If you’re someone who likes to create, repurpose, engineer or tinker with technology, where can you find your kindred spirits and maybe a laser cutter?
Probably at Hackerspace.
This 45-member group meets regularly at Hackerspace Charlotte headquarters, 1111D Hawthorne Lane. The public is invited to its weekly Tech Tuesdays, which start at 7:30 p.m. and end when the last member leaves.
Here it should be mentioned that we’re not talking about “War Games” or even the creep who hacks into your Netflix account. Hackerspace members are creating cool stuff. Legal stuff, they are quick to point out.
Members have launched a balloon into space, built 3D printers, quadcopters, hocky bots and even a couch bike.
And then there was that time they won a Guinness World Record for the world’s largest QR code.
A few months later, the record was beaten by people who put a larger QR Code into a field. But that was temporary. Hackerspace’s QR code is still the largest permanent one. You can see it in Google Maps. Try it with your QR Code reader.
Hackerspace Charlotte won a Global Hackerspace Challenge for Members by creating Feltronics, a way to teach basic electronics for under $100. It involves hands-on components backed with felt and magnets and works on a dry erase board.
Their Laptops for Haiti project provided Haiti with much-needed technology after the earthquake. They collected 100 broken laptops, repaired and refurbished them, and ended up donating 30 working Linux laptops to Haiti.
What’s going on
Besides Tech Tuesdays, the last Friday of each month they hold an open event for members to show off their projects. They host classes on micro controllers. From time-to-time, they have a 3D printer night, where people bring in and work on — or build– 3D printers. They also hold laser-cutting classes.
Collective brain trust
Members bring in most of their own materials but there are some communal materials and tools they can use, like laser cutting for wood and acrylic, some electronic components for soldering, and 3D filament for prototyping. The greatest resource, however, is the collective brain trust of the members. If you don’t know how to do something, chances are that one of the other members will.
Photos: Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer