A 3D Printer Alone Doesn’t Make A Hackspace

There was a time when hackspaces were few and far between — legendary environments that you’d read about online, where amazing projects were made by people who had come together to form communities of creative technology enthusiasts. Of course, they were always in places far afield, California, or Germany, never in provincial England where I call home. Eventually our movement spread its tentacles into the county towns, and several years later with a stint as a hackspace director behind me I sense that it is on the cusp of escaping its underground roots. Every month seems to bring news of yet another organisation wanting to open a makerspace of their own, be they universities, co-working spaces, enterprise centres, libraries, or even banks. It’s evident that our movement has attracted an aura of edginess when it comes to getting things done, and that these entities are anxious to secure a little piece of that for themselves.

So within a few miles of most hackspaces will be several places where you can find a 3D printer, maybe a vinyl cutter, a CAD workstation, and a soldering iron. There will be a fancy hipster coffee machine and some futuristic furniture, and probably some kind of enclosed meeting pod of dubious design. All of which can no doubt be viewed through a glass wall, so that people in suits can watch all that raw #innovation sizzling away.

Viewed from within the movement, it’s easy to see all this activity on the edges of the world of making as a threat. A struggling community organisation survives on its wits alone, it doesn’t have a multi-million pound (or dollar) university or investor behind it. Its tools are hard-won and patched up, and its coffee machine is a battered electric kettle and a jar of supermarket instant coffee. When it comes to gleaming innovation spaces, a group of assorted makers simply can’t compete. Surely the arrival of these spaces will tempt members away, and the hackspace will inevitably wither, and die.

It’s worth taking a step back at this point, and considering what makes a hackspace. Specifically, what makes a good hackspace.

At this point I’m going to say something that might sound odd to a hackspace denizen: a good hackspace doesn’t need a 3D printer. Neither does it need a laser cutter, a mill, an electronics workstation, or a textile room. A good hackspace will almost certainly have most of those and more, but the point I am trying to make is that it is not the facilities that make a good hackspace, but its environment. What makes a good hackspace is the coming together of minds from all directions in a truly diverse and inclusive community, the sharing of off-the-wall ideas that sometimes turn into much more than just idle chit-chat. From these come amazing projects, collaborations, and commercial ideas. That’s real innovation, and it’s something that can’t be bought with a budget for shiny tools alone. From our off-topic chatting behind the scenes for example, I often think that my Hackaday colleagues would make the nucleus of a truly astounding hackspace. You probably have the same ideas about a group of people you know, if only we were all in the same city, and had access to a well-equipped lock-up!

By contrast, the hackspace competitors are a very different proposition. The unfettered nature of a traditional community hackspace is alien to many commercial sponsors, it is something they don’t fully understand, and are thus wary of. Activities which seem normal to a hackspace crowd are distinctly off-message to them, particularly those with a community bent rather than with a focus purely on business. Thus their take on a hackspace is invariably a sterile office-hours one, which may have the shiny tools but is short on the secret sauce.

It’s something then that we should all bear in mind as we sit in our hackspaces and watch these commercial competitors setting up around us. Will they eat our lunches, or are they no threat to us? If you’ve made it this far you’ll probably guess that my view has them as less of a threat than you’d imagine. They invariably fail to capture what makes a hackspace special, and while all hackspaces will have a few members who might find a home in them, they aren’t really performing the same function. It is inevitable that these spaces will continue to appear, and while many of them will close through lack of use there will be a few that achieve permanence. You might not expect me to say this, but if that turns out to be the case then it’s a good outcome. While the people using commercial spaces to make things are different from the hackspace crowd, they are still making. And that’s what it’s all about really, isn’t it.

Jenny List is a member of both Milton Keynes Makerspace, and of Oxford Hackspace.

75 thoughts on “A 3D Printer Alone Doesn’t Make A Hackspace

  1. The co-opting of the whole maker phenomenom is what is worrying me. A big home improvement chainstore here is already selling their crap with a “for the makers” tagline and images of bearded hipsters. Before long, everybody will grow tired of the hype, making stuff will no longer be fashionable and we’re all back to square one.

