The past decade has seen the sudden, dramatic appearance of community spaces offering public, shared access to high-end manufacturing equipment. These spaces are interchangeably referred to as hackerspaces, makerspaces, TechShops, and FabLabs. This can lead the intended audience to become incredibly confused as to why there might be so many names for a single concept. I’d like to take some time to untangle the mess, explain the concepts behind each title, and talk about why I now make significant distinctions between all of these types of spaces.
Let’s start with the hardest to untangle – what’s the difference between aHackerspace and a Makerspace?
I’ll start by saying that there are many people “in the know” who don’t make any distinctions between the term ‘hackerspace’ and ‘makerspace’. Truth be told, these people usually associate themselves with hackerspaces. I personally find that I need to differentiate between the two, because at this point the concepts and representations behind the words have diverged significantly for me. Let’s start with a little bit of history on hackerspaces, both paraphrased from Wikipedia and drawn from personal knowledge.