How do you explain a "makerspace"?

Anyone have luck out in the world coming up with a clear way to articulate what a “makerspace” is to someone who is brand new to the concept?

1 Like

A makerspace membership is like a gym membership only the equipment is tools, the goal is making things and the community is about collaborating.


I sometimes use the phrase “community workshop”. I feel like it sums up the purpose (the tools) and the spirit (community) of the place.


I use the “gym membership for tools” analogy as a lead in most of the time when explaining Asmbly. That tends to be one people can make a good mental map from.

1 Like

Maker Space: A place that has the tools or machinery that can turn or transform a raw material or substrates into art or products using your own experience or knowledge and in the case you’re lacking those, use of the community or other members knowledge or experiences. Or: a place that has the machines to learn or strengthen a hobby using your expertise, via classes, or a communal input of others.


A subscription based shop/craft space.

1 Like

I’ve not had a problem with anyone understanding “shared workshop” :man_shrugging:t2:


Well… I’ve been working with ‘makerspaces’ since 1984 when Discovery Hall was created here in Austin as a model of the Exploratorium in San Francisco (c1969). I’ve also been involved with the CCC who created the first makerspace using that terminology in Germany in the very early 90s and I worked with L0pht Heavy Industries the first US makerspace of note.

It depends on what you mean by ‘makerspace’ there is no one definition. The Exploratorium and Discovery Hall (where the Robot Group formed) it was a hands-on center to explore technology and science. If you use the CCC (Computer Chaos Club for those who might not know what that means) it is a means to interact with and change society through hands on interaction. If it’s L0pht Heavy Industries it’s again a mechanism to change society. It was never, at least in the beginning, meant to be some kind of community co-op wood/metal shop to help small businesses as the primary focus. The initial ideal has degraded to a great extent through a fragmentation of community, shared history, and economic necessity (I’m personally not convinced of the necessity.)

Exploratorium –
Discovery Hall – Texas Archival Resources Online
Computer Chaos Club – Chaos Computer Club - Wikipedia
L0pht (Heavy Industries) – L0pht - Wikipedia
Great Hacker War – Great Hacker War - Wikipedia
Legion of Doom – Legion of Doom (hacker group) - Wikipedia
Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service – Steve Jackson Games, Inc. v. United States Secret Service - Wikipedia

Note that Wikipedia for example has no entry for Makerspace as it was created due to the negative perception of Hackerspace. It is a political construct.

Hackerspace – Hackerspace - Wikipedia