Discussion about AMRoC Fab Lab

(Terri Willingham) #1

The Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center (AMRoC) FabLab is dedicated to bridging the manufacturing and industry talent gap through robust project-based engineering education and training. AMRoC FabLab is a collaboratively organized space being installed at University Mall, near the University of South Florida (USF), as part of the new mixed use, city center redevelopment plans for the Mall that will include co-work space, entrepreneurship resources, social enterprise and USF College of Engineering facilities.

At AMRoC, youth and adults will be able to explore science, technology, engineering, manufacturing and related education and career training opportunities. FIRST youth robotics teams and other STEM competition programs will have design, build, practice and meeting space, and local entrepreneurs can access rapid prototyping and small scale manufacturing. Collaborative partners include Hillsborough County Public Library System, USF, St. Petersburg College, SOFWERX and more.

This is the general thread for discussing the lab; the thread is also visible on its page at https://www.fablabs.io/labs/amrocfablab

(Terri Willingham) #2

A look at the genesis and goals of our work developing the AMRoC Fab Lab at University Mall in Tampa - https://ffcdi.org/2018/10/19/amroc-fablab-at-university-mall-in-tampa/

(Terri Willingham) #3

A look at why we decided to organize our facility as a Fab Lab - https://amroctampabay.com/2018/10/22/amroc-the-fab-lab/

(Terri Willingham) #4

We’re making progress on building out AMRoC Fab Lab in Tampa!

(Terri Willingham) #5

We’re STEAMing along! To date - in three short months , AMRoC:

  • Welcomed over 400 people using our facility, about 150 of them students, for meetings, programs and more
  • Three events have been held at AMRoC
  • Six different organizations have utilized the space
  • At least three different independent projects are under development at AMRoC

Our inventory of equipment has grown to include a drill press, mini lathe and laser cutter and we continue to build out with the help of an amazing crew of volunteers! Read more and see photos here:


(Terri Willingham) #6

Construction curtains came down this week, just in time for a FIRST Robotics Competition scrimmage with about a half dozen area teams. While there were only a couple or three field ready robots, the rest of the teams worked hard to get their robots up to speed before this week’s “Bag & Tag”. It was a great test of AMROC Fab Lab’s space configuration and we got great feedback from teams attending the event, overwhelming positive feedback expressing their gratitude for access to the space, and the full sized FRC field.

We also enjoyed a visit from ABB Robotics representation, Synapse, FL and more.

This week , our in-house FIRST Tech Challenge team heads to the Florida FTC State Championship, and then it’s back to the workshop, to start testing and organizing donated tools and equipment, and planning programming for our summer opening.

(Terri Willingham) #7

As we work towards our grand opening in this summer, AMRoC Fab Lab is working hard to have programming in place as well as tools. We’re particularly heartened by the amazing community partners joining in to help build capacity and personal empowerment in the University area community.

Among our first offerings this summer is an ASE G1 Test Prep course, provided by our new associate, Car Care for the Clueless. ASE G1 certification makes it possible to earn higher wages in the automotive industry , not to mention being better able to take care of your car. AMRoC is also in the process of setting up SolidWorks and Autodesk resources for training and certifications. Additionally, Code for Tampa Bay Brigade, the local affiliate of Code for America, meets at the Fab Lab , teaching as they serve.

Interest in programming and training opportunities is already high, as organizations like the Caribbean ‐American National Development Organization reaching out to see how we might collaborate on serving the community’s growing workforce readiness needs.

We’re looking forward to identifying our Sustainability Development Goals and creating the best programming and resource facility we can for the University area development district.

(Terri Willingham) #8

One of our first fabrication projects was our storefront sign! This turned out to be a great project for engaging new volunteers and capturing the interest of our followers on social media and passersby at the Mall. The sign was built completely from scratch, with MDF (Medium-density fiberboard) scrounged from existing materials in the former sportswear store where AMRoC is located. The frame is built of aluminum porch extrusions.

The sign itself was created by projecting the AMRoC logo onto the MDF board, and then cutting out the letters with small handheld multifunction power tool with a cutting edge attachment. The board was then primed and spray painted with a metallic hammered grey finish. The whole thing was mounted to an opaque acrylic panel, behind which LED light fixtures were mounted. Finished with a white backboard to more evenly reflect the light, our finished sign is a beautiful and fitting piece of functional art, collaboratively built by an amazing group of volunteers who believe deeply in the value of this public Fab Lab space.

(Terri Willingham) #9

Recently, as part of the international Fab Lab community drive to encourage alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) board members and associates met to review the seventeen goals set forth by the UN, to see which seemed most applicable to our location, constituents and capabilities. These SDGs, says the UN, are “a call for action by all countries – poor, rich and middle-income – to promote prosperity while protecting the planet. They recognize that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection. “

As the parent organization of AMRoC, FCDI board members reviewed and considered all of the UN SDGs, before committing AMRoC Fab Lab to three goals the board felt are within reasonable grasp of our fledgling fab lab. Our three goals are:

  • SDG 4: Obtaining a quality education is the foundation to improving people’s lives and sustainable development. At AMRoC Fab Lab we pledge ourselves to quality educational offerings that inspire and empower, creating agency and self-suffiency by giving youth and adults hands on learning opportunities that develop 21st century soft skills in communications, digital literacy and STEM engagement.

  • SDG 8: Half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. AMRoC Fab Lab will help foster economic growth and improve work opportunities by supporting entrepreneurship cabilities , access to training and certifications, and helping create new jobs.

  • SDG 9: Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization. AMRoC Fab Lab is a living example of industrial innovation, established in a repurposed infrastructure where we bring new value and purpose to a former retail space. At AMRoC Fab Lab, we will contribute to the development of sustainable technological and manufacturing solutions, and leverage micromanufacturing capablities that bring manufacturing within reach of more people and small businesses.

We got off to a great start on all three of those goals with a visit from Tony Selvaggio of eSmart Recycling, which, in addition to salvaging ewaste, also refurbishes computers for youth educational programs. Tony donated several desktops and lap tops to AMRoC, for use in educational programming and training. Additionally, AMRoC will be working with Tony to pilot a youth entrepreneurship program this summer, which he created to get youth thinking about the business development process.

We’re excited about the scope of impact AMRoC Fab Lab can have on the Uptown Tampa community and look forward to getting programs up and running with our great community partners in June!

Follow along our journey at AMROCTampaBay.com and related social media.

(Terri Willingham) #10

Childrens%20Board%201The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation is grateful to the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County for their recognition of AMRoC Fab Lab as the agency’s 2019 Social Enterprise Competition winner. Second place went to AMRoC’s wonderful friends and neighbors at the Caribbean American National Development Organization, Inc. for their Arts & Cafe program. We love that we could share in the honor together, bringing the best of science, technology and the arts to the University Area!