      1. On the one hand, it is nice that you can buy a few machine screw in a certain size at a local hardware place, same day. On the other hand, it’s not as nice paying something equivalent to $6 for 4 zinc plated, steel screws. Still waiting for Amazon or somebody to get into the “technical goods at a sane price and delivery time” game. Most metal at a hardware store is always vastly over priced and always quite bent and scuffed up as well. I guess lumber is available though.

          1. mcmaster rocks. I use it all the time. I order, they ship it UPS ground, and I still get it in 2 days or less. (I am in the same time zone as Chicago which is where they are based) Yea, you pay shipping and don’t get to find out how much until they actually ship but it is always reasonable. Often they have to do some special packaging tricks to make things work. If you buy a bunch of 3ft metal rods along with boxes of nuts and bolts, expect two packages. One tube for the long thin stuff and another more normal box for the regular items. Items are number marked to match the item list in the packing slip showing that they really have their act together. Their web interface is extremely helpful too. All makers need to at least check mcmaster out.

          2. I ordered four slightly different sizes/compositions of teflon-like tubing for the Bowden Feed on my Ultimaker. McMaster-Carr put all four in one plastic bag with no labeling.

            One size was perfect. And I have no idea which one it was so that I can order more for a large Delta that I’m building. Thanks bunches, McMaster-Carr.

    1. It won’t go away, just be less visible a while. There was quite a lot of maker interest in the 70s and the punk ethic built on that. The wheel turns and here we are again. Prior to that there was the arts and crafts and self improvement thing of the 1880s to 1920s…. however, the austerity of the 30s and make do and mend of the war years did kinda send everyone racing into the arms of consumerism in the 50s and 60s (See Mad Men.) but even then it wasn’t dead, see all the wonderful projects in old Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, Popular Science, Science and Mechanics etc from those years.

      1. Before that, even. I had my teen years in the ’70s, I grew up reading magazines from the ’60s and even ’50s with DIY projects from building tables to building a Tesla coil. Amateur Radio was especially back in the first 50 years or so a hardcore maker movement. If you wanted something, you pretty much had to build it.

        It is funny to me to now see Make Magazine copyrighting everything and acting like they invented the “maker movement”.

        I had to build from parts, but at least we had ICs by then. People before me had to build from individual parts, and before that, lots of tubes. Did you know that the first operational amplifier was all vacuum tubes, built in 1941?

        Now people build things like Legos with shields and call themselves “makers”. I stopped renewing my subscription to Make Magazine in disgust for their terribly drawn schematics and because articles had “see our website for the rest of the article” but the page would be gone in a couple years!

    2. Isn’t “Maker” a coopting in the first place? People have always made things, because they had no money, or they were creating something new, or solving a problem, or it was a hobby, or they were making money.

      O’Reilly came along and turned it into something else. Much of it is hype. When I was a kid, technology was cool. “Makers” mean you’re suddenly cool, and it may be a social experience that lures many in. It’s a dumbing down, entry is easy. It denies what existed before it, or at the very best makes what came before a “proto-make” experience, yet relies completely on what came before as a foundation. Expertise hasn’t arisen suddenly because “Make” started publishing, it depended on those who’d always been there. But “Make” is only as encompassing as someone is willing to identify as a “Maker”. Someone local came out of nowhere to put on a local “mini-Maker Fair”, but it fit the Maker template, rather than a chance to survey what already existed. So it didn’t include the local amateur radio clubs, or the model train people, or the radio control model people or whatever else existed. They weren’t seen as resources, they weren’t seen as sources of information about local hobby resources, they just didn’t exist. You have to talk the slang and embrace “community” to be part of the “Make” world.

      That’s why companies embrace “Make”, it’s trendy.


