[hackerspaces] Taxonomy of maker spaces

Jerry Isdale isdale at gmail.com
Thu Oct 22 22:41:09 CEST 2009

I'm new to this list, but recent discussions seem to me to have an  
undercurrent of 'just what is a hackerspace'

It is important to many folk to have good definition of terms, and  
very heated flamewars happen over such (mis)understandings.

So as a help to noobs like me, I'd like to discuss some of the terms  
used for various biz models for the generic term of 'Maker Space'.   
Terms like hackerspace, fab lab, tech shop, and names for variants  
outside those.

"hackerspace" seems to be one nebulous term with some charcteristics
Far gave a nice summary as:
The core concepts of a hackerspace:
1) Owned and Run by it's members in a spirit of equality
2) is a nonprofit orgnization, and open to the outside world on a
(semi)regular basis
3) Shares tools, equipment and ideas without discrimination
4) A strong emphasis on technology and invention
5) Has shared space (or is working on a space) as a center of the  
6) A strong spirit of invention and science, based on trial, error, and
freely sharing information

'fab lab' seems to be more instituion based, specifically related to  
MIT efforts. While non profit, it seems more focused on education and  
less on continuing community and commercial spinnoff.

'TechShop' is a commercial franchise variant. It offers the space  
equipment and some classes, but with an underlying profit motive  
(perhaps small)

Other variants might be the commercial workshops that focus on  
particular tech (woodworking, metalworking, screenprinting, etc)
Or the kids who gather in a family garage to hack and play.  Or the  
club that meets (ir)regularly.

If you strongly about 'hackerspace'', how about defining some of those  
maker spaces that aren't.


Sent from my iPhone

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