[hackerspaces] History of shared workshop spaces

john arclight arclight at gmail.com
Sun Dec 20 19:54:10 CET 2009

I think the concept of "skin in the game" also helps. You do need to put a
lot of trust in your friends to pay the rent, take care of the bills, look
after your tools, etc. If they have time, sweat equity, money, personal
tools, projects, etc invested in the space then it seems like it helps
cement together at least a core who will be committed to keeping things
running smoothly.

Most professional machine shops will assign a particular machine to a
person.  This isn't because everyone that works there is a careless slob,
but because they want to make sure that one personally takes some ownership
of that resource, keeping it clean and in good order.  For personally owned
equipment, this is the already the rule. If the space gets something
expensive, then it makes sense to have someone who keeps track of it.

One advantage that we have now with the "Hacker Space" trend, is that it
tends to attract a lot of people with similar interests, and most tend to
have something to offer.  It takes money to start things up, and we are
fortunate to be in an industry where people with good jobs are plentiful.
The people with lots of time tend to have an inverse of money, so it can
pretty much work itself out.

Our space is based on the model of "The rent don't pay itself."  There is a
very real possibility of someone getting stuck with the whole thing if we
let people flake, so that provides the "motive force" to keep everything


On Thu, Dec 3, 2009 at 11:01 PM, Marc Juul <marcjc at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hash: SHA1
> I think we have several different age groups who are becoming interested
> for different reasons. Here are my experiences from the upcoming
> Copenhagen hackerspace. There are the students who are there to learn
> from others and get access to resources they wouldn't usually have, and
> just to hang out, and then there are the older members with a 9-5 job
> and possibly a family who are interested for some of the same reasons
> but also because they simply don't have the physical space for a
> workshop in their apartment. Some of these guys basically just want a
> place to store their projects and tools.
> - --
> Juul
> Labitat
> Ron Bean wrote:
> > Back in the '90s, I used to lurk on rec.woodworking and
> > rec.arts.metalworking, and the idea of shared workshop space came up
> > regularly. The general consensus (or at least the loudest opinions) were
> > that it was unworkable, because you'd be dealing with partners you don't
> > know. How do you know they won't abuse your tools? How do you know they
> > won't hurt themselves and get you sued? How you do know they won't
> > disappear and leave you stuck with the entire rent? (etc).
> >
> > Then Wired writes an article, and all of a sudden we have shared
> > workshops popping up all over the place, often including woodworking and
> > metalworking tools. What changed?
> >
> > I don't know the answer, but I can make a few guesses.
> >
> > I always had the impression (maybe not accurate) that the woodworking
> > and metalworking newsgroups were dominated by homeowners who had garages
> > and basements to work in. There was sort of an implication that if you
> > weren't a homeowner, you needed to work on your career instead of having
> > hobbies, until you could afford to buy a house (Or, maybe I'm imagining
> > that.) In any case, most of the people there had no strong desire to
> > work with other people (more likely, they were using their hobbies as a
> > chance to get *away* from the people they worked with all day, and spend
> > some time alone).
> >
> > Contrary to popular belief, many hackers do value each other's company,
> > and enjoy working on projects together. And in many cases, hacking is
> > directly related to their careers. And in theory, it doesn't take much
> > space (although some hackerspaces are quite large).
> >
> > There's also a long history or artists sharing studio space. Artists are
> > used to not having enough money, and sharing space makes sense from that
> > point of view. And many of them do value having other artists around.
> >
> > So I'm thinking that it's a cultural thing, rather than any practical
> > difference.
> >
> > Anyone have other comments on this?
> >
> > _______________________________________________
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