Events General Workshops

Retro Computing Evening

Commodore PET

Nottingham Hackspace now has a regular Retro Computing Evening, on every third Thursday of the month.

If you enjoy retro computing or retro gaming, with everything from modern-day homebrew Sinclair computers to Apple II and Commodore PETS, then this is the evening for you. We’ve played with Amigas, Raspberry Pi emulators, and more.

Bring in your working computers, projects, or emulators, and enjoy the evening!

Open to members and non-members alike, the retro computing evening starts at 7pm.


A Year in Review 2013

It’s been a year of consolidation at Nottingham Hackspace with a few milestones too. It’s was our 2nd full year at Roden House and our 3rd since Nottinghack was founded. This year marked us breaking the 200 member boundary but also slipping into 2nd place as the UK 2nd largest Hackspace (with London Hackspace’s move in June).

Some highlights have included

The Ukulele Orchestra of Hackspace founded and has since spawned into a number of interesting ventures including Luthiers (Stringed Instrument Makers) Club and Olde Timee Band who you can here playing here. If that is something you like then you can join in most Monday evenings from about 7pm. In fact 2013 was very social all round with the inauguration of Friday’s informal “BAD MOVIE NIGHT” as well as some nice group meals!

We suddenly got famous too, BBC Click featured us in a story by LJ Rich called “Can anyone do DIY Tech?”


Our appearance of television coincided (and not by accident) with us being featured on Hack-A-Day and as a result we had our busiest open night ever…  so we decided to do a live hook-up with London Hackspace and Hackspace Manchester!

We were very happy to see the return of the UK Maker Faire this year and of course Nottingham Hackspace was there in strength providing not only a Hackspace table but also a UK Hackspace Foundation table as well!

We’ll be going to the Maker Faire 2014 too of course. Will you be coming along?

With so many new members we had a very busy and full Annual General Meeting this year. We needed to get at least 50 members in the room! It was a good opportunity for a group photograph.

We’ve had some super hard-work put into running workshops of all kinds though the Arduino workshops have been sold-out and very popular all year! We have more in 2014 check the calendar.

We had fun around Nottingham too when we took part in Light Night… we’re doing that again in 2014 so break out the LEDs and EL Wire!

… we got outdoors again and into the Arboretum to join in with the Green Festival!

What will 2014 bring? We’ve a lot of things planned and we can’t wait to see what you build at the Hackspace!


Nottingham Hackspace on BBC Click

Nottingham Hackspace on BBC Click
Screenshot of the BBC Click website

You can see the Nottingham Hackspace and some of its members on BBC’s Click this weekend or on the BBC website.

LJ Rich (@LJRICH) came to Nottingham to visit Phenoptix and the Hackspace as part of her piece on DIY tech. From Minty Boost kits to Raspberry Pis to laser cutting, the news piece covers a wide range of electronics and ideas that you can explore at the Nottingham Hackspace.

Click airs on the BBC News channel, and can be seen at 7:30pm on Saturdays and 1:30pm on Sundays.

If you are interested in seeing what you can do with tech, come see us on Wednesdays at our Open Hack Nights!


A year in review 2012

This time last year we’d only been at Roden House for 8 months and we’re settling in to life there, I did a review of 2011 which you can read here. We’d just purchased our Myford Super Seven metalworking lathe in December 2011 and that was a major step for the Hackspace and led to much more quality based approach to tool acquisition in 2012 a year that saw Nottingham Hackspace able to meet it’s full rental costs from membership payments alone and breaking the 100 members mark too.

Co-incidentally Nottingham Hackspace has acquired a superb Bridgeport milling machine by Adcock-Shipley of Leicester made in about 1974. We had a tip off from a member of Bristol Hackspace about it’s possible availability at a bargain price. Founder Member Matt Lloyd (aka RepRap Matt and @DPSLWK on twitter) is working carefully through the required restoration to get the mill in top condition for the future. Matt says at this time there are no plans to add CNC to the mill and should be ready to use in the next few months.

One of the first major events last year was the Global Gamejam 2012 and Nottingham Hackspace hosted teams and you can find a write up of that event here.

In March we attended the Science in the Park event at Wollaton Hall teaching well over a 100 kids and adults how to solder. We’ll likely be attending that event again in 2013 on the 23rd March more information here.

April saw us run workshops in making rubber stamps on the laser cutter and making a bat listener. We also had a day dedicated to learning CNC techniques.

The CNC day was run by David Hayward, Matt Little and long time friend of Hackspace Andy Harsley.

