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What is a Makerspace/Hackerspace?

One way to explain a makerspace is to say it is a collaborate work environment. However, makerspaces are also extremely varied spaces in terms of organization, mission, culture, scope, and size. There are small workshops where a few good friends get together to drink homebrew beer and hack on custom-designed 3D printers. There are sprawling spaces hundreds-strong, a small village barter economy - with ideas and imagination as currency.

Some say makerspaces will replace libraries. As books (and knowledge) ever march digital, what function and role does a library play in society? The library, as the institution we know today, is sure to vanish - our generation will witness its death throes. The Makerspace is the sole heir to its the social responsibility and function, to the ongoing development of skills, and as a curator and index of knowledge.

It's a place for tinkerers and hobbyists to talk shop and compare notes. It's an unbounded blank canvas for creation, where ideas can be put to the test, things set on fire, and the stuff of legends cast in the forge of blood, sweat, and tears. Or just tablespace to work on your soldering skills. It's really up to you, as a participant, to create and define what the space ultimately becomes.

Will it be a mere reflection of yourself? A composite, stained-glass mural of its member ids and egos? Or does it emerge into its own strange and magnificent creature?

The Hackerspace Manifesto embodies Freeside values.

These sites give a great introduction to makerspaces and the growing maker movement:

Makerspace members both create and contribute to community projects. Project may involve as few as a couple of participants at a local makerspace, to many thousands of contributors across the internet. Some examples of projects that inspire makerspaces include:

Here's a few other collected thoughts from the web about making and hacking, the stuff of real, meaningful, important and relevant work:

How do I get there?

We've put together detailed directions, as well as video.

What is the best time to stop by and see it for myself?

We have a weekly open house, traditionally on Tuesday night around 7p or thereabouts. At our open house, you're welcome to just browse around and see what members are working on. You're free to ask to join the fun! The open house has more of a social feel, but feel free to break away if you find something interesting to work on.

If enough people gather in a cluster, the cluster may be led around.

We also have events and classes (just about) all the time. Check out and join our Meetup group for the schedule and to RSVP.

How can I get more involved?

Freeside is a member-supported Nonprofit organization. We're always looking for active new members, donors, and supporters. There are a ton of ways to get started. Probably the best way is to introduce yourself at the Tuesday Open House listed above.

The only thing that is required for membership is enthusiasm. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the space and all of the projects going on your first time there, but one of our goals is education and we'll teach you whatever you'd like to know. Don't wait for a class on it either - find a subject matter expert (SME) in the area that your interested in and they'll help you get started.

If we don't have a class/event/project/area that you'd like to see, just rally people to get it. If you can keep people excited about something, they'll help you build whatever you're looking for. The more that our members do this, the stronger Freeside becomes and the more resources you'll have at your disposal.

How much are dues?

Our current regular membership rate is $80/mo, which comes with a bunch of benefits. A discount membership rate is $40/mo, and is available to those who qualify through the Starving Hacker Program.

Other discounts are available, just ask our Treasurer.

Are my donations tax-deductible?

You may elect to have a receipt issued for your donation, to claim as tax-deductible. See the Donation donations page for more information about what we accept (and what we need!)

Is Freeside a 501c3 charity organization?

Freeside is a Georgia Nonprofit organization. We are working toward approval as an independent 501c3, but we have not gotten the independent status yet. In the interim, we have a fiscal sponsor that issues tax-deductible receipts on our behalf. Contact the Treasurer for more information.

Why 'Freeside'?


Home was BAMA, the Sprawl, the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis.

Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megabytes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffic threatening to overload your simulation. Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megabytes per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta...

Neuromancer by William Gibson

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