I have a new piece on Better Humans exploring some of the main considerations when planning, designing, and outfitting your own home shop or personal makerspace. In the piece, I talk about the benefits of a public makerspace/hackerspace, namely high-end and cutting edge tools that many consumers still can't afford (3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, electronics equipment) and the learning and community aspects of joining such a space. But for those who would rather work alone, many of these technologies are now reaching price-points for more widespread adoption. For this reason, I use the term "personal makerspace" to refer to this type of high-tech home workshop. And I talk about setting up home workshops in general. I cover planning and design, basic tools, specialty tools, "maker tech" (3DP, CNC, etc.), storage, workbenches and carts, lighting and power, workshop as sanctuary, and more. Here is a brief excerpt:
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Don’t Hate on the Harbor Freight
In the maker community, it is something of a sport to make fun of the cheap tools found at Harbor Freight. While it is true that a lot of Harbor Freight products are on the cheaply-made side, if you’re careful, discriminating, and do your homework, you can get perfectly fine workbenches, storage tech, hand tools, and even some respectable shop machinery and equipment for hundreds less than higher-end brands.
For starters, Harbor Freight workbenches, work carts, and storage systems are perfectly fine, especially for a home makerspace on a budget. I just bought their multipurpose sheet-steel workbench for $99.
Trisha Weir writes, "In the wake of the massive fires in Northern California, one of the biggest problems was a lack of centralized infrastructure for information. A group of engineers at a non-profit maker space in Sebastopol banded together to make Sonoma Fire Info, a website with information on evacuations, shelters, donations and support, and have been working around the clock to update it with verified information from a variety of sources." Read the rest
Casa Jasmina (previously) is a groundbreaking experiment in human-centered, open source home automation, the birthplace of the Internet of Women's Things -- built in Torino, Italy by Boing Boing pals Jasmina Tesanovic and Bruce Sterling with the help of the Arduino organization, Casa Jasmina pushed the boundaries of what a home-automation system would be like if it were designed to make peoples' lives better without extracting revenue from them. Read the rest
Noah Swartz writes, "Parts and Crafts, a youth and community makerspace in Somerville, MA, is kickstarting a series of Creative Commons/Open Hardware licensed educational kits and projects for kids. The project is called 'Monthly Make-It' and it's a maker-kit subscription service where you sign up to get a box of cool DIY buildable projects sent to your house every month." Read the rest
Kyle writes, "The Volt is a fully open source, arduino-based, handmade analog clock that tells time with meters. Available in a DIY install kit, 2 pre-made models, and a mix & match hardware option. The clocks are but with solid black walnut and maple, with faceplates produced in brass, copper, and steel. Only on Kickstarter!" Read the rest
If you're a Boing Boing reader with children, the thought of getting them into coding has probably crossed your mind. Summer is a great time to expose kids
to new interests, and coding is no exception. But unlike traditional summer camps, coding camps are less familiar territory, and often demand a high price
tag with uncertain outcomes.
The 2016 Car Hacker's Handbook expands on the hugely successful 2014 edition, in which the Open Garages movement boiled down all they'd learned running makerspaces for people interested in understanding, improving, penetration testing and security-hardening modern cars, which are computers encrusted in tons of metal that you strap your body into.
No Starch Press has taken on the task of turning The Car Hacker's Handbook into a beautifully produced, professional book, in a new edition that builds on the original, vastly expanding the material while simultaneously improving the organization and updating it to encompass the otherwise-bewildering array of new developments in car automation and hacking.
Author Craig Smith founded Open Garages and now has years of experience with community development of tools and practices for investigating how manufacturers are adding computers to cars, the mistakes they're making, and the opportunities they're creating.
The Handbook is an excellent mix of general background on how to do threat-modelling, penetration testing, reverse engineering, etc, and highly specific code examples, model numbers, recipes and advice on how to put a car up on a bench, figure out how it works, figure out how to make it do cool things the manufacturer never intended, and figure out how to understand the risks you face from people doing the same thing without your best interests at heart.
A lot of the advice is theoretical, but there are a bunch of highly practical projects, from improving and customizing your in-car satnav and entertainment system to tuning your engine performance. Read the rest
Double Union is moving from its space in San Francisco's Mission -- their building was sold out from under them and the new landlords evicted all the tenants -- and needs help finding somewhere new to set up shop. Read the rest
Andy sez, "What could be better than dinosaurs? Dinosaurs made with lasers, of course! STEAMLabs community makerspace has been working with our friend Ryan North, author of Dinosaur Comics to bring you just that! There are 2 new rewards options for our Kickstarter to equip our makerspace."
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Andy from Steamlabs writes, "We challenged a sixth grade class to make learning about the power grid engaging and they designed a high-tech, science centre style exhibit over a 3 week period." Read the rest
Renowned expert on makerspaces in school libraries, Laura Fleming, has written a great post about her experience embracing serendipity with curious students. In her class, she passed out some brain-computer-interface gadgets and let kids come up with their own applications. The results were surprising. One student is developing his own technology to help an autistic sibling communicate better.
Fleming's book comes out this month, called Best Practices for Establishing a Makerspace for Your School. It sounds a little too educator-focused for me, but it's likely a must-have for anyone involved in high-school STEM.
My favorite passage in Fleming's post is about the role of serendipity in making, and seems to get at a lightening-in-a-bottle quality that fires all good invention:
Serendipity is quickly becoming an important component in establishing a vibrant maker culture. As creative producers, students can take an experimental path to solving problems or creating things [without] an imposed curriculum or the pressure of satisfying someone else’s preconceived objectives, but instead influenced by personal goals and interests.
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The Izolyatsia makerspace in Donetsk, Ukraine, has been seized by armed, masked Russian separatists from the Donetsk People's Republic, who denounced it as "decadent" and accused it of being "an American-funded anti-Russian organisation which supports fascism and develops decadent kind of arts." Izolyatsia is the first hackerspace to be occupied by an armed militia. Read the rest
Mark Shainblum writes, "The Ottawa Public Library (OPL) and the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa have collaborated to open Ottawa's first public makerspace, entitled Imagine Space -- an American corner." Read the rest
Tom writes, "We're a fledgling makerspace in London (60 members and growing), born from the notion that 'London Hackspace is fantastic but it's a pain to get to from South of the River.'
We bootstrapped ourselves in a disused shop earlier this year, have grown quickly and had a second home lined up in a University space for the summer. That deal fell through at the last minute and now we've got just 1 month to find somewhere else. We've got the cash and the income, we just can't find the space!
Please help us get the word out. We plan to be London's 2nd biggest community workshop and can't face having our momentum dashed on the cliffs of London's property market." Read the rest
Alex sez, "Spacegambit is a hackerspace space program that funds cool space projects around the world. We're now working with NASA on the Asteroid Grand Challenge, with the aim of getting more makers involved in detecting asteroid threats to human populations and figuring out what to do about them.
We're running our open call at the moment (closing on 20 May) and looking to fund open-source projects linked with hackerspaces/makerspaces/fablabs/etc." Read the rest
Jeremy writes, "I'm helping to build the first makerspace in Portland (Maine), The Open Bench Project.
We launched an Indiegogo campaign on April 3rd and have raised about a quarter of our goal so far (not bad for a little town in Maine?)."
They're seeking $27.5K to pay for the first six months' lease on a space. Read the rest
Lee writes, "Philadelphia's Hacktory has just announced its Call For Artists for its new Unknown Territory Fellowship and Artist-In-Residency." Read the rest