Things are going boom at Quelab

By: Stefany Olivas, Business Manager | Photos By: Scott M. Roberts, Photojournalist

Hackspace open to the creative, the inventive and the curious

Quelab was founded based on the popular idea of a hack­erspace — a place where people are able to explore ideas with few limitations, said Treasurer, co-founder, and former student Geoffrey Nicholson.

The non-profit hacker and maker space is a place where people can turn their inventive ideas into reality, said Nicholson.

“We’re a community workshop and a collabora­tive workspace. It’s a place to work feeling at home, away from home,” said Nicholson

He said he encourages people who have ideas to visit the lab to use the sup­plies for developing their creation and he said it is a great opportunity for inven­tive minds to work together.

The laboratory, located at 1112 Second Street, is open for Hacknights every Sunday and Tuesday to non-mem­bers and 24/7 to all mem­bers, said Nicholson.

“Our big focus is to come down and learn something. Hopefully if you learned something once, you’ll find it inter­esting and come back to keep working at it,” said Nicholson. Biology and Engineering major Alfred Cockrin said he became a member at Quelab in 2011 after discovering hacker and maker spaces in Kansas and attending a makers fair.

Cockrin has worked on many personal projects, but his most prized cre­ation is a 3D printer.

“That was my biggest project. I have little side projects that stem off of it,” he said.

He said his favorite thing about Quelab is the community of people who have gathered around it.

“The people that are there are willing to help out. If you have something you want to do and don’t necessarily know the next step, they’ll try to figure it out with you. If they don’t know, they probably know someone else who has the answer,” said Cockrin.

There are some hack­erspaces that are more focused on hardware or software, some mobile and some focused entirely on electronics or entirely on biology, said Nicholson.

“It’s not a very defined thing. The big idea here is community and a technical focus,” said Nicholson.

Quelab has gathered many computer savvy members so major focuses are hardware and software, but Quelab lab would like to have more access to things like chemistry and biology, he said.

“We’re generalized in theory, but in practice we’re more or less computer nerds,” said Nicholson.

Quelab hosts Hacknights on Tuesdays and Sundays from 7 p.m. -10 p.m. and Co-working on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. for a fee of five dollars for non-mem­bers, first visit is free.

July 13-15 is Albuquerque’s first Hackathon, at Quelab and there is still opportunity for people to turn their pro­gramming, design or devel­opment ideas into a project.

Albuquerque will host a mini-makers fair on Civic Plaza on September 3. If people have projects they’d like to show off there is an ongoing open call for makers.

“It’s like the State Fair mixed with a science fair; the best things to show off are things that don’t work yet,” said Nicholson.

Nicholson said he sug­gests visiting hackerspace. org to learn more about hacker spaces and how to get involved. Makezine. com provides ideas and how-to’s for beginners.

What’s in it for you?

Access to the lab includes:

  • Free access to public events and member-only forums
  • A @Quelab.net email address
  • 24/7 access to workshop space
  • One free guest pass per month
  • Space rental for sponsored events, locker rental, and workbench reservations
  • The lab provides Wifi, desks, comfortable chairs, a confer­ence room, a library, spare parts, workbenches and tools

Information from quelab.net

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