Null Space Labs visit
After finding a link on HackADay and doing some research online, I decided to go to the regular Tuesday night meeting at a local hackerspace Null Space Labs. HackerSpaces are clubs that are set up to do various constructive (build things), destructive (blow things up), and artistic (make it pretty or interesting) projects. Most have or hope to get a permanent location. Being a loose movement, they vary quite a bit on what they specialize in, membership, access policies, and what they have available, but frequently they have equipment that individual members could not justify acquiring such as 3d printers, welders, osiliscopes, and industrial sewing machines. Go to hackerspaces.org for a list of hackerspaces.
Null Space labs is in the garment district of downtown Los Angeles, in what may have been one of the sweat shops. The entry is on the back side of a building, with the [NSL] name on the door buzzer as the only label. They apparently specialize in electronics and computers, and have an open door policy where anyone can come in and use the facilities when one of the key-holding members is present. They have electronics test and assembly equipment, a variety of components (mostly surface mount) available (with a donation jar to pay for them), various beverages in the fridge (another donation jar), a computer network, and electronic games.
There were about half a dozen people present, and no talk was presented. Besides general talking on various subjects, there was some electronics assembly going on and use of laptops for whatever. Later on Thai food was ordered and "The Green Hornet" was played on the projection screen. The only thing I accomplished besides seeing the space and meeting some of the people was measuring some inductors I brought on their LCR meter. Next time I come I'll bring a project to work on.
Another hackerspace I'd like to visit that has an opendoor policy is 23b shop in Fullerton. Besides electronics, 23b has metalworking tools and a shop equipped to work on vehicles, and a place for leaving or taking various treasured bits.