Guides/Getting started

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Welcome!

This page is intended to help people who have never been to the Hackspace before.

The London Hackspace is a social space for people who like to make things: we have a workshop with woodworking and metalworking machinery, extensive electronics equipment, a lasercutter, and many other tools and devices. Additionally we are host to a large social sphere of hackers, makers, scientists and artists, and a growing number of community subgroups that cater to particular interests.

We don't offer a formal training programme. If you want that you could try colleges (evening classes) or the Society of Model Engineers, who offer a very comprehensive machining class. However, there are lots of knowledgeable people who are often able to help and answer your queries. If you're prepared to pitch in and try things, read up on it, ask advice and be patient .. you'll probably do fine.

The London Hackspace is entirely volunteer-run, and governed by the community. We rely on donations to sustain our efforts, we expect that our members engage with the community, and we rely on our members to maintain the space.

Just looking?

Not sure you want to be a member? Check our IRC channel (Warning: maybe NSFW) or mailing list to get a feel for us; come along on a Tuesday or arrange (via IRC) to come along at another time.

Become a member

This is the website to go to to become a member, for detailed information how to sign up as well as why you should go here. The brief summary: members get full access, and their donations allow us to pay the rent and other expenses. No members = no space. There are other member benefits.

Once you've set up the standing order please allow a couple of days for it to clear then come along to the space and ask someone to get you access (best to check on IRC that someone will be there).

Everyone should read the rules which covers things you can/can't do, the important advice on using a communal space, and the faceplant list which details things you can do but would probably regret (mainly concerned with common tool-related gotchas). For specific activities, we have other guides. Some people may also be curious about our legal structure.


Please help look after our equipment by taking responsibility for its upkeep.

Communication

Mailing Lists

Join one of our mailing lists - the list of lists has all our lists but the main options are:

  • Announcements Used only for weekly news announcements and event announcements. Intentionally very quiet, 0% noise.
  • Main mailing list Used for general communication and discussion between members. Extremely active, 30% noise.

If you want to post to the main list (the announce list is read-only) please read the FAQ first.

These mailing lists don't require a Google account - if you don't have one, email london-hack-space+subscribe@googlegroups.com, or equivalent for other groups. To unsubscribe, email +unsubscribe.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat)

  • IRC. As well as the mailing list there is a fairly lively (although at times NSFW) IRC chat room that is used for more general discussion, feel free to join in, members get ops (just ask).

In Real Life

  • Our Tuesday socials every Tuesday we have a social meet at the space from about 19:30. There is normally a large pizza order (currently £5 / person) for food, drink is BYOB (or buy donate to a beer-run). This is an excellent time to meet people and look about.

Other places on the internet

Events and Workshops

The space hosts a variety of events, including a number of recurring meetups and workshops. All events are generally announced on the list and are put on our events calendar.

Most Workshops are free, some come at a small cost (especially those that supply equipment). Workshops usually have limited attendance, so register early!

If you want to run your own event have a look at our documentation for planning an event, it's not hard. Anyone can organise a workshop, it can be a 30 minute 'lightning talk' on what you do for a living (thats how the biohacking subgroup started) or a much longer, full weekend teaching session (eg the Arduino workshops).

If you want to request a workshop: ask about it on the list, and then put it on the request list.

Projects

The main project page is here, as well as this there are assorted members projects here. In general projects progress when people work on them; if there is a public project you are interested in read the wiki page for it, ask around on IRC or the mailing list then go for it.

No matter what the project (personal or public) these pages may help:

  • Suppliers lists local, national and internet based suppliers for all sorts of things.
  • Guides contain assorted "how-to's" (and some "how-not-to's") for tools around the space
  • Equipment, what we have. Be aware some tools require training (notably the laser cutter and the Makerbot, these are delicate, expensive, tools: if you don't know how to use them please ask).
  • Our library contains a range of books (many more than listed here) that are free to use and cover a range of topics, members can borrow books but must list what they've borrowed on the page (at the very bottom).
  • Our workshops page covers upcoming workshops as well as those passed; the individual pages often contain much useful information (as well as possible contacts), for more see below.

Other Stuff

For more information on other hackspaces in the UK there is this site which has a list of most of the UK hackspaces. There is also an associated google group/mailing list