Last Tuesday a group of bright-eyed ALIA Students & New Grads (VIC) ventured down the back lanes of Hawthorn to the Connected Community HackerSpace (CCHS). What we found there blew our minds!
So what is the CCHS you ask? Well in short it’s a community operated workshop dedicated to all things DIY technology (but there’s a whole lot more to it, so I suggest you look it up). Other spaces similar to HackerSpaces (and there’s a lot of overlap and debate on definitions) are often called MakerSpaces, TechLabs and FabLabs. These spaces are becoming increasingly more common in libraries around the world, and so we thought visiting CCHS would be a great opportunity to learn more about them…and it really, really was!
When you walk into CCHS it basically looks like a super organised, slightly crowded, well-equipped workshop with everything: 3D printers, lathes, laser cutters, CNC mills and so much more! We were lucky enough to get a comprehensive tour of the space by members Jennifer and Gil, and they showed us the huge range of awesome equipment available for use within the CCHS.
The CCHS is run by enthusiastic volunteers and its facilities are funded by membership fees and supported heavily by donations of equipment, materials and expert knowledge. The best part about it is that anyone can join, you can pay membership fees and become a regular member with full access to a huge range of equipment and the vast knowledge base of other members, or you can visit at specified times for the low cost of $10 for a casual visitor. With the pooled resources of members, the space offers so much more than someone would usually have in a personal workshop (let’s be honest…how many of us can really afford to have a 3D printer, a laser cuter and CNC mill at home?!).
What happens at CCHS? So much! The members work on their own projects such as drones and zombie infection scanners (yes that’s right!!!), but they also work on group projects. One of the main ideas behind the CCHS is that you can accomplish so much more with a bit of collaboration. Basically if you have a project you’re working on and need assistance, there will probably be a CCHS member who can and will help…now how cool is that for collaboration!
If you’re interested in learning more (and you should be), go check out the CCHS website: http://www.hackmelbourne.org/ and better yet, go visit them! If you’re not from Victoria or Hawthorn is a little hard to get to, there are other HackerSpaces and MakerSpaces around, do your research and go check them out!
Here are some links to help you explore a bit further: