Update: As of 2023, IXR has been superseded by the Computer Deconstruction Laboratory (CDL). The tools and equipment have obviously seen upgrades in the intervening years since this article was originally published — CDL member Neil Cherry tells us the synths are no longer available, but there is an impressively equipped podcast studio available for rent.
Hackaday took a little trip out to Wall, NJ last weekend for the Vintage Computer Festival 9.1 East. The event was held at Camp Evans, a former US military installation that can only be described as, “The DARPA of a century ago”. This is the site of a Marconi transmitter and the place where [Edwin Armstrong] developed the regenerative receiver a little more than 100 years ago.
There’s a lot more to Camp Evans than the yearly Vintage Computer Festival. It’s also home to the InfoAge Science & History Museums, a collection of fascinating mini-museums covering topics ranging from local shipwrecks to the history of broadcast radio. It’s also the home of IXR, the Institute for eXploratory Research, a hackerspace located in the old telecom building at Camp Evans.
In our video tour, [Joe Wilkes] takes us around the shop, showing off their equipment and tools. Unlike most of our hackerspace tours, we couldn’t find a Makerbot sitting disused on a bookshelf anywhere, but the space did have a Solidoodle 3D printer, a Shapeoko 2 CNC machine under construction, and enough hand tools to bring any project to fruition.
There were a few oddities in IXR compared to the other hackerspaces we’ve been to. First is an inordinate amount of synths, keyboards, and other MIDI gear. [Joe] didn’t know what these were for, so we’ll leave that explanation for an IXR member in the comments of this post. There was also a small supply of random components for sale (and on display). Most of the merch was from Adafruit, and it seems like a great way to have that one part I need to finish this build for members while providing a little bit of beer money for the space.