      1. In 60’s, when I was a kid, being maker wasn’t cool at all. You were just known as messy, untidy, and, in the best case, someone who can repair things and make them work again. Building your own projects was a poor guy’s act.
        But now I am happy that I did never let it distract me.

        1. When I was young I was always accused of “fiddling with stuff”. Then later on the title of Engineer was important to me. Then I realized that what you get called doesn’t make a difference. It’s what you do that counts. If people want to buy a 3D printer and call themselves a “Maker” that’s OK with me. The only thing it all means is that the local stores will start stocking filament and nozzles and end mills. Maybe after Dremel comes out with their new Laser cutter I’ll be able to buy replacement laser tubes locally. Power to the people!

      2. “…and it may be a social experience that lures many in. It’s a dumbing down, entry is easy. It denies what existed before it, ”
        I think it had to be “dumbed down” for many, those who had no one to mentor them in the basics, e.g. how to use a hand saw, how to pull a nail, how to …
        U.S. society shifted away from the basics, grandparents went off to nursing homes or retirement communities, no longer available to teach their grandchildren what they knew, daycare and television replaced parenting, the Trades were looked down upon, “oh, he’s just a mechanic, or a plumber, or whatever…” Children were ushered out of the room when the plumber or television repairman arrived, Insurance companies forbid customers or children to enter the service garage, Scouting became more about Merit Badges than about “hands on” experience.

        1. I have an older scouting book that tells one how to make tents and waterproof canvas. In contrast, the newer scouting books would rather show one “pop art” than teach one how to do anything of real value.

          1. I’d be very surprised to learn that scouting isn’t covering the traditional topics, because I’m not hearing that from the scouting leaders I know. Most likely many scouts have artistic skills why should scouting update their offerings? I suspect you are conservative to a fault and have an ignorant prejudiced towards the term pop art. Pop art has influence much of the art we see today even art you may like. There’s pop art influence in the original artwork at Hackaday. Your assertion teaching about pop art has no real value is way off the mark when, who knows how many are making good wage from their artwork.

      3. In the 80s I seem to remember a lot of people doing what might now be called ‘making’ (which is a pretty daft term as ‘make’ is used in many other ways), but I don’t think it had a name at the time (or did it?). Many of the computers (zx spectrum, commodore 64 etc) seemed to have some kind of ‘user port’, like a parallel port, or something similar, that allowed direct interfacing to electronics, robots etc, usually with a 5v logic level (have a look at:
        https://usborne.com/browse-books/features/computer-and-coding-books/ for some classic 80s books). In some ways, these were far more functional than today’s desktops which don’t generally have such useful ports any more.

          1. The Spectrum’s “port” was pretty much a raw Z80 bus, and a couple of extra pins to let you disable the internal ULA and ROM, if you wanted to. You couldn’t interface anything to it without at least a bit of address selector logic, and some buffers would probably help keep things stable.

            They were nice enough to design it with 2 of the Z80’s address lines unused by I/O. The other ones weren’t decoded individually, eg you’d pull A2 and MEMRQ / _IORQ low together to make the printer pay attention to the data bus. Any address with A2 low would trigger it. So you only got 8 I/O addresses instead of 256.

            But fortunately there were 2 spare, I think 6 and 7, so a joystick adaptor was pretty cheap to manufacture.

            For plugging in robots and complicated stuff, though, the Usborne books recommended you buy some interface from some obscure company somewhere. Probably was just a Z80 PIO in a box. There was no analogue input like most of the other machines.

            On the good side, it made the machine extremely cheap for the 99% of people who just wanted to play games on it. But you couldn’t get started sticking wires into it without a fair investment, for a child, in an interface made by some small company you’ve never heard of, and who may not be there next week. There were many companies like that, the Spectrum had hundreds of add-ons offered for sale, most of them didn’t last long.

            The BBC had a proper user port, so did the C64, and the Ataris had joystick ports that would also do output if you sent the right byte to the right address. So you could just poke wires in with LEDs on, or strip a joystick cable. Those three machines also had an easy analogue input.

