs by appointment Monday-Friday beginning at 8:30 am. Print jobs must be completed by 5:00 pm. Other print jobs may be done any time the library is open on the library’s two MakerBot printers which do NOT require reservations.”

Sign up here


Orlando Maker Faire 2014

The third annual Orlando Maker Faire is coming up on September 13 and 14, 2014 ( Stetson is a charter exhibitor at this event and 2014 is going to be a blockbuster year. The Maker Faire has been expanded to two days and promoted to one of the few featured events in the International Maker Faire network ( Over 170 exhibitors will be in Orlando. Check out this list:

We are seeking projects from the Stetson community to be demonstrated at the Faire. If you have something you would like to show and can spare half a day on either Saturday or Sunday, please get in touch with me (Bill Ball) at as soon as possible.

Even if you are not bringing a project for the Stetson booth you should go to this. I can help coordinate car-pooling. Tickets for the faire are available on their site.

See you there.












Stetson Startup Product

For the Stetson Startup Pitch we decided to build a computer which could sense both the moisture and the pH content of the soil including, then send that information to an android phone via bluetooth. This was done by using both a YuroBOT moisture sensor, an arduino UNO (from the sparkfun kit borrowed graciously from the Innovation House), a basic PH sensor bought from amazon, a HC-06 bluetooth transmitter and receiver, some resistors, and a basic breadboard.

The sensors were simply plugged into their respective ports on the ardiuno UNO, the bluetooth sensor was used in conjunction with a library found online with all the bluetooth commands needed, and then we found a simple potted plant to test all of our sensors.

After getting all of the sensors to work we calibrated them. For the moisture sensor we simply used the zero value as our lowest value, then to get the maximum value we placed the moisture sensor into a cup of water, after that whatever value we got was divided by our maximum plus our minimum. For the pH sensor we used the difference of the values received over out line to define our value. We then stated our minimum to be coffee (pH value of 5), which there was alot of at the Stetson Startup, and our maximum to be soapy water (pH value of 12). Once all of the sensors were calibrated we then stored the last 40 values and averaged them to display a simple smooth transition of sensor ouput values.

Our current sensor only gets the Moisture, and light amount; only because a pH sensor will slowly degrade over time, and the cheaper the sensor the faster it degrades and the worse the values will be.



Above image is that of the current sensor with an arduino UNO.



Our Stetson Startup team. From left to right David Edwards, Christian Micklisch, and Christian Casadio. Nathan Hilliard is not included, but was also in the team