Makerspace: What is a maker and why do I need space?

You could be a maker, if you …..

  • Like to create new things out of old electronics.
  • Have a slew of old parts that you saved for making the new thing.
  • Are well beyond making a macaroni necklace but still prefer to hand make gifts. (Build rather than buy)
  • Are an EXTREME crafter that learns new tricks by watching you tube videos but you don’t always have the equipment at home to pull it off.
  • Are retired and want to start working on those projects that you have been meaning to get to but a job kept getting in the way.
  • Like to tinker, invent or build software.
  • Are interested in home automation and being your own big brother.
  • Like to solve problems by inventing a new device as your own private solution.
  • Are creative looking for an outlet of multiple mediums, metal, wood, 3D Printing and laser etching.


You could need space, if you …..

  • Are an apartment dweller that has limited space for tools like a table saw, drill press or laser cutter.
  • Need a reason to get out of the house once in a while and socialize with other people with shared interests?
  • If you don’t have a basement, now you can.
  • Moved to the area recently and need to expand your social surroundings.
  • Your she shed burned down but your insurance didn’t cover the replacement.
  • Don’t have all the tools you need, and you don’t want to buy and store them yourself.
  • You can make a mess, and you have to clean up after yourself, but at least you won’t be getting sawdust in your house.

The Space is a community

Online or in-person, there’s a place for asking questions or offering help from people that have similar experiences or different knowledge that may provide a perspective you had not considered.

  • Active members show up on Thursday nights to work on their own projects and to see who stops by to share their project.
  • Working with other people side by side, there are opportunities to learn how the right tool can make a job so much easier.
  • Members use Online communications using slack.com with channels for various topics of interest. You don’t have to leave the house to share ideas or get advice on a project when you reach a roadblock.

To summarize

The dictionary defines makerspace as:
a place in which people with shared interests, especially in computing or technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge. Workshop 88 is a community space where you can make stuff and share ideas. Stop by any Thursday evening from 7pm-9pm for a workshop tour to see for yourself.

We’re Hackerspace Passport Ready!

PageWstamp3788Thanks to the laser cutter, we now have an official rubber stamp, and we’re ready to provide Workshop88 visit chops to all our visitors with Maker Passports!  OK, as soon as one shows up.

Stamp3787But we now have the capability to make our own precision rubber stamps!  Rubber stamps.  Yeah, like in the paper-based olden days.  Well, I thought it was cool.

Some more details here.

Revamping Workshop 88

Spring is in the air, flowers are emerging, and Glen Ellyn is slowly climbing out of what has been an incredibly trying winter.

The new season has inspired us to take a new look at Workshop 88 and revamp our main room. While it’s a homey basement that holds many fond memories, members have been encouraging me to come up with some new ways to change the space around to be welcoming to new members. I wanted to post some photos of the current layout so that we can work on rearranging some things.

Workshop 88 members spend so much time working on their projects and discussing new ideas that they don’t pay much attention to the space around them; but space is important. Space communicates what we value, inspires our creativity, and develops our sense of belonging. Therefore, it is really important that we spend time recreating Workshop some in order to make our space more inviting.

What do you think we should do to revamp Workshop 88? Maybe some color? Reorganizing the layout? Please comment with your ideas!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 5

IOLab: The Pocket Physics Lab

The University of Illinois has developed a new device called IOLab which allows students to explore physical principles and concepts in one all-in-one unit which can easily fit in a pocket. Andrew, a physics professor at Joliet Junior College, has high hopes for the device in the classroom and beyond. IOLab features a variety of sensors, many of which can be found in a physics lab, in a portable and affordable form. Built-in wheels record the displacement of the unit, measuring acceleration and velocity. It also features a force sensor, a barometer to measure air pressure, as well as a light, magnetic, temperature, and sound sensor.

IMG_2742Andrew is excited about IOLab because he hopes that the device will work in a way that engages our particular population of students today. It’s a great kinesthetic learning tool, encouraging creative exploration of physics in a non-threatening way. He mentioned that an additional benefit is that it has expansion capabilities to discover other yet to be determined inputs and outputs. Due to the utility flexibility of the device, it can be used in a variety of settings and serve a plethora of purposes. Andrew has a lot of imaginative ideas of how to use the device in his classes; one thought he has is to take some data, give it to the students and tell them to recreate the graph and figure out the experiment.

Hackerspaces in Space: Year 2

A few days ago we launched (no pun intended) Hackerspaces in Space: Year 2.  HSIS (as we like to refer to it) is a challenge that we extend to other hackerspaces (and like-minded groups of people) to design, build and launch a weather balloon equipped with cameras to take photos at near-space altitudes. The HSIS website has all the rules regarding the contest which you can check out if you’re interested.

Last time we ran the challenge, we had a great response from the makerspace and hackerspace community.  We’re hoping to make HSIS better this year.  We want to use HSIS to promote science exploration and discovery in schools.  We want to take whatever best designs come out of this year’s challenge and send kits based on the winning designs to schools, so that student can launch their own balloons to near-space.

To make that happen, we’ve set up a kickstarter project. (You may have seen the banner at the top of the page.) Take a look at some of the prizes we’re offering and consider becoming a backer to this project so that we can get kits into schools!

Also, we need your help spreading the word about HSIS.  Please link to the page, tweet it, facebook it, retweet, upvote it on reddit, or just post it wherever you share your information online. We can’t make this happen without your help!