            An old PC with parallel and serial ports had much more interfacing capability than a Spectrum. Comparable with any other machine, and of course the analogue joystick ports.

            Now you can get Arduino-like boards with bootloaders, for a couple of quid there’s nothing you can’t do from USB, and it all works properly and has drivers available. And libraries, over the Internet, which we didn’t have for 8-bit home computers (but sort-of do now, now there’s TCP/IP stacks for all sorts of lovely old boxes).

      4. Despite the baggage you try to put on the Make enterprise, the simple term of make carries no bagagge,My guess is companies embrace make because it’s the baggage free term out there that can create sales. the simple term ma hack had negative connotations long before “computer hacking” became a phrase. I seriously doubt hacking or even “hardware hacking” can ever become main stream. why the need to make O’Reilly the bully because they crested something out of as you say was already there? They aren’t the first to do so, nor will they be the last.
        Evidently it wasn’t you that came out of nowhere to organize an exhibition. Reads to me like an individual learned of Maker Faire and the mini version, realized that could be something they could do and took initiative. Why is it surprise they used the maker template? Clearly this person caught all the other groups asleep at the wheel, and that isn’t that person’s fault. To close will you be working with all the other groups to organize an exhibition? If so good luck it takes a lot of effort, and risk of flopping.

      1. Almost! I’m Dutch, actually.. the adverts that bug me are for the Praxis stores. Probably the least maker friendly of the lot. They sell blister packs with 20 screws for a price that could buy a box of 200 elsewhere. Nuff said.

    3. I think that most of the people who are going to make stuff, will make stuff, whether it is cool or not. It is a drive. You want to see what that idea in your head would look like in real life.

      Having hacker/maker spaces around will help the newbies get started and help people learn more quickly though.

      When the hacker/maker spaces are gone, people will be back to hanging around hobby shops, friends garages or sewing rooms like they did before hacker/maker spaces showed up.

    4. You won’t be back to square one, because parts of it will inevitably get mixed up with normality and remain. Also, there will always be an oscillatory movement when it comes to consumerism and making things.

    5. If big companies are throwing money at it with vague expectations of what they want in return (like the Internet bubble, for example), all the better for the people who get to spend that money, or use the toys it bought. The companies will just write it off when the next silly business fad comes along.

      Actually a digression, but there’s SO MUCH money in talking bullshit to businessmen! And you don’t have to actually make a positive difference to anything! So it seems the real skills are in bullshitting, and having a brass neck. Ironically those sort of people tend not to be the sort of thinkers you’d see here, or actually at a hackspace. But had I the brass neck and the energy, it’s something I’d do in another life. Also I’d need a higher boredom threshold and to actually enjoy talking to norms. Another life, then.

      As far as the hipsters, we can buy up all their unopened expensive stuff on Ebay afterward. After they’ve moved on to pubic topiary, which is surely the next cutting edge in fashion for people who don’t want to think of themselves as fashion slaves but obviously are.

      We’ll be at whatever square we were at previously, having had no inclination to go running off after idiots.

      So it’s fine, really, ranging to marginally good. Might mean the money’s there for interesting stuff to get developed that wouldn’t be otherwise. Get a megacorp to pay for the R&D, China clones it, and we all get quantum computers in our Arduinos.

    6. Also I’d keep an eye on the big home improvement chain store for when they decide it’s not worth bothering. You might get some decent bargains. Extra-special cross your fingers that it drives them out of business, then there’ll be tons of plunder!

      1. Dream on :)…. Whatever the stores market will be the same merchandise they already carry, and makers are already shopping their anyway. This is a big ta-doo about nothing. Most here already understand that, except those who needed a reason to get their panties in a twist around their junk.

  2. A good Hackspace has a community spirit and access not only to tools but of minds and experience and that is the secret source. A commercial offering doesn’t have those things normally…however they are often tidier and better organised because the people running them are employed to keep the place in order and provide a service.

