Making a Makerspace Hack Chat

This week we will be discussing how to make your own makerspace from the ground up!

Friday, February 16, 2018 09:30 am PST - Friday, February 16, 2018 10:00 am PST Local time zone:
Hack Chat
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Vaibhav Chhabra and Eric Michaud will be co-hosting the Hack Chat this week. This Hack Chat is at 9:30AM, Friday, February 16th. NOTE THE DIFFERENT TIME FROM USUAL

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Makerspaces are community hubs where people can come together to share resources and ideas to bring more of our creations to life. Makerspaces have been growing rapidly in number and popularity over the years, yet starting one can still seem like a daunting task. In this chat we have some weathered makerspace founders to bring you through the ropes and help you understand exactly what you need to bring your community hacking space to life.

Vaibhav Chhabra is a mechanical engineer by profession, and graduated from Boston University. They spent 2 years working at EyeNetra, building eye diagnostic devices. They are currently an instructor at the MIT REDX health care innovation lab, and founder of a collaborative maker space - Makers Asylum. They enjoy making furniture, machines and winning at ping pong full time.

Eric Michaud is a Hacker, Marathon runner, and an author. They currently do work with Rift Recon, Shellcon, and They have been involved with maker spaces for years, have written tutorials on Adafruit on how to make a makerspace, and have personally founded the PS:One and HacDC makerspaces.

In this chat, we'll discuss:

  • What does it take to open a makerspace?
  • How can you fund a makerspace?
  • Should your makerspace be a for-profit or non-profit?
  • What equipment is crucial for a makerspace?

  • Making a Makerspace Hack Chat Transcript

    Shayna02/16/2018 at 17:44 0 comments

    Stephen : A big HELLO to @Vaibhav Chhabra and @Eric M!

    Stephen : Could you both kick us off by telling us a bit about yourself and your makerspaces?

    Eric M : Sure!

    Vaibhav Chhabra :
    Sure, Hey guys,

    I am a mechanical engineer and photographer! I love to fly - Paragliding / diving. I studied at Boston University. Then worked at Eyenetra based out of MIT media labs. And eventually moved back to Mumbai in 2013.

    Maker's Asylum our maker space here started in Nov 2013 in Mumbai pure out of an accident in the office of Eyenetra. When we called people to help repair the space with us and build some tables at the office.

    The space use to be open only on sundays when eyenetra office was not in use. Eventually I met Anool and we setup a garage in a better part of the city. And now we have 2 centers. One in Mumbai and one in New Delhi:)

    Vaibhav Chhabra : The space in Andheri and New Delhi were crowd funded and built by the community out here.

    Vaibhav Chhabra : We run various programs, like the STEAM school and STEAM Fabrikarium that just ended last week

    Stephen : Very cool! Those were such cool projects coming out of the STEAM Fabrikarium

    Vaibhav Chhabra : Thank you @Stephen :)

    Eric M :
    Originally from New Jersey, went to school for CS but ended up with a Communications Arts degree......mainly because I never was able to stick with learning in the traditional teaching environments and just wanted to get out as fast as possible after a point.

    I'm mostly self taught in any of the engineering disciplines I work in from manufacturing and programming. I've always sought out mentors wherever I’ve gone. I got my first job at Argonne National Laboratory in 2008 and was working in cyber and physical security. At that point already co-founded the lockport organization in 2004. During 2008 I had begun founding HacDC with a number of other co-founders by flying to DC very regularly with friends I already had before making it to Chicago.

    Daren Schwenke : that's a heck of a first job..

    sfrias1 : Cool @Eric M :-)

    Eric M : As HacDC started to take off I was really bummed that there wasn’t a Chicago hackerspace so I decided to put my time into getting that off the ground and finding like minded people. Fast forward today it’s now one of the biggest of the country. I haven’t been involved since 2010 after I moved out of Chicago.

    Stephen : So cool, Eric!

    Vaibhav Chhabra : That sounds Awesome Eric:) I relate to you in multiple points

    Eric M : Thanks @Vaibhav Chhabra also I just started getting into photography. I'll have questions for you later. ;)

    Stephen : So both of you have multiple physical spaces you've founded, which is awesome. That leads us to our first question:

    Stephen : So you think you might want to make a hacker space... Where do you start?