In May we celebrated a year at Roden House, with an Open Day

Just like the event in 2011, Open Day is a chance for us to show off projects and tools and invite anyone who is interested to visit the space being shown at it’s best.

June saw Nottingham Hackspace attending the local Mini Maker Faire at the Silk Mill in Derby just up the road from us. The Faire was well attended and Nottinghack showed off it’s automated lighting system plans.

In June we also attended the Green Festival in Nottingham’s arboretum.


In July we had a number of workshops including solar power and a Ladies Night organised by Kate Bolin. We also had one of the most successful events of the year in July the Raspberry Jam, which is an event for users of the Raspberry Pi micro computer.

August saw the Nottingham Hackspace acting as venue to the Young Rewired State Nottingham team who won “Best Example of Code” resulting in the prize of  a Google Plaque (displayed in the comfy area) and a RepRap kit witch they are building most Sundays at the Hacskspace.

September saw a large contingent attending the Electo Magnetic Field event in Milton Keynes. It was awesome…

We had quite a few activities at the Hackspace in September too including wine making, lock picking and candle making.

October saw Nottinghack attending the Ignite Futures Pop-Up Science Shop at the Broadmarsh centre in Nottingham. The shop called 3-2-1 Ignition was very successful. Hackspace had a take over day.


It’s been a great year at Hackspace and a real one for growth in both membership and stability. I look forward to another year of surprises.

Events General

Hack The Space Day

Hack The Day Space

The first Sunday of every month is the Nottingham Hackspace’s Hack The Space Day.

This gives members the opportunity to make the space a better place, whether it’s organising components, building storage, cataloging consumables, or just giving the space a good clean.

If there is ever anything about the space that you feel can be made better, this is your chance to do it – just come along, join in, and help make the hackspace your space!

The Hack The Space Day is an all-day event, and feel free to drop in at any time. All help is welcome!

Events General

Maker Playgroup on Sunday, 7th October


On Sunday, 7th October, Nottingham Hackspace will be hosting its Maker Playgroup, a chance for parents and small children to enjoy the hackspace.

Starting at 10am, Maker Playgroup is a great way to see the space and talk to other makers and hackers. There will be crayons, paints, cardboard boxes and plenty for children to play with, whether inventing a new rocket ship or just colouring a robot.

Share your favourite parenting hacks, get to know other parents, and play at the Nottingham Hackspace!


David 8 Touches The Hackspace

Printable David, by MiniShadow
The Printable David 8, from

When Kate found this printable David 8 from Prometheus, she knew that the Hackspace would be ideal for his incessant touching.

So with a bit of colouring, attaching to card, and putting magnets on the back, David 8 was ready to explore the strange new world of the Nottingham Hackspace.

The David cut-out touches a plastic magnet D

Yes, David, that is a D. Your name begins with D.

David 8 touches a vinyl cut-out H attached to a post.

And that is an H. Because we are at a Hackspace.

David 8 touches the guard on the table saw

Oh David! Not the table saw!

David touches a cut-out of Fluttershy

Not Fluttershy!

David 8 touches Ein the Duck's sign, which says Ask Me About The Hackspace

Yes, David, you can touch Ein the Duck. After all, he knows about the Hackspace.

If you would like to join David 8 in his exploration, visit the Nottingham Hackspace on one of our Open Hack Nights, every Wednesday starting from 7pm!


Nottinghack speak to Sydney Padua

Kate Bolin told me she waited through ALL the credits of “Clash of the Titans” (the recent one) to see her favourite webcomic artist’s name on the big screen. With a cult following in the Hackspace movement if you’ve not read Sydney Padua’s fantastic 2D Goggles you are missing a treat. We were delighted to hear that Sydney is working on a print edition of “The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage” which might be available as soon as the year 2013! Nottinghack dropped Syndey an email with a few questions…

In the unlikely event that anyone reading this hasn’t heard of 2D Goggles can you tell us a little about it?

2Dgoggles is a webcomic (and soon a book!) that concerns Victorian mathematicians Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, in pocket universe where they build a giant computer and fight crime, clients, street musicians, and each other. I do a ton of research for it and I am the world’s leading expert on Charles Babbage’s hair. Come for the comic, stay for the footnotes!

Did you know that your work has been reproduced at London Hackspace? Could you tell us a little about what you think of the Hackspace movement?

Yes the mural looks awesome! I love the idea of hackspaces, it’s a great resource for those of us deprived of sheds. I can’t wait to get up to Nottingham, which I intend to do at the first available opportunity- not only are you located near the resting place of Ada Lovelace, I understand you have both beer and lathes.

