Nov.24, 2011

Shanghai Government Technology committee has issued a call for a proposal to build 100 community hackerspaces with government funding for equipment. The communities in resident area are going to manage the spaces and pay for the materials. Each space is required to be at least 100 square meters, more than 200 days/year open, equipped with wood lathes, metal lathes, saws and drill grinding combined machine, milling machine and other tools.

Hackerspaces or creative spaces have been growing rapidly in China. The first one, XinCheJian, was started in Shanghai last November, by David Li and partner/project generator Ricky Ng-Adam.

Xinchejian is a non-profit hackerspace who aims to support, create and promote physical computing and open source hardware. People can exchange their ideas and expertise, get support from work on group and individual projects, and basically, as Ng-adam says, “having fun with technology.”

In 2010 Li formalized Shanghai Hackerspace's connection to the global network of hackerspace. Together with Ng-Adam they draw together hobbyists, electronic freaks, DIY lovers and makers in one place and share fascination for technology. One key player in Xinchejian is Min Lin Hsieh. She is Community organizer, taking care of finance, communication and marketing, as well as helping engineering projects and clubs. The three form a strong team by working together. Today Xinchejian has 100m2 studio full with computer spare parts, micro chips and DIY tools.

One current project is to assemble a Mendal Reprap.

Their blog posts:

I was working on the 3d printer with Mike last Saturday and the parts for the frame, Z and Y axes are almost ready and calibrated.

We are missing some parts to assemble the motors and the head. And the X axis is still work in progress.

It’s a bit strange that Botmill would sell kits with missing parts (M4 threaded 70mm rod, M4 insert, etc). Some of the reprap parts are low quality (misprinted gears) and you have to be extra careful tightening nuts as I’ve accidentally cracked the extruder carriage.

Xinchejian adapts membership system similar to social clubs. For RMB500($80) a month you are access the space for your project or join groups. No Money? No problem! Xinchejian allows you to contribute in other ways than monetarily to become members, such as volunteering time to teach classes, helping manage the space or providing services to XinCheJian.

“You’d also be surprised at how many people are willing to give away electronics they don’t use to experiment with,” adds Ng-Adam pointing to a donated computer. “To them it’s junk. To us, probably the vitals of our next robot.”

(Photo credit: Xinchejian)

Currently there are three hackerspaces in China, with XinCheJian in Shanghai, Maxpace in Beijing and Chaihuo in Shenzhen.

Maxpace in Beijing is originally developed from FlamingoEDA Openspace which established in January this year by the known hacker Flamingo. It is now a social enterprise founded by Flamingo and Justin.

ChaiHuo Maker Space is the first maker space in Shenzhen. They have equipped with one 3D printer, one laser engraving machine, welding units and projector.

It looks like the governments are also paying attention to the trend of innovation and are willing to support the movement.

Posted in Hackerspaces

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