  3. Co-working spaces can only pull away the wealthier members of the community. When a hacker-space fails, its usually because its culture turned toxic and drove away the people who made it thrive.

  4. as a manager of a corpo hackerspace of sorts, I can say, “real” hacker spaces don’t have TOO much to worry about. on one hand, sure more tools are great! on the other hand, the 9 to 5ers walking around the place don’t have the desire to step in and say, ” more work?! sure I’d love some!” So what we have ended up really being is knowledge and tool librarians. People stop by and ask if we have or have worked with x widget that hit the news recently, we walk in back, blow the dust off of it, explain how far we were able to push it, and what it’s real limitations were, sign it over to them and wander back to experimenting with whatever they will be asking for next year.

    I like to think that the people who believe in their projects will continue working on them and doing them regardless of what’s fashionable, or after they cut off the man bun.. haha. and thanks to the internet they will have a forum to share to like minded folks.
    rule 34.99b of the internet, if you’ve got an idea about something, someone has a wordpress/youtube channel dedicated to it and has probably been researching it for the last 25 years.
    rule 35.99b if they haven’t, get on it ya lazy git

    1. That place sounds nice. People who maintain the tools and know how to use them are are free to tell you.
      Whereas my local hacker space it was clear that “how do I use this tool to make an enclosure” would be met with “why are you building an enclosure for an arduino, you should have used a pic”, followed eventually by “here’s 3 semi-working 3d printers/etc. If you want to use them feel free to rewrite the firmware”

      1. Well yah, hence only a small pinch, otherwise you spend the first 6 months just getting everyone to agree to using the washroom facilities.

        Just need enough to end run the red tape every so often to get shit done.

    1. I share more of a connection with coworkers in a site hallway across the country, so I couldn’t care less about a maker space in our office.

      But if it gets me access to a 3D printer that I could run for 8 hours at a time and not have to worry about burning down my house, then I’d be the first in line to get a badge.

  5. A lot of ‘makerspaces’ have 3D printers and basically nothing else. 3D printers are okay for some things but older tools like bench-drills, table-saws, lathes etc are often far more useful. These tend to be much less common in ‘makerspaces’.

          1. A car port is more just a roof to park your car under, supported by a pole at the far end, and your house at the other, pretty much. Had fun as a kid at my grandad’s making one, that was a combo roof for the actual garage too. Actually I think the car port was a “pergola” because people are supposed to sit underneath it when it rains in summer.

            Grandad was a draughtsman so did the heavy wooden frame. I was a skinny kid, around 12, so I got to attach all the roofing! Drilling holes in the heavy wood rafters, then bolting down clear corrugated plastic panels as the roof, with proper plastic washers and bolt covers and things. Was great! And gave me some DIY skills. I did a fantastic job, too!

          2. Ah, just found it on Google Maps. It’s not there! And they’ve rebuilt the garage. Probably for the best, there was no garage at all in the 2012 view, probably fell down. My combo pergola / roof thing would’ve outlasted the house!

  6. I am going to be clearly in the minority here but public hacker spaces are for lamers. If you want to do it, get out and do it. Buy some property, build your space and do your thing. The stuff I do not have the capacity to do, friends do have. And it is really nice to be able to meander out into one of my own spaces whenever I want, and do what I want. I can also leave jobs set up so I can pick up on them later with zero set up, and it is really nice knowing that no one can screw with any of my stuff. I really prefer having my own space.

    1. Reggy – I agree with everything after the first sentence. That is, having your own space and your own tools is fabulous for your own work once you’ve got it, but the hackspace is really serving a different thing. It is letting people – a lot of people – get started on using tools before they know how much they like them. It puts them in touch with other people who can show them what’s possible or become their allies or brew up ideas. It is giving people without the money/space/time/experience/friends to do it themselves a way to do all these things.

    2. Agreed. The cost of joining a makerspace (at least in the UK, it’s well beyond “I’ll pay for this because I might use it occasionally” – you’ve got to be dedicated to make it worthwhile) is much better put towards buying tools/equipment, and then teaching yourself how to use them – now there’s the Internet, there’s no excuse.

