New Ballina Hackerspace

Hi HSBNE hackers,

(Hopefully I am posting this in the right spot)

Dion here from Ballina NSW. I was living in Brisbane for a while earlier this year. I’m not sure if anyone remembers me coming through a few times, I’m the guy that was interested in making moulds for a flying wing I’ve currently CNC’d out of EPS.
Anyway, a friend and I have often talked about setting up a hacker space here in Ballina about 35mins south of Byron.

  1. I am just enquiring as to how you’d go about it?
  2. Whether becoming a branch arm of HSBNE or affiliating somehow is possible, reasonable or doable?


Dion Patelis

Hey Dion,

@buzz was one of the founders of HSBNE so he would probably have some helpful tips. This seems like a good article on adafruit about the general process. There are also some “design patters” here that may be useful in helping to identify and prevent problems.

However, make sure you apply a sensibility filter on everything you read. Starting a Hackerspace is a very niche thing and highly dependant on the people involved, the culture you want to create and the location/resources available to you. That last page I linked has some good reads, but also don’t take it as the absolute truth.

It’s probably best to start with a regular meet-up of like minded people and let it organically expand. Once it feels right you can start looking into creating a formal (legal) structure like an incorporated association. Also feel free to take whatever policies, rules and procedures you agree with from us and other Hackerspaces. There’s no point drafting everything from scratch when you can borrow and improve upon others work. Same as our portal and infrastructure projects once you get to that size.

A bit of advice I’ll give based on my experience at HSBNE over the last few years. Make people, safety and accountability your #1 priority. Don’t leave it to the point where you have to start doing things like safety correctly, do it right from the beginning and build it into your culture. Have clear expectations regarding safety, accountability and punishments for doing the wrong thing. Apply them consistently across the board and don’t make exceptions for specific people. Listen to your members and try your best to make everyone happy, but don’t do it at the expense of yourself or the core group.

HSBNE has been in a great position were we pay little rent. This means we have been able to invest the bulk of our resources into improving our tools and machines. However, it also means we are not self sustaining and are reliant on the support of our current landlord. Try not to let yourself get into a position like that. It’s great to build up amazing facilities, but there’s no point if you can’t sustain the group without a free/discounted lease.

Anyway, the most important thing is to have fun and stick with it, you’ve got a long journey ahead. :slight_smile:

Hey Jaimyn,
Sorry about the late reply.
Thank you so much for the information. I will continue looking into it.
Meanwhile I changed my companies website to something like you’ve suggested with the group. It doesn’t really work like a profitable company because there’s no profits. Just making it an drone freight company, but keeping it fun and organic as I want it to stay a hobby that I might accidentally be able to work on full time.
Maybe I can get the group going in tandem with it.
Will keep thinking it over and bouncing ideas around with Shervin.

Hi Dion,

Please feel free to keep me in the loop if you start doing meetups or similar. I’m in Byron (well, until Thursday, then I’m in the EU for a year) and I’d be keen to be involved with any hackerspace type thingie that might happen in Ballina - actually, just being able to talk to people who believe in science is nice sometimes :rofl:

I think I met Shervin at a few byron tech meetups over the last few years.