When I moved from the UK I brought with me 2 small boxes of electronics, they weren’t a lot, but they had the basics, and they turned out to be enough to start a hackspace.
I teamed up with a colleague, and meeting in her living room we had our first hackspace meeting.
Knowing that another of our colleagues *loves* the song ‘baby I love your way’ we decided to build a speaker that would play the first 20 seconds of the song – connected to a motion sensor. It was to be installed in a hidden location next to said colleague’s desk, so whenever he moved the song would play. We got our device working, we were ready with our prank, the hacking night had been a success!
It was that night that we made a plan to hold a proper event, we created an event online, made a Facebook page, and signed up for a twitter account, we had the basics – we were going to be a hackspace.
Having a hackspace usually involves having space, and we didn’t have any. We decided that we would hold a hacking event at our office, we had a room, and it had a dining room table in it. The point of the event was to get people together, get them making, and get them talking. We wanted to see if people were interested in a hackspace, and if they would find value in it.
We held our first proper meeting in April, 13 people turned up, and we ran out of chairs – a mark of success in anyones book. We met some great people, and heard so many interesting ideas. Most importantly we’d had a lot of fun.
We decided that without a dedicated space we were instead going to hold regular events, bootstrap the operation, and see if there was enough interest within the community.
Our weekly Tuesday meetings brought in a steady flow of new hackers, all keen to share their ideas. People wanted to work on projects together, they brought their ideas, and they were interested in the future of the hackspace.
A couple of moves, a 3D printer, and nearly 40 meetings later and we have our regulars, we have new visitors each week, and we are now looking for dedicated space. We’re going to move from a weekly social/hacking night to becoming an actual hackspace. The word ‘space’ in our name will no longer be technically incorrect.
I still use those 2 boxes of components in my projects, only now we have a large group of people all with their own boxes of parts to work and collaborate with.