      You also don’t have to mix with the hipster-hackers or people who think that lighting an LED is earth-shatteringly clever, which is nice. I am both king and knave of my own garage.

      1. I feel the same way – my local Makerspace offers a “try before you buy” option, but it’s only for one evening. After that it’s £5 a visit or £25 a month. I note Jenny’s comment that what you are actually getting is a meeting of like minded people and understand, but the website as it currently stands doesn’t include enough information for me to commit.

          1. I started out indifferent and perhaps even a bit interested, and there was a group that started talking about starting a maker space in the area. I joined as it sounded interesting. Oh my, the politics and the bullshit and fighting about what to buy and where to buy it from, and all of this before there was even a space or anybody willing to commit any cash to the cause. It left me with a really bad taste in my mouth and walking away thinking you need me a hell of a lot more than I need you. You can get nice 3D printers for well under $200, you can get nice laser cutters for under $500 and you can get nice CNC routes with a decent spindle for under $600. Not chump change, but really not prohibitively expensive. And basic shop tools. Man on CL, you can get a nice wood shop outfitted for $600, That would be a 10″ table saw, a chop saw, a drill press, a circ saw, a jig saw and disk/belt sander. Mechanical tools can be had at places like Harbor Freight very inexpensively and if you are nice to them they last a long time, and most of them have lifetime warranties. Electronics and test equipment, What a great time to be alive, really. Get a digital scope that will do everything under the sun. You could almost get by without a voltmeter.. But nice DVMS are almost free. Hell, at HF the crappy ones are free, and they are not really all that crappy. All kinds of great test equipment that once cost a mint can be had quite reasonably. With the advent of the inverter based welders you can get some great deals on the old transformer based ones. And with me, the jury is still out on the new ones. I love being able to plug them into anything, but there is a lot of expensive stuff to go up in a puff of smoke and at some point go obsolete. You don’t have those issues with a transformer… You can get inexpensive plasma cutters that work well if you are nice to them. The only things I had a hard time getting on the cheap were my sheet metal machines. It seems everybody in the free world wants a small, like 2-4′ shear and box brake. You can find bigger ones for less than the small ones. Tractors seem to fall into that category as well. You can often find a big 70+ hp farm tractor for less than a little 35 HP Kubota.

      2. I doon’t know if the internet is the best resource to use teach yourself how to use tools, there’s a lot of ignorance on the web. Not there isn’t ignorance in a *space, however a *space’s liability insurance carrier would be a leveling factor, as they will dictate training. I’m no fan of the industry and how they use their data in non-relevant ways, but they do have the data to show what works and what isn’t.

    3. I disagree, as you might expect. The main thrust of the article is that a good hackspace derives its strength from a meeting of minds. You won’t get that alone in your garage, however many tools you have.

    4. It looks like you’re looking at hackspaces purely from the corporate angle: a room where you go to make stuff. As the article points out, as well as just providing kit too expensive for you to personally own, they are places to hang out with like-minded people and get alternative views or new ideas, learn lore from greybeards and slang from whippersnappers, find another pair of hands to help you with a project, get one 470R resistor or 1/4-20 bolt without having to buy a hundred, have the space to assemble your recumbent trike if you live in a European city and don’t have the spare half a million quid to “Buy some property, build your space”.

      Obviously having your own space is great but from that it doesn’t follow that “hackerspaces are for lamers”. I’d still go to mine even if I had all the same kit at home. “The stuff I do not have the capacity to do, friends do have” – the friends I have who own machine tools, I met at a hackspace.

    5. I have a garage AND a hackerspace membership Thank-you Very Much! My garage has a better tablesaw, bandsaw, drillpress and foundry, as well as space to build a vardo, but the hackerspace has a 3d printer, cnc mill and a lasercutter, plus I go there to hang out and swap ideas at least once a week. If I want peace and quiet- garage, if I need programming help- hackerspace. It’s nice to be able to afford both, but calling people lamers is for….well, lamers.