    Vaibhav Chhabra : @Stephen, we always started by bring people together for a project or a meet. The tools and the space follow.

    Stephen : I like that idea @Vaibhav Chhabra , gathering people around a similar mission first, and letting the...

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Martin A. Brooks wrote 02/16/2018 at 18:05 point

Are you aware of any FOSS/CC/similar licenced marketing materials aimed at hack/maker spaces that can be used on posters/stickers/flyers etc?   Google is silent on the matter.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 04:38 point

You might have better luck by searching for material related to the activities that will be associated with a space.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Martin A. Brooks wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:58 point

Hi!  Decided I would try to form a local combined hack and maker space (literally) yesterday.  Tips for locating and engaging the initial core group of people?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Forum Shah wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:55 point

What else can a makerspace provide/ transform into beyond offering access to tools, training sessions & co-working space? How does future of makerspaces look like?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Oud wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:52 point

When it comes to setting up a maker space is it better to organize it as a not-for-profit, an LLC, or some other approach?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 05:01 point

Even a non-profit should look onto incorporation to protect the group member's personal assets.  I'd suggest a incorporating as a non-profit organization web search to start the review process. Also search for non profits that exist near your location, you could run across someone you know, and who cold give yo details what the organization they are with went through.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Alex Ryker wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:42 point

Is there a good way to get a Makerspace started as a part-time endeavor without leaving your full-time job?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 05:06 point

For most involvement in a maker space at any level, is a leisure time activity. Simply  manage it  like you would any other l leisure time activity?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Linux HA wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:39 point

Have a small makerspace and would like to grow it. Suggestions?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sci wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:38 point

How to best present your space as a community asset, for the purpose of seeking local government support in terms of funding or venue?

  Are you sure? yes | no

PKM wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:35 point

Organisational structures for managing/co-ordinating volunteer effort?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Josh Williams wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:35 point

Any thoughts on encouraging kids and adults to mix in makerspaces ? : ) (First robotics is a great example)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 05:27 point

Discover what others, regardless off age are interested in; find others, again regardless of age, that can expand that interest. Regular newsletters that high lite what others  are enjoying doing. Just don't expect home run at every time at the plate. Interests wax and wane, so don't give up.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sci wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:34 point

Separate from membership conflicts; how to handle internal conflicts between those running the space? Particularly when dealing with differences in ideology or methodology.

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Adrian wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:33 point

How to deal with risk assessments/ risk management

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adrian wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:32 point

promotion of the space ... finding members/customers

  Are you sure? yes | no

Daren Schwenke wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:31 point

Experience on handling shared facility access issues?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sci wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:30 point

Crowdfunding vs loans, the benefits and pitfalls of each?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 05:38 point

incurring debt it best avoided. In the event the membership is unwilling to pony up in donations to purchase or maintain anything, the interest isn't there. Scaubles can arise from differing opinions as to spend funds that result from crowd funding insure it's clearly stated what the goal of a crowd funding campaign is,before initiating it.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Daren Schwenke wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:30 point

Best ways to recruit new members/gather community support/spread the word?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Daren Schwenke wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:28 point

How expensive/hard is getting insurance?

Questions to ask landlords to avoid conflicts later?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Doug wrote 02/19/2018 at 04:29 point

While they aren't terms amateurs and hobbyists  like to hear, use, and employ. The working group should be businesslike, and professional. The working group should be perusing cooperation as a non-profit ASAP. Can't hurt if  members of the working group and potential corporation board members have  trade licenses, and/or business experiance. Even to lease a building the working group needs to be capable of obtaining liability insurance. Most likely potential landlord will have at least a boilerplate contract. The rub is how to interpret the conditions of the contract without con training the activities of the group more than the actual language allows. The reverse of that straining the limits beyond any breaking point. does have links to make magazine article that are very relevant to your questions. I learned of a potential "gotcha" concerning leasing commercial space  that I wasn't aware of. How it applies locally I don't know, but I now know what to ask..

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Sci wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:27 point

What are some early failure states of hackspaces?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Sci wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:25 point

How to scale organisation as a hackspace grows in size? Especially when membership passes "Dunbars number".

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Lutetium wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:21 point

How do you decide whether your makerspace should be for-profit or non-profit?

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Jarrett wrote 02/16/2018 at 17:13 point

How do you increase community engagement?

  Are you sure? yes | no

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