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Lifestyle: Hack Life

By Pancake Legend from Hackerspace, 5 Kent Lane, Hawthorn.

Hackerspace HQ, 5 Kent Lane, Hawthorn

An often forgotten area of the creative arts is the application of technology and engineering. In this discipline, people versed in coding, robotics, digital art, 3D printing etc. often employ the same level of finely tuned skills as sculptors, painters or musicians. Local community group, Hackerspace provides such craftspersons with a place to unleash their passion for this type of expression.

What is a Hackerspace? Often called a makerspace, it's a place where people gather to work on interesting projects. Sometimes members come to work on their own projects in the company of like minded friends, but the magic happens when members collaborate to create new things from the ideas they discuss at the space, combining skills to make things greater than what they could alone. Usually, these projects have a focus on art and technology, leveraging what’s interesting at the time to explore new ideas and opportunities.

What Can You Do at a Hackerspace? The last 20 years have seen great advancements in the accessibility of the hardware needed to create anything you can dream up. TheConnect Community Hackerspace (CCHS) has built a collection of 3D printers, laser cutters, electronics equipment, CNC routers, and regular workshop tools. There's little CCHS members can't explore with these resources and a dash of creativity. If there's something they need, they either make it, adapt it or find some way to achieve what they're after. You can build a gadget, explore robotics, sit and code, design and construct cosplay, and talk about ideas in art and tech. It's a space for all the things that modern creators do.Fundamentally there's a common thread of learning how to do new things to achieve what you want to do.

What Benefits do Hackerspaces Provide? Hackerspaces provide unique opportunities that aren’t satisfied by traditional community or educational structures. Its social value is hard to quantify but undeniable. Depending on who you are, the hackerspace’s value can be entirely different. It’s a university for independent learners. A playground for artists. A workshop for tinkerers. An incubator for inventors. It’s a place to find friends and collaborators. Education, personal growth, upskilling and changing careers, it’s all part of what happens at the space organically while just spending time with friends. The hackerspace plays an important role in the community that isn’t traditionally understood or recognised because it doesn’t fit into a neat category.

Have You Met Saucebot? Dreamed up by CCHS members, Saucebot is a fun creation that puts sauce and mustard on sausages. It consists of a donated and converted 3D printer. It’s a great way to explain what members can get up to while they’re fundraising at the Bunnings BBQ. It also happens to generate a lot of curiosity and smiles while doing its thing. It embodies the kind of fun and creative thinking that takes place at CCHS.

When Do We Meet? General sessions Monday, Tuesday 6:30pm ‘till late. Saturday afternoon from 12pm ‘till whenever. Go to https://www.hackmelbourne.org/ for more information. If you’re interested, drop by and say “hi!”. Tuesdays are a great day to meet some new people.

Hank, President of Connected Community Hackerspace (CCHS). In 2009 like minded creators gathered in a member's residential double garage. At the time, 3D printers and Arduino projects were the focus. After three years they outgrew the garage and formalised and incorporated the group to become CCHS. They moved to the current rental premises in 2012, thus establishing an independent space where creators could meet, learn and create together. 12 years later, the membership includes a diverse range of people with a broad focus across art, technology and manufacturing - building cool things together.

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