Good luck, nullspace labs! An open letter to a Los Angeles hackerspace.

(Hi, readers! Time for a first-person interlude.)

Dear Nullspace Labs,

Having gotten the news about your impending move, I just contributed to your Indiegogo campaign. Here’s why, and here’s why I hope my friends will do the same.

We went through the same stuff back when i3Detroit was young! Ours was for a very different reason, but the tasks ahead are the same, and I wish you all success. I bet the next lease will have some strong terms about more advance notice, too. :)

Some background: We actually had good move-out terms in our first lease, but they didn’t apply to what happened. It turns out the landlord had been flying under the radar for decades, and nothing in the space was up to code.  Thus, the building didn’t have a “certificate of occupancy”, and it wasn’t about to qualify for one. We faced stiff fines for continuing to “occupy” the building without it.

However, the city thought we were cool, so we got them to hold off on enforcement, for 30 days. Just long enough to scramble for another space, make sure the new landlord had all the details in order, and shovel everything into a moving truck.

But oh, the expenses! We were “in the black” in that we were making rent, but we didn’t yet have enough in our emergency fund to cover a move. Another down payment and first month’s rent. More insurance. More renovations. (Lots of renovations…) Plus the actual truck rental. Yeah, we needed help!

We threw together a Kickstarter, and our family and friends came through in a big way. The money made a lot of things possible, plus the vote of confidence from so many donors really lifted our spirits through what was already an incredibly stressful mess.

It still wasn’t easy. We didn’t have time to organize much while we packed, and the unpacking was equally chaotic, so it took us *months* to get back on our feet and functional the way we’d been before the move. However, don’t despair! Our continued existence is proof that you can come through this! It’s now 4 years later and we’re bigger and stronger than ever.

I was lucky enough to squeeze in a visit to Nullspace Labs last time I was on the west coast. It felt instantly familiar when I walked through the door — the same kinds of stuff, the same kinds of conversations, and most of all, the same friendly and welcoming vibe that every open-hack-night seems to exude. I had a great time meeting M and Arclight and several others whose names escape me a year later. I learned a fair bit about microscopes and surfacemount, some of the group’s obvious strengths. And I hope to return sometime, although it’ll be to a different address, probably in a different neighborhood. Hopefully one with fewer stairs. ;)

(And hey, depending on how far you folks are willing to move, there’s plenty of cheap warehouse space in Detroit! Just sayin’.)

Best wishes from Michigan,

-Nate B-

RBCreation; SUCCESS!!!!

After a long weekend full of emotion and sweat, i3Detroit was awarded the Team’s Choice award!!!

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this means they were voted as all the other teams’ favorite!

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They won a pretty BA 40 watt laser cutter from Full Spectrum Lasers!!!

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we are DROOLING back in Detroit; can’t wait to get our hands on this!

[insert picture of Eric and Sean here]

A huge shout-out to our team members Eric and Sean; who actually both missed their first father’s day to compete in the Red Bull Creation Challenge…Great job guys, I’m sure your kids will be proud :)

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also…Matt’s hair is doing just fine

The Delegate

imageOne of the central principles of hackerspaces/makerspaces is to make it easier for each other to accomplish things by sharing resources and ideas. It should therefore come as no surprise that, as a relatively old and well-established space, we get a steady stream of queries from founders of new spaces, asking for advice, and that we freely share the lessons we’ve learned.

Apparently that’s knowledge worth sharing more broadly, because MAKE: Magazine and Artisan’s Asylum put together an event to do just that! It’s taking place this weekend, and i3′s past president Matt Oehrlein was invited to contribute our perspective.

Matt joins roughly 180 other participants, including leaders of established spaces, founders of new efforts, and experts in related fields such as government and insurance. We look forward to further collaboration with the broader community!

Hello, World! (Open Shop Science Friday!)

In advance of World’s Maker Faire in NYC this weekend, NPR’s Science Friday did a feature on hackerspaces.  Cool stuff!

We’d like to welcome anyone who heard that story, and anyone else for that matter, to our semi-regular Open Shop Friday.  Starting around 6pm, the doors will be open.  Come in and meet a few members, we’ll be doing tours and intros all night.  Bring a project to work on, bring a friend, but most of all, bring your curiosity!

Also be sure to swing by Ferndale’s DIY Street Fair and Funky Ferndale Art Fair this weekend. You might see a few familiar faces cruising around on a very strange vehicle…