We’re very excited to hear about you going into print in a year or so, you must be thrilled?

Oh, very thrilled! And also kind of daunted! When I started the comic it was literally a joke.. then it became a kind of an obsession.. but I never set out to do a graphic novel. Pantheon is a terribly distinguished publisher with a list of graphic novel luminaries, so both a huge honour and a lot to live up to.

What’s your dream gadget?

Oooh, let me think..something to make decisions for me! A Magic Eight Ball (do you have those here?), containing a supercomputer that could generate accurate projections of the future and tell me what to do.

What kind of things do you think Babbage and Lovelace would be making if they were hackspace members today?

Heh.. Babbage would have to be making the next thing that nobody could understand what it was. I think it would be too advanced for my puny brain! Lovelace would be making it even more baffling, but I think on the side she’d be making flying machines.

What’s worse – bad street musicians or bad poetry?

Bad music AND bad poetry– maybe I should have Lovelace and Babbage join forces against musicals!

What question do you wish you’d been asked?

Uuummm.. Sydney, do you happen to know what Ada Lovelace’s toothpaste consisted of?

Could you answer that question?

Why YES! Yes I do! Buy the book to find out what!

Look out for Sydney Padua’s Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage in print next year in the meantime try 2D Goggles

Events General

Global Game Jam 2012

The Hackspace recently acted as a Global Gamejam 2012 venue, with about 25 people descending on the space for the weekend to make games.

In case you don’t know much about the making games, modern console games take between eighteen and twenty-four months to create. The challenge of the Global Game Jam is that these teams had just two days to make something, so… a pretty tight deadline! We had seven teams compete in all, including local companies IndieSkies and Nerf Games.

As well as myself (David H), hackspace members Andrew Armstong and Andy Thorpe helped to make sure everything ran smoothly. While the teams cracked on with their projects, we also played quite a bit of Johann Sebastian Joust. Below are shots and a video from a couple of the projects.


New donations to our bookshelf (Jan 2012)

This month we’ve got some notable new books for members to read in Nottingham Hackspace.  The classic ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain: A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence’ by Betty Edwards claims to be the world’s most widely used drawing instruction book and has cracking reviews. We also have a brand new book, ‘How Round Is Your Circle?: Where Engineering and Mathematics Meet’ by John Bryant, which describes some beautiful physical models you can build to explore mathematical problems from an engineering perspective.

These donations were made by David Hayward (and by me). If you have any interesting books gathering dust on your home bookshelf, please consider lending or donating them to the hackspace. I will leave you with these descriptions of our new books, from their publishers:

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (front cover)“Whether you feel you have little talent and you doubt you could ever learn, or you enjoy drawing but have not been able to get much beyond a childlike level, this book will give you the skill you have always wanted. If you are already drawing as a professional artist or artist-in-training, it will give you greater confidence in your ability and deepen your artistic perception. This 20th-anniversary edition of ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ has been dramatically revised, with more than fifty per cent new material, including: Recent developments in brain research that relate to drawing. New insights on the use of drawing techniques in the corporate world and education. Instruction on self-expression through drawing. Ways to step beyond black-and-white drawing into colour. Detailed advice on applying the five basic skills of drawing to solve problems.”

How Round Is Your Circle (front cover)How do you draw a straight line? How do you determine if a circle is really round? These may sound like simple or even trivial mathematical problems, but to an engineer the answers can mean the difference between success and failure. How Round Is Your Circle? invites readers to explore many of the same fundamental questions that working engineers deal with every day–it’s challenging, hands-on, and fun.

John Bryant and Chris Sangwin illustrate how physical models are created from abstract mathematical ones. Using elementary geometry and trigonometry, they guide readers through paper-and-pencil reconstructions of mathematical problems and show them how to construct actual physical models themselves–directions included. It’s an effective and entertaining way to explain how applied mathematics and engineering work together to solve problems, everything from keeping a piston aligned in its cylinder to ensuring that automotive driveshafts rotate smoothly. Intriguingly, checking the roundness of a manufactured object is trickier than one might think. When does the width of a saw blade affect an engineer’s calculations–or, for that matter, the width of a physical line? When does a measurement need to be exact and when will an approximation suffice? Bryant and Sangwin tackle questions like these and enliven their discussions with many fascinating highlights from engineering history. Generously illustrated, How Round Is Your Circle? reveals some of the hidden complexities in everyday things.