Category Archives: Hackerspaces, Makerspaces & TechShops

Be on the lookout for Mobile Makerspaces. The DIY Community gets its wheels.

Standard

Technology makerspaces are places where like-minded individuals meet together to share ideas, use industrial tools, and learn new skills. They are found in warehouses, office buildings, home garages, and even caves. Located in between all these learning environments is an emerging trend of on-demand mobile classrooms and tech shops that bring the tools to you.

Already an online community called Mobile Makerspace has popped up to help document the open-source initiatives and projects that are happening along the roads. Events, blog posts, and a directory can all be gathered on their website.

mobmakerspace

Soon more trailers, vans, and buses will be retrofitted for the maker movement. LED’s are going to be installed. Heavy machines will be embedded into the frames of the vehicles and tons of batteries hooked up. The mobile makerspaces will be easy to see from blocks away. Music will follow. Food trucks will be nearby as well. Just keep your eyes and ears peeled for the phenomenon and be ready to jump in when you see it.

2013-09-18_17-18-55_93

Article written by @industrychanger

 

Links:

Mobile Makerspace website: http://mobilemakerspace.com/

Why Hackerspaces Need to Focus on the Foundation 1st

Standard

foundation_real

Imagine a place where people get together, hang out, converse, and collaborate. It is filled to the brim with entrepreneurs of all types working on projects that they hope will change the world. Many of them are on laptops or standalone computers frantically typing business plans or hacking out code. Others are making phone calls while trying to set up connections wherever they can.

As all the chaos goes about, one can see that in this space is an environmental core that keeps the magic flowing around innovation. It is the center foundation of what the area will turn into. While the outer linings are being fine-tuned and polished, the inner workings remain relatively unchanged. The concrete has been laid; the electrical wires have been strung throughout the wooden frames and the insulation and drywall is mostly there, all while a wireless network is hangs throughout the air. Projects can begin even if the air conditioning isn’t hooked up yet.

As long as there is a good foundation, people can get stuff done. The rest of the work on the outer edges will always be changing. Paint will cover the walls in different shades and dust will always need to be cleaned up. However as time goes on and unless a major change happens, all the people running the space will need to do is adjust the dials of the environment (when needed) and continue progressing the community. Once the foundation is done first, the rest will fall into place after that.

 

Article written by Matt T. : @industrychanger

Article Written at Blankspaces: http://www.blankspaces.com/

Give me 3 hours and I’ll Give You Tools to Start a Makerspace

Standard

1

Let’s face it. Work cannot be accomplished if you don’t have the right tools. Resources are needed to build prototypes. That is just how it is.

To help solve the problem of accessing the right tools, makerspaces and hackerspaces have been popping up across the world. They are providing enough resources to those interesting in building. Maybe you have already been to one. Perhaps you are even interested in starting your own, but don’t know quite where to begin.

Well never fear, I am here. To assist with your journey into the world of creating a makerspace from the foundation up, I have documented ways to get things rolling. First off, you will need to accumulate as many tools as you can. A good place to look for cheap working power drills, saws, and wrenches is to travel to a local flea market. There will be tons of options to choose from. Focus in on the areas where a large variety of tools can be found. Most likely the people selling them are receiving a discount for buying in bulk, which you can use to your advantage to talk the price down.

2

After buying what you need, starting searching for other items that could be useful in your upcoming makerspace. This can include cell phones, laptops, sewing machines, chargers, and even generators. Having portable power is great when setting up a mobile makerspace.

3

While you’re there, you mind as well pick up some fresh food and get several potted plants for the garden you might put outside your makerspace. This will keep the cost down for providing nutrients to the dozens of developers that will be hovering around your place at any given time. Get some clothes if the people involved are one the verge of becoming homeless. If you foresee security being an issue at your hackerspace, then grab some bullet proof vests from the guy that is selling camouflage materials.

There are so many resources that can be found at flea markets. You just got to know where to look.

4

 

 

Learn How to Scrap Metal and Circuitboards at Warehouses & Hackerspaces

Standard

t4

When there is nothing left to lose, the whole world is to gain. With the United States scrapping trend fueling a lot of China’s manufacturing, people are beginning to look for ways to cash in on this movement. If all the money in a bank account has been drawn out leaving just a few bucks to survive off of, selling bits of metal can keep things going essentially turning the experience into a chance to make something out of nothing.

So to start things off, research must be done to find where the materials that are valuable are. Looking around mills and factories will lead to dumpsters that contain pounds and pounds of metal. Steel, brass, copper, and aluminum are the most popular. If luck is on your side, you might be able to locate ingots of metal lying around. Grab as much heavy stuff as you can. Don’t be afraid to jump inside. Just watch out for sharp edges. Your hands will no doubtedly get dirty. Wearing gloves is a nice precaution and bringing a backpack to gather more materials per visit is useful as well.

t1

After accumulating various alloys, travel to a nearby hackerspace. Go to the back entrance and check the trash yet again. This time look for motherboards and circuits. There might be metal scraps and printers hidden around if you search carefully. Take everything you can, but don’t break into the space itself. Although the appeal to steal all the technology inside is big, leaving those tools there will produce something much greater over time. Someone will develop something revolutionary with those resources. No need to hinder that from happening.

t

Once all the materials are in hand, go over to the closest scrap metal yard and sell them what you have.   Each place will pay different amount per pound. Some will only take metal, others take cardboard. The materials will then be packaged together in large trash cubes and shipped to China. The payout isn’t very much, but it can buy enough food for a day if done right.

t3

 

Experiencing a 5.1 earthquake at a California hackerspace

Standard

14 - 1 (1)

Woke up on a couch yet again; this time it was at a house on a top a mountain looking over the Los Angeles skyline. The fridge was cleaned out empty with only condiments lining the inner sliding door. Hunger sets in as lettuce and various herbs were freshly picked from the balcony garden to make a sandwich.  Energy is floating through the atmosphere just waiting to be captured.

