What’s this all about?

HackLE11 is a project to set up a hackspace / makerspace for Loughborough, in the UK’s East Midlands. Loughborough is a large market town with around 60,000 residents and several major employers including a top ten University.

Loughborough has strong tradition of engineering which has included companies manufacturing bells, cranes and generators for electric and gas turbines amongst many others. Loughborough doesn’t have a hackspace, yet, but we aim to change that!

OK, but what is a Hackspace?

Hackspaces (or hackerspaces, makerspaces etc) are places where people who like to make stuff can go to find facilities and like minded people to collaborate with, or just hang out with. Some of Loughborough’s neighbouring towns and cities have discovered that they have enough critical mass to operate their own hackspace, but there isn’t anything quite like this locally as yet.

Hackspaces are generally run on a shoestring basis by volunteers in return for donations, pay-what-you-can suggested subscriptions and contributions of equipment and know-how. Some also generate revenue by offering training, co-working space or hiring out facilities for commercial use.

Hackers? Sounds a bit dodgy!

Hackspaces are also about reclaiming the word “hacker”, which has become associated with malicious intent. Wikipedia has a good definition of hacker:

“A hacker is a person skilled in information technology who uses their technical knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle, within a computerized system by non-standard means.”

What kind of facilities would it have?

Hackspaces typically have a bunch of different kit for making stuff, from sewing machines to 3D printers, CNC machines to lathes and laser cutters. Equipment is often donated, e.g. when items are replaced by corporate owners. Hackspaces usually have to buy their own materials, e.g. filament or resin for 3D printing. But most importantly the hackspace provides a physical space where hackers and makers can get access to kit, tools and supplies.

Computers and electronics are often a big part of a hackspace, and hackspaces can be a great place to learn or brush up on your skills in everything from server and network administration to soldering and programming microcontrollers like the Arduino or Raspberry Pi’s RP2040. There will be LED lighting, and probably beanbags.

Why are you calling it HackLE11?

If you know, you know - Loughborough’s postcode (UK equivalent of zip code) is “LE11” :-)

Who’s in?

If enough people are interested in getting involved with something like this, then we can make it happen! Why not read our blog to find out more, and then join us if you like what you see.