Mitch Altman hosts a tour of Noisebridge

[Mitch Altman] just popped up once again (seriously, this guy is everywhere!) in a video tour of Noisebridge, and hackerspace he co-founded in San Fransisco. The space is 5200 square feet and they’ve managed to cram a lot of different uses into it.  There’s areas for computers and electronics, crafting and sewing, a dark room , a machine shop, a full kitchen, as well as classrooms and other gathering places.

He talks about what a hackerspace is and what goes on in San Fran before going off on a little tour of the hackerspace movement. His recollection pins the Chaos Communications Camp as the impetus behind an initial push for these community spaces popping up in the US. It’s a fun five-minutes to watch so check it out.

[via Boing Boing]


  1. macona says:

    I still want to know how these places get their money to stay open. Donations are nice but I would hate to be the one one the lease wondering who is going to make the payments for utilities and the building.

  2. macona says:

    Ahh, $80 a month membership.

  3. alan says:


    even if it was $80 a month – the amount of resources you would get would be amazing. All of the workshops that you could attend, the equipment, the smell of BO. you name it, you get it!

  4. Bergo says:

    Currenlty involved in setting up a hackerspace in the region I live. It’s tough, but we’re a university town, so a lot of EE and CompSci students/alumni are quite interested. Building lease expenses and being reliant on membership dues as the only source of income is something we haven’t completely worked out yet. Would be interesting to find out a bit more on where some of the larger hack spaces started (basements? loaned space?) and what the critical mass was for a dedicated space to be feasible.

  5. Paul says:

    Well Noisebridge are paying for relatively prime real estate – we’re opening a space over the next few weeks, we’re looking at ~$600 a month in overheads and looking for 30 people kicking in $20 each to be self sustaining (plus all donated tools etc)

  6. IsotopeJ says:

    The key is classes, especially when starting up. If you can offer TIG and MIG welding classes in a metropolitan area, you’re golden.

  7. macona says:


    Dont forget the caffeinated beverages…

    Their “full machine shop” is amusing.

    You would be surprised how many people would balk at $80. I was involved in the Portland Techshop and even when we had a sale on membership people complained.

  8. Matt says:

    There will always be nay sayers, and differences of opinions. Different people get involved in groups for different reasons, and at the end of the day every hackerspace turns out different. Sometimes bizarrely different.

    But at the core of it is community. People getting together, sharing ideas, and propping each other up as they seek to bring something better into the world.

    That’s something I think STEM folks in general need to keep pushing themselves in accomplishing. The battle to undo american idol is not going well.

  9. macona says:


    You would be surprised, initially the classes for mig and tig were full then after 6 months or so we couldn’t find enough people to even hold the class.

  10. Bergo says:

    I wish I was somewhere with cheap real estate, hard for a non-profit organization to try to cough up roughly $12-15/sqft, looking at around a minimum $3000 OPEX.

  11. zool says:

    be excellent to each other

  12. Erik Johnson says:

    I wonder if they filmed Mitch from the non-hair-dye angle on purpose lol

  13. osgeld says:

    there is one sorta in my area that charges 80$ memberships too, and that didnt sound all that unreasonable to me, but its over an hour away so the time that I would participate would not fit all that well for me

  14. Jake says:

    Haha wow, that picture contains the worst breadboard prototyping job I have ever seen!!! I can’t even imagine trying to debug that! LOL!

  15. sam says:

    Altman be praised!

  16. addidis says:

    If only it didnt cost me what little money i can spend on making stuff to get a membership at one of these places.

  17. as some one who just launched a maker/hackerspace here in nevada I can say these guys were a huge influence on us when we started about a year ago. now we got a 5400 sq ft space and things are forming up.

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