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To describe them simply, makerspaces are community centers with tools. Makerspaces combine manufacturing equipment, community, and education for the purposes of enabling community members to design, prototype and create manufactured works that wouldn’t be possible to create with the resources available to individuals working alone. These spaces can take the form of loosely-organized individuals sharing space and tools, for-profit companies, non-profit corporations, organizations affiliated with or hosted within schools, universities or libraries, and more. All are united in the purpose of providing access to equipment, community, and education, and all are unique in exactly how they are arranged to fit the purposes of the community they serve.Makerspaces represent the democratization of design, engineering, fabrication and education. They are a fairly new phenomenon, but are beginning to produce projects with significant national impacts.[From]

What is the difference between a hackerspace and a makerspace?

In order to understand the differences between a hackerspace and a makerspace, we need to do a short history lesson.   The beginning of hackerspaces can be traced back to 1995 Berlin when the world’s first hackerspace called C-Base was launched.  The concept of a hackerspace started as places in the community where a group of computer programmers could collectively meet, work, and share infrastructure.  They would “hack” technology and try to make it do something it wasn’t meant to do.  This term of “hacking” or “hacker” in the computer sense soon progressed and expanded into the hacking of physical objects as we know it today.  Over the years, the price of maker tools such as 3D printers, desktop laser cutters and CNC routers became more affordable and hackerspaces naturally evolved into makerspaces.  Wikipedia defines a hackerspace “as a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science and digital art can meet, socialize and collaborate.”   Those are also the same characteristics you will find in a makerspace.  Its hard to find many differences anymore between the two terms and I believe at this point its just a matter of preference which name you choose or associate with.  The problem with the term hackerspace is the unfortunate negative image people have of a hacker.  It may be completely fine to name your private business incubator a “hackerspace” but I dont believe many schools or libraries will be going that route and will continue to use the term makerspace, maker lab etc.





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