With gas being pumped into the 20 gallon tank of my Toyota camry, awareness that the oil reserves of this world are running out seeps into my consciousness. I push passed the thought and jump into the vehicle on my way to find out if power can be cleanly generated instead of being monitored. A schematic of an adapted Tesla device lays in a transparent folder in my hand’s grasp ready for a local team to help build it.

The 1st stop in search of power is Mag Laboratory in Pomona, CA. There is a music festival happening at the warehouse so there will be more people than normal hanging out. One of the co-founders is there setting up the audio equipment. Individuals are scattered about talking about how inspirational this place is. I drop the 35 page document on a coffee table and continue talking to new friends. The bands are ready to go. As music begins playing, a 5.1 earthquake shakes the ground beneath us. Car alarms start going off echoing their noise through the warehouse complex. A major shift in placement has just occurred.

After making sure no one was hurt, the music progresses and the fire spinning begins. Kevlar monkey fist poi sets are sprayed with lighter fluid and engulfed with flame. Butterfly techniques and associated wraps attract the attention of nearby members. Fireworks are lit shooting sparks of light into the sky as energy moves into the hackerspace. No one knows what will come next.

Spreading TechShops across the country

Standard

IMG_20140321_193027_364

The maker movement is growing into an unstoppable wave of creativity that is surging through the minds of those looking to spark a revolution. Embracing the idea of do-it-yourself workshop spaces, cities everywhere can become playgrounds of innovation where individuals of all walks of life come together in an effort to build something new.  With the right tools and the support of a well-resourced community, just about anyone can change the world.

Setting the standard for membership-based fabrication studios is a company called TechShop. Founded in October 2006, their mission is to drive global innovation by engaging, enabling, and empowering creative communities to build dreams.  Based in San Jose, California, TechShop has locations nationwide and are extending to areas outside the United States in the near future. Their partnerships include Ford, General Electric, DARPA, the US Department of Labor, BMW, Autodesk, and a few other heavy players in various industries which helps give more access to the tools and information needed to produce a product. Laser cutters, CNC routers, industrial sewing machines, and welding equipment are all provided within each facility allowing members to make whatever they want.

The most recent expansion of TechShop is taking place in Los Angeles, CA. An event was held at the LA Mart building downtown on March 21, 2014 where CEO Mark Hatch presented an information session that was open to the public. Learning about the project goals while showcasing success stories was the primary focus. He spoke of the origins of the mobile payment device called Square that was developed by a glass blower from St. Louis and a co-founder of Twitter. They made their first prototypes in the Menlo Park TechShop which has turned into a $3.25 billion valuation. Other projects that have come out of TechShop range from cooling servers to illuminated popup LED books to opensource underwater robots and even lost-cost infant warmers, furthering the idea that anything is possible here.

IMG_20140321_212706_486

Jim Newton, a previous science advisor for the Mythbusters television show, was present at the event as well. He is now the Chairman and Founder of TechShop who created the company because he needed a place to build his own inventions. Talking with him brought out some insight into the interworkings of TechShop procedures. For instance, there is a minimum age requirement for someone to become a member. This is due to the fact that there are dangerous tools being used causing an increase in insurance protocols to keep everyone safe. Asking more questions led to conversations about ‘hacker cars’ and the potential to shake up the transportation industry. Discussing how to synthesize Kevlar briefly came up when showing him some newly crafted fire poi sets.

As the night wound down, connections were made as people intermingled with each other drinking wine and eating cheese. At least one person there was scouting out the collaborative nature of the TechShop environment as he planned to take this experience back to his own hackerspace in Fountain Valley, California. Others just wanted to meet the founders and leaders of the maker movement. Overall, it is good to see the influence that TechShop is already having on the Los Angeles co-creator community. It will be just a matter of time before more success stories flood out of this area thanks to the continued efforts of the TechShop team.

Links:

TechShop Website – http://www.techshop.ws/

TechShop Los Angeles Investment Page – http://invest.techshop.com/los-angeles

Mark Hatch Twitter – https://twitter.com/markhatch

Jim Newton Twitter – https://twitter.com/TechShopJim

Watch for the emerging music hacker culture

Standard

600_335341442

There many types of co-working locations across the world. Some called themselves hackerspaces, other prefer the term makerspace or fab-labs. No matter what the classification is, what is evident is that niche spaces are being formed. Breaking from the software/hardware mold are places that cater to a specific group of people. One particular exciting trend that is surfacing combines the love for music and technology. Hackers are beginning to meetup to discuss projects they are creating in the music realm. This will be an exciting revolution that will blend sound, visuals, and vibrations like nothing we have seen before. Stay tuned for more information.

Examples:

LA Music Tech Hackers – http://www.meetup.com/LA-Music-Tech-Hackers/

Sound Puddle Project [developed at Solid State Depot] – http://www.soundpuddle.org/