How To Start A Hackerspace: Part 3 – A Home For Your Hackerspace
“Theater of the World”
A Hackerspace can exist anywhere. There are private Hackerspaces, public Hackerspaces, Hackerspaces in schools and universities, Hackerspaces in businesses, and some hackers even open their home garages up as Hackerspaces.
Do you need a full food service kitchen – plus a computer hacking room? Or will you only need a functional bathroom and a microwave – plus a fully functional mini-machine shop room with concrete floors, 220 power and a fully wired coworking space that’s soundproofed for your software hackers? Do you need a loading dock for large-scale kinetic art hackers? Of course, the needs of you and your co-hackers may not be that varied (at first!) but you get the idea: what you want to do is going to determine your needs about picking out your space.
It’s important to determine where, geographically, is going to be ideal for you and your co-hackers. Is there a part of town that’s ideal for everyone? Is it on bus lines, is it easy to park at, is it going to be safe at night for your hackers of all genders? It’s true that the location of your space may be determined by funds and availability – though it’s equally true that your location might just be your own garage that you open up a few designated times a week to share with co-hackers, where you’ll simply update the space you have available to meet the varied needs of your co-hackers.
Examples of where your Hackerspace can be:
A mixed use commercial space
An art studio
A rental space you can (legally!) customize
An industrial warehouse
A storefront location downtown
Look for the kind of space you want on Craigslist, ask friends and family if they know of anything, ask other local hackers, and reach out to nearby Hackerspaces to see if they’ve got any leads to add to your recon. Now make an organizational list of potential spaces and make a schedule for visiting them.
Tip: Hack the process: shop around for competing prices. Until I founded PS: One and co-founded HacDC I didn’t know that things like rent – and pretty much all contracts – are negotiable.
After you’ve made a list of potential locations it’s time to move forward with your group and assign tasks.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.