Hackerspace Passports at BarCampMilwaukee

Hackerspace Passports at BarCampMilwaukee

If you happen to run into Mitch Altman and he gives you a Hackerspace Passport, or if you make your own like I did, you should toss it in your bag and bring it to BarCampMilwaukee6, as I’ll have a nice #BCMKE logo to stamp in it.

BarCampMilwaukee is an event, but I also like to think of it as a “temporary Hackerspace” of sorts, since it does it exist for roughly 2 days per year, and has done so since 2006.


Make: Live – Milwaukee Makerspace

Make: Live

It seems strange that it was just February that the Milwaukee Makerspace was finally settling into their new space and I stopped by to shoot a few photos. About two months after that they had their open house and now just two months after that we worked with Make: Live as part of the Hakerspace Roadshow.

I ended up talking with Matt from Make: Live about my Photo Booth project, and he pitched the idea of including the Milwaukee Makerspace in Make: Live’s Hakerspace Roadshow. The guys were more than happy to be a part of it, so we took it from there.

Make: Live

I did the camerawork, via the Logitech C910 connected to my MacBook and we did a test Skype call with Tim from The DHMN before Make: Live called us. The quality suffers a bit from the whole process, but it is a live show. It was challenging, but I think it turned out well.

Walking around with the MacBook, looking at the screen while the camera pointed outward was not easy. The image was flipped since Skype expects the camera to be facing you, not away from you. I don’t know if there’s some trick/hack for reversing the screen, but it would come in handy.

If you haven’t seen the video yet, check it out. It was also great to see the other spaces, Twin Cities Maker, i3Detroit, and Noisebridge. It was inspiring to see all the other space, and fun to work with Make: Live. I hope we can collaborate again in the future!


Makerspace/Hackerspace Membership Costs


I wanted to do a bit of research on the cost of being a member of a hackerspace or makerspace (and by cost I mean, monthly membership fees.)

I started at and just looked at spaces in the United States.

Since the information is coming from a wiki, we can’t be sure it’s completely accurate, but I think it’s a good gauge of fees nonetheless.

Name Location Members Per Month
ATX Hackerspace Austin, Texas 41 25 to $75
Ace Monster Toys Emeryville, California 80 $80
Alpha One Labs New York, New York 37 $40
Arch Reactor Saint Louis, Missouri 23 $10 to $30
The Baltimore Node Baltimore, Maryland 18 $50
Bitsmasher Santa Cruz, California 33 $50 to $100
BrainSilo Portland, Oregon 20 $40
Bucketworks Milwaukee, Wisconsin 50 $75
Collexion Lexington, Kentucky 25 $5 to $60
Columbus Idea Foundry Columbus, Ohio 50 $25
Cowtown Computer Congress Kansas City, Missouri 30 $30
Crash Space Los Angeles, California 30 $37 to $108
DHMN Appleton, Wisconsin 23 ~
Dallas Makerspace Dallas, Texas 50 $50
Dayton Diode Dayton, Ohio 8 $50
HacDC Washington D.C. 42 $50
HackPittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 25 $30
HackerDojo Mountain View, California 183 $100
Hackerspace Charlotte Charlotte, North Carolina 30 $40
HeatSync Labs Chandler, Arizona 17 $50 to $75
Hive 76 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 15 $15 to $100
I3 Detroit Detroit, Michigan 32 $39 to $89
Jigsaw Renaissance Seattle, Washington 50 $15 to $200
Midsouth Makers Memphis, Tennessee 20 $25 to $75
Milwaukee Makerspace Milwaukee, Wisconsin 17 $80
NYC Resistor New York, New York 27 $75 to $115
New Work City New York, New York 75 $300
Noisebridge San Francisco, California 80 $40 to $80
Pumping Station: One Chicago, Illinois 50 $30 to $50
Sector67 Madison, Wisconsin 21 $50 to $100
Twin Cities Maker Minneapolis, Minnesota 35 $50
Zero1 Nation Colorado Springs, Colorado 14 $13.37 to $35

I tried to include some of the spaces I was already familiar with, or ones in larger cities, which I thought would provide some good contrast.