    6. >If you want to do it, get out and do it. Buy some property, build your space and do your thing.

      “Just stop being poor!”

      Yes, of course. That’s exactly the solution. I’ll just forget about saving up for a house and buy my some undeveloped land, a metal lathe, CNC mill, and laser cutter that I can only use one day a week because I work the other six. I’d hate to be some lamer who doesn’t have unlimited disposable income!

      1. If you don’t have disposable income, you won’t belong to a public hacker space so that argument is moot. They definitely require cash.

        And you have a lot of people without a clue playing with all kinds of breakable hi tech stuff and things that can hurt them. Just the insurance for running a public hacker space must be out of this world.

        And I am assuming that you have to live someplace. So unless you are living in a cardboard box you are paying rent for a place to live.

        What I was suggesting is stop paying rent and buy your own place. Ditto with the hacker space. If you are paying dues, sometime down the road if you quit, you walk away with zilch. On the flip side if you save and get a tool here and a tool there, you build up your own capabilities. Getting used equipment forces you to learn some repair and also how to be nice to things.

        So if you are living in a cardboard box, yea, your own space is out of your reach, but if you are paying rent, you can fix that. FWIW it is not unusual for people to pay more in rent than they would on a mortgage.

        And my buildings. As wonderful as they are. The vast majority of them have been free. Or near free. Paying for power, air nails and paint and sundry items. I have torn down everything from granny houses in people’s back yards to barns in exchange for the salvage. I have a place I get wonderful 10′ rough cut oak 2×4’s from out of pallets. I go and get a trailer full of them, and spend spare cycles knocking them apart. So far they have turned into 2 12×14 overhangs off one of my barns (roof is recycled barn tin), a nice 6×8 shed by where I park to keep tools I take with me a lot in, a really cool feeder for my sheep an alpacas, a cat house for the SO’s cat, shelves for the kitchen, a nice rack for the stuff in my home recording studio, guitar stands, shop cabinets, a porch swing, a flight for our house pigeons. And they are just the ones I am remembering off the top of my head. Next plan is for a dedicated 12×12 2 story studio in the woods, and I have a real bug up my ass to build a small 5 seat ferris wheel and power with with one of my antique tractors or see if I can get a friend to sell or gift me one of his hit and miss engines. That is years in the future though, but I have been kind of laying it out in my head. Anyway, all of that was both free, and in many cases doing people favors.

        If you are going to be a hacker, you gotta learn how to scavenge.

        1. I’m sure it’s no fun to be on Ferris wheel that’s not moving waiting for the engine to hit, if the flywheels fails to pull through the two heavy kids sitting in the same car.

  7. The best hack a space that I found was my local engineering company. For 10 quid and a bottle of home-made whiskey, I had access to millions of quid’s worth of machinery including A 50 ton rolling machine which I actually broke one day. Some of the staff were a little bit hacked off by my exploits, jealousy I presume, but the main relationship was with the management who were ‘well up for it’. I am for ever grateful to them!

    1. Something tell me if it’s real quit, and you listen carefully you may hear the term brownoser. I’m not sure what label is worse brownoser or hipster ;) as where I live hipster isn’t heard in everyday conversation.

  8. “..not the facilities that make a good hackspace, but its environment” OK I”ll bite in this context what’s the difference? Given all the disdain for this and that contain in the hyperbolic comments it wonder if any ?spaces ( using? as a wildcard) come about. Unfortunate because the population grows older and is forced to downsize they will loose their hobby space. Many of these older folks are well suited for organizing for the creation of such ?spaces and managing those that would come to fruition. Although I’m not going to hold my breath I can’t wait for the competition against O’Reilly Media. Make Magazine, and Maker Fare that should be coming given all the criticism they receive suggest should be one the way. Jenny is going to create another subject field to put the Ebegging for startup funds under. ;)

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