Australian Hackerspaces

What are They and Where to Find Them

Steph Piper and Brett James

Issue 21, April 2019

Hackerspaces are community workshops with the tooling, equipment and community for all kinds of maker projects. With over 20 Hackerspaces Australia-wide, you’re likely to find one near you.

We were recently contacted by Steph Piper, a Current Patron of the Brisbane Hackerspace, which is the largest of its kind in Australia. We admire what hackerspaces, makerspaces and other similar community maker workshops do, so we welcomed the following photos and article from Steph and her Ballarat Hackerspace counterpart, Brett James.

Walk into the Brisbane Hackerspace (HSBNE Inc.) on a Tuesday open night and you’ll find a hive of activity. Someone is probably outside showing off a new electric skateboard/scooter/bike, while inside people work on projects from LEDs to RFID, or repairing or upgrading equipment.

New visitors are encouraged to try the vending machine that dispenses truly ‘random’ cans, where you might receive a Dr. Pepper or a can of instant oatmeal. Members can set their own theme songs to play when they swipe in, which plays on every phone in every room, creating a unique soundscape amongst the whir of equipment. HSBNE attracts all kinds of curious people, from the likes of engineering students finishing off an assignment, startups and entrepreneurs, DIY enthusiasts, cosplayers, learners and experienced. This mixing pot means that it is hard to walk away from the space without learning something new.

Building a table at the Brisbane Hackerspace woodshop.
Processing old power tool battery packs for recycling at the Brisbane Hackerspace.
Installing new ducting in the Brisbane Hackerspace.

Hackerspace Brisbane (HSBNE) is Australia’s largest and most established hackerspace, open 24/7 for members. Equipment for 3D printing, laser cutting, electronics, cosplay, craft, woodworking, metalworking, welding, blacksmithing, forging and silversmithing is available. Located in Eagle Farm, it’s a few hundred metres away from the Northshore Hamilton ferry terminal.

Robot fighting at the Brisbane Hackerspace.
Welding class at the Brisbane Hackerspace.
Find the official map of Hackerspaces around the world at: https://wiki.hackerspaces.org/List_of_Hacker_Spaces
Western Australia:
Perth Artifactory
Perth West Coast Makers
Eaton South West Makers
Brisbane Hackerspace
Toowoomba Hackerspace
Gold Coast Techspace
Ipswich Hackerspace
Mackay Makerspace
Hamilton Hackerspace
Cairns The Makers
South Australia:
Tonsley/Woodville Hackerspace
Adelaide Fab Lab
New South Wales:
Newcastle Makerspace
MeadowbankRobots and Dinosaurs
Central CoastSparkCC Makerspace
Giralang MakeHackVoid
Hawthorn Connected Community Hackerspace (HackMelbourne)
Wantirna Melbourne Eastern Suburbs Hackers (MESH)
Ballarat Hackerspace
Brunswick Make-create
Hobart Hackerspace
'Bug'; a burnable effigy at the Brisbane Hackerspace, ready for the Modifyre camp.

Projects at the Brisbane Hackerspace have included giant, burnable effigies for the Modifyre (Burning Man style) camp, a tiny house project, arcade machine restoration, power walls, coffee tables and more.

The first popcorn machine test after refurbishment at the Brisbane Hackerspace.

“One of my favourite projects to watch come together has been the Popcorn Vending machine. It’s required a whole lot of reverse engineering, treasure hunting for parts, and even making contact with the original inventor of the machine. 10/10 tasty project”

- Drew Spriggs
Melbourne Hackerspaces famous saucebot for sausage sizzle fundraisers.

Meanwhile, at CCHS, or HackMelbourne, you might come across their new #saucebot, a repurposed 3D printer now dedicated to the art of dispensing tomato sauce and mustard with engineered precision on the classic sausage on bread.

Printing the lightning claw dinosaur at Ballarat Hackerspace.

The Ballarat Hackerspace has moved into a larger space and is looking forward to making use of their Laser Cutter and more 3D printers. Their custom made “Mega bot” will print up to a massive cubic metre of 3D printed plastic, needed to print a full-sized “Lightning claw” from Australia’s 6m long carnivore. The photo above is using a smaller 3D printer, which took over nine months of design and printing the many parts.

If you’re making something cool that you want to share, hit a roadblock in your invention, or just want to hang out with like-minded people, then why not seek out your local Hackerspace?