I also included the number of members in thinking that the number of people involved would affect the cost per member per month.

Some of these are non-profit organizations, while others are not. Some have student or “starving hacker” rates, and most of them seem to have open times/events where anyone can come. Some allow guests (and some suggest guests make a small donation to the space) and many have tiered membership levels.

I talked to Bre at NYC Resistor and asked about their pricing, which says that if you teach classes your membership fee is $75 per month, and if you don’t teach classes, it’s $115. I had assumed this was to reward people who teach by giving them a discounted rate, but he suggested it was more along the lines of punishing those who are slackers and don’t do any teaching. Either way, it’s a neat idea. :)

Obviously the amenities or “what you get” for your membership will vary. Some of the spaces are meant for you to have a permanent desk, provide good Internet pipes, meeting rooms, and function as your everyday office, while other are more like workshops, with tools you may not have access to anywhere else. Prices obviously vary depending on geography as well. Of course you’d expect that In a bigger city you’d probably find more members, and that the rent would be much higher. In a place like Appleton, Wisconsin, it may prove hard to get enough people interested to build momentum to secure a space. (It took the Milwaukee Makerspace folks about a year to get their space.)

If I’ve got anything wrong, or your space was mentioned incorrectly above, please let me know… This was really just a quick look at the monthly membership fees of a bunch of different spaces.

Disclaimer: I am involved with Bucketworks, and I am friends with the folks in DHMN and Milwaukee Makerspace, and have a loose affiliation with Sector67, Jigsaw Renaissance, and Pumping Station: One. (The last three being members of the Space Federation.)

Audio Channel Uncategorized

The Maker Movement (Audio)

Web414 Matt Gauger and I talked about the The Maker Movement at the February 2011 Web414 Meeting. Here’s the audio in case you missed it.

Besides the history of the maker movement, and the modern-day rise of it, we talked about Hackerspaces and Makerspaces, how they may be similar or different, as well as some of the things that go on at a makerspace, and what type of people (and things) you might find at one. We also talked about our own place here in town, the Milwaukee Makerspace.

We really didn’t do a lot of planning for this talk, as we were filling in for someone with another topic who couldn’t make it, but I think that’s fine, and just goes to show that you really don’t need to prepare that much to speak at Web414, as long as you know the subject, and can speak intelligently about it (or fake it like we did) you’re good to go.

You can find the audio at Ourmedia or the Internet Archive, and you can download an MP3 of this talk.

Also, if you want to get all of the audio I publish automagically downloaded podcasting style, subscribe to the feed.


Milwaukee Makerspace

Milwaukee Makerspace

I stopped by the Milwaukee Makerspace for a few hours last weekend, and I was pretty impressed with the progress they’ve been making.

If you’re not familiar with a Makerspace (also sometimes referred to as a Hackerspace) check out where you’ll learn that they are: community-operated physical places, where people can meet and work on their projects.

CNC Mill (In Progress)

At the Milwaukee Makerspace you’ll meet people who know how to build robots, hack Arduinos, weld, cut, drill and use every power tool/hand tool you can imagine. These guys have built electric cars, furniture, camera control systems, and even gained some recognition in the PowerWheel Racing series at the Detroit Maker Faire.

What was going on Saturday? Brant was working on building shelving space for projects, Matt was planning his guitar repair, Ron brought his keychain video camera (and I played with it a bit) and Royce repaired the access control system. There’s still much to do before the open house on April 9th, 2011.


So even though the Makerspace has drills and saws and tools and welders and electronics testing equipment, and they’re building a CNC mill, and repairing a laser cutter… you might wonder why you would really want to be a member… and the reason is: community.

The guys at the Makerspace are passionate about making things, but they want to do it around other people, not in their basement or garage, but in a space where collaboration takes center stage. And these guys are pretty smart, so if you’re trying to do something but don’t know how… chances are there’s a Milwaukee Makerspace member who knows how to do it, and can help you.

"If you can hack it, you can have it"

This might be my favorite photo of the Makerspace, and it’s a great motto: “If you can hack it, you can have it.” :)