Tour Of Chicago Hackerspace: Pumping Station One


As you may know I was on vacation in Chicago last week. I got a chance to jump on the blue line train from Chicago’s downtown loop for a short trip out to the Addison stop where I caught a quick bus ride over to one of Chicago’s hackerspaces: Pumping Station One. I was given a tour by some camera-shy members that were there when I popped in. The space had a large welding area with lots of equipment, metal lathes, metal brake and woodworking equipment. You name the shop tool, I think it was there. I even think I spotted a functioning scanning electron microscope! WOW!

The lower workspace was quite extensive. Yes, there’s a second-floor having sewing machines, vinyl cutters, 3-D printers and an entire room dedicated to electronics and robotics. Also, they are in the process of expanding to make the space even larger. If you’re in Chicago I recommend you check them out, it’s an amazing space and an easy commute from downtown.

I hope my iPhone video is good enough to show off their splendid space.
Follow along after the break to learn more and get a glimpse inside Pumping Station One.

The main entrance sported a gathering center with a full bar where members hangout, chat, have meetings and play instruments. During my tour a couple of members were wheeling in a fresh keg of beer so there’ll be plenty reason for singing later.

20 thoughts on “Tour Of Chicago Hackerspace: Pumping Station One

        1. I’m not sure what a “fobs” is but I just got my first apple product 3 weeks ago so I refer to it as an iPhone just to distinguish it from my 6yr old HTC phone my daughter had given me when she upgraded. Does that make me a “fobs”, not sure? I was thinking of putting in “iPhone S” so that viewers know what video from the “S” looks like when uploaded to YouTube. I myself wasn’t sure what it would look like as I had never taken video on a phone before. I think it turned out OK, but wish I hadn’t left my video camera at home.

          1. Just call it a phone, it seems horribly pretentious otherwise ;) Calling it iPhone S wont be any better since there’s several iPhones with the S suffix. It is true though, I’ve never met anyone who would refer to their phone by their model name EXCEPT if it was an iPhone. :)

      1. Personally, I thought the video was pretty good. One suggestion I’d make is that a quick run through something like VirtualDub with the Deshaker filter would probably eliminate most of the shaking related to holding the camera/phone in unsteady hands.

    1. IMO poorer video is better than non. Having said that while there’s nothing actually bad with the iPhone video, Hackaday “corporate” should spring for video cameras, along with external microphones. where Hackaday videos may end up on YouTube, I really can’t blame anyone reluctant to go on camera. Thanks to Todd for squeezing a little work in while on vacation.

  1. We aren’t expanding so much as rearranging. We just muscled the SEM across the shop on Sunday, to make room for our hot metals relocation, and the under-construction plasma table.

  2. The Rust Belt seems like a good region to have hacker spaces. I imagine equipment to be fairly cheap and that there are a number of skilled workers to pass on their craft.

    Is this crazy talk?

    1. No, you speak truth. However, as a longtime member of Pumping Station: One I can tell you that I don’t think Chicago can really be considered a part of the rust belt in the way you are referring to it. Rent and equipment are significantly more expensive here than in other areas like the Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

      1. Fair enough, the Chicago Land Area seems to be thriving (thankfully).
        Though I have spent a number of summers exploring abandoned mines and factories in LaSalle which lends to my general impression of IL.

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