RadioShack Demise Could Signal the Rise of Mom-and-Pop

No matter how you feel about RadioShack, for many hackers it was the one place that components could be sourced locally. Upon hearing that the stores are being shuttered (at least for those seeking non-cellphone items) we wondered if someone would rise to meet the maker market. The answer may actually be mom-and-pops — independent stores owned by people passionate about hacking and making.

tinker-and-twist-boothAt SXSW Create in March the Hackaday booth was right next door one such establishment. [Martin Bogomolni] is hard at work launching his brick and mortar store called Tinker & Twist. In the video below he speaks briefly about the concept of the store, which focuses on curating the best products and tools available and stocking them locally.

The store will be located in a shopping mall in Austin, Texas. But it takes about 100 days launch a storefront considering the permits and build-out. [Martin] decided to take the store to the hackers by exhibiting (and selling products) at SXSW Create. How else would you do this than by building a store-front as your booth? The store’s sign was CNC routed from rigid foam, and combined with a set of columns and storefront window. We stopped by late on the last day of the event and they had been having a great weekend. What started as a very well stocked set of shelves looked nearly bare.

Tinker & Twist is just the most recent in a growing trend of standalone stores focusing on hackers and makers. Our friends at Deezmaker in Pasadena, CA gave us tour last year. They’ve married the concepts of hackerspace, small-run manufacturer (in the form of their 3D printers), and retail store all-in-one. These types of examples make us quite happy — it’s been years since RadioShack was tightly focused on those actually building things. We hope to see more stores like Tinker & Twist up and running to support and enhance hacker communities everywhere.

New to the Store: Bulbdial Clock and Free Shipping Option

New to the Hackaday Store today is the Bulbdial Clock by Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories. I’ve had my eye on this kit for years and finally pulled the trigger after visiting [Lenore] and [Windell] at their shop a few weeks back. Assembling the beautifully-engineered kit was a delight, and I have a handful of hacks I’d like to try out — some of which I mentioned in the product description.

Free shipping based on order price

We always listen to what the Hackaday community has to say. After receiving several requests for better international shipping prices we came up with a way to ease the pain for orders no matter where they are headed. All domestic orders totaling $25 or more now receive free shipping. All international orders totaling $50 or more now receive free shipping.

Is there anything else you’d like to see different about the store? How about a hackable product you think we should stock? We’re listening via the store contact form.

New to the Store: Teensy 3.1

New today in the Hackaday Store is the Teensy 3.1. This development board blows away most others in its class. The board plays nicely with the Arduino IDE, but embedded developers who are hardcore enough have the option of bare metal programming for the Coretex-M4 chip.

Why would we say this blows most others away? In our minds, the 64k of RAM and 72 MHz clock speed place this far outside of what you would normally see hanging out in the Arduino ecosystem. That may be changing with new players like the Edison, but the Teensy 3.1 doesn’t require a host board and comes in just under $20 compared to the Edison’s $50 price tag.

[Paul Stoffregen], the developer of the Teensy, is a hacker’s hacker and is known to be found round these parts. All year [Paul] has been developing an Audio Library that takes advantage of the Teensy 3.1’s powerful processor (including its DMA features; we’ve been pestering him to write an article for us on that topic). We covered the library back in September and are stocking the audio add-on board in the store as well. Quite frankly, the quality of sound that this puts out is astonishing. If you’re working on a project that calls for playback of recorded sound this is one of the least-complicated ways to get there.

The Hackaday Store Lives Again!

Once upon a time there was a store where you could find the most amazing Hackaday shirts and other swag. If you managed to get one of the rare Jolly Wrencher adorned shirts back then, it’s probably about worn out by now. Prepare to rejoice, Hackaday has a completely new store packed with T-shirts, tools, and stuff to help you fill up those waking hours with hardware hacking goodness.

We’ve had a little fun over the last couple of days with posts that hint (maybe a bit too subtly?) that this was coming. We always try to have a little bit of fun for those of you who are really paying attention. Now we’re wondering who will be the first to implement the one-time pad as a dedicated piece of hardware… project ideas need to come from somewhere, right?

Take a look around the general store and you’ll see this time we have more than just stuff you wear. Hackers need tools and we’ve selected a small but inspiring group of must-have’s. The kits and toys we’ve selected are surely a rabbit hole of personal challenges and evolving hacks for you. And the best part is that these choices are one more way for us to promote the virtue of Open Design (it is the way). The only question now is what other open hardware do you want to see added to those ranks?

Monetizing a hackerspace with a 3D printer store

Starting a hackerspace is easy, but maintaining it is a pain in the rear. Not only do you need to pay the gas, water, and electric bills, but you’ll also need to have enough members to keep the whole operation afloat. Deezmaker might have a solution to this problem: have a hackerspace double up as a 3D printing store.

Deezmaker is the creator of the Bukobot 3D printer seen at Maker Faire San Francisco and successfully funded on Kickstarter. The new store/hackerspace will sell Bukobot 3D printers (as well as other brands if another company wishes), filaments, Kapton tape, electronic parts, and other random electronic paraphernalia to people on the street.

Alongside the 3D printer store, Deezmaker will also be running a hackerspace for anyone who needs something printed, a work table, or even just the use of a few tools. The grand opening will be this Sunday, Sept 23, in Pasadena, CA.

We’re really liking the idea of a store/hackerspace, if only because Deezmaker’s store will provide a wonderful case study for anyone with a similar business plan. It would be very nice to have a an independent hackerstore in every city, selling everything from 3D printers to batteries and LEDs. Yes, it’s sounds like a throwback to the RadioShack of the 70s, but that doesn’t mean the idea couldn’t succeed today.

New and improved old hackaday store!

I am going to start off by saying our zazzle store was pretty sad. The prices were just way too high. I put that store into place because frankly, the one I was running was a pain in the butt.

The good news is that I’ve got a new system in place. It is bright and shiny and looks much easier to use. Not only that, but since we’re not using someone like zazzle, we’re keeping the cost down! Or standard shirts are $18. We have stickers too, and this time, we have both standard stickers as well as the custom cut vinyl decals everyone loved before.

Several products have not yet arrived. Since this is the grand opening and I feel a little bad about how expensive the zazzle store was, I’m running a special. $16 for shirts if they’re ordered before August 31st. 

I’m talking to other people about offering some products besides shirts and stickers in the store. Stay tuned to see what we’ve got going on!

Hackaday Store: It exists again

We used to have a store. Actually, it was just me, pumping out shirts and stickers from my garage.  However, I found that over time, I wasn’t particularly happy with the quality of the shirts. The vinyl would crack over time, and I wasn’t the fastest person in the world to get an order out the door. I shut down the store because I didn’t want to too poorly in the name of hackaday.  I’ve had TONS of emails asking me to turn it back on.

Today, we’re turning on another store. It isn’t fancy. It isn’t amazing. It should, however, provide higher quality products than we had before, and more different products to choose from. I’ve put shirts, coffee mugs, and stickers in so far. The graphics were all done correctly for each format, so they should turn out very nice.When you buy Hackaday merchandise, you help ensure Hackaday will stick around as long as possible.

Now, lets talk a little bit about where we should go from here.

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