The Benefits of a HackerSpace

Some of the really great things about having a HackerSpace, and being a member of it,  are that you get access to some really cool tools, like lasers cutters, and thinks that people have brought into the space, like the kit from MakerBeam from their successful KickStarter campaign, as well as the ideas of the members.  And having access to great Open Source Hardware ideas like the Nautilus Gears by MishaT ( can lead to some interesting works in progress.


I took the initial .dxf file included in the Nautilus Gears and expanded it 375% to get something that was about as large as the laser cutter could handle. But that left me to figure out the best spacing for the gears.  For that I constructed a small frame using the Aluminium extrusions, along with assorted other parts, that we got as part of the MakerBeam KickStarter campaign, which allowed me to easily adjust the spacing to find the best distance between the hubs of the gears.  With this I was able to easily move the center points back and forth and to know that they would not move otherwise.   I had also needed to make a small part on the laser to attach the gears but that was easy using a few small scraps.


Some of the ideas that were discussed with various members also expanded the potential of the original design and gave me more ideas on where to look at making the original gears even more assume.  The original gears were really interesting to begin with but expanding them makes them even better.  It is really interesting to watch as they rotate.

This test rig has allowed me to try a few things and to ensure that further progress will indeed work.  And it is all possible by being a member of a HackerSpace and having access to the things within it.


Now to make it even better.


  1. #1 by Rob on 2012/08/10 - 7:13 am

    One of these days I’ll have to come out and see what’s going on there. I’m reading about hackerspaces everywhere but haven’t had the courage to actually go to one 🙂

    • #2 by richard on 2012/08/12 - 2:12 am

      What needs courage to go to one? They are places where people play with things that they, either individually or as a collective, own. The HackerSpaces that I all know are totally legitimate and neither encourage nor actively participate in anything illegal. They are really nothing more than a community workshop that the members have created and support through dues and other activities. They do, however, tend to be progressive with cool toys, like our laser and 3D printer that is under construction, and have some really interesting people. To find a local one look up the web site and you can see that they are world wide.

      The biggest drawback to the name HackerSpace is that people have the idea that we hack into other people’s computers. We do “hack” in that we do modify things, including how computers run, but it is always with the permission of the owners or with our own things. We are not very good at listening when someone says that there is really only one way to do things or that something that we own can only be used in a particular manner or only for a specific function. We are much better at adapting things so that they better fit our requirements and needs and to build things for ourselves and others. Warranties are quickly voided with things that enter our space, and we readily acknowledge that, but at the same time what we do also enhances our pleasure, our lives and the lives of others. And we are pretty good at sharing.

      And while the connotation of a HackerSpace may be negative there is nothing that I have done as a member, nor has any other member of the space to which I am a member or of any other space that I am aware of, of which I am ashamed or embarrassed. There has been nothing that I have done, nor anyone that I know, that is illegal or that would warrant attention of the Police. Some people have been harassed by the Police for having been a member but it was always unfounded. Within our membership there are people that have a very good standing within society and cannot afford to be associated, even at arm’s length, to criminal activities and yet they are active and proud members of this group.

      And we can be polite and welcoming. Think|Haus as it’s Open House every Tuesday evening and we welcome anyone that walks into the door. Our address is at 25 Dundurn Street North in Hamilton ON so come on by and see for yourself the kinds of things that we do.


  2. #3 by Colin on 2012/09/05 - 8:44 pm

    Hi! Like Rob I’ve always read about hackerspaces and I never knew Hamilton had one so discovering thinkhaus is pretty awesome. Anyways, the reason I actually looked you guys up started from reading this ( I just got a Raspberry Pi and I wanted a case. I looked on your wiki and it says you have a LAZZOR! So I’m wondering can I bring in the DXF files and work with someone to laser cut the box I posted? How much would it cost me? Thanks!

    • #4 by richard on 2012/09/05 - 9:15 pm


      Thanks for checking us out. Think|Haus has been around in Hamilton since June 2009, initially in a location at Niagara and Land Streets and now for about the last two years at 25 Dundurn Street North. We do have a laser and almost have a RepRap as well. We do not have a formal charge for using the laser but I would suggest that you come by and visit on a Tuesday evening, after 7:00 is always a good time to be safe, and we can talk more about it. We also ar able to use the .svg files as well since we have a plugin for InkScape that can generate the g-code that we need for the laser, although .dxf files are also useful.

      We have been having a discussion within the space about cases for the Raspberry Pi especially since a number of our members have gotten theirs.


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