In a university town that seems dominated by engineers and computer scientists, it seems strange the community has never had a place to work on personal projects and learn from others.
That’s precisely what a group with ties to Virginia Tech is trying to get started as a non-profit corporation in the area. A hackerspace named ‘Hacksburg’.
During an information meeting on Monday, Hacksburg board member Jenn Marie defined the term.
“A community of like minded people who want to share their knowledge,” Marie said.
A fairly recent trend, hackerspaces are a place for people to come work on do-it-yourself, technology-oriented projects and share their knowledge. These projects often have a strong basis in computer science, robotics and information technology, although members of this particular hackerspace seek to broaden that scope.
“We want a space you can use as a workbench, or to use bigger equipment that you wouldn’t normally be able to,” said board member Eric Wimberley.
The vision is to give Hacksburg members access to equipment like 3D printers and CNC machines, which they wouldn’t normally be able to use in a dorm room or apartment.
At Monday's general interest meeting, prospective members expressed interest in learning skills as varied as soldering, welding, woodworking and even home brewing beer.
In order for this to happen, Hacksburg needs to find a space to call its own.
The group has incorporated itself as a non-profit organization, appointed a board of directors and gained a modest following from the Tech and Blacksburg communities. The next step, a large one, is to find a space that fits the needs of the organization.
They’ve been looking for spaces large enough to house their members and still close enough to be convenient for Tech students.
In order to keep membership dues down to an expected $50/month, assuming enough students are interested, it leaves itself with a strict budget of $1,000-2,000 per month for the space.
Hacksburg has a unique set of requirements for its space, which has complicated the search.
Marie said it hopes to find an insulated warehouse allowing the group to work at any time of the day and year-round.
Hacksburg will continue to hold weekly meetings and teach workshops on Tech's campus. As times goes on, it hopes to keep gaining new members through these weekly tutorials and interest meetings, and transition to a permanent location as soon as possible.