Visiting Alpha One Labs, Brooklyn NY

Alpha One Labs is a hackerspace in Brooklyn NY. It is located on the 4th (3rd?) floor of a relatively new building on Norman Ave. It is a single (approx) 500sqft work room plus a bathroom. But wow do they pack a lot in that small space.

Alpha One Labs from Door

The space is very neatly laid out. The wall on right as you enter is covered with tools hanging on pegboard, with small parts boxes mounted above. The bathroom (with soda machine) is directly back. A large 80watt laser cutter is to the left of the door as you enter. A Donation box is mounted on the wall next to the door. The far wall is lined with shelves fairly neatly stuffed with a wide variety of tools, projects, parts. The center area has a collection of work tables/chairs and a pair of standing workbenches. Once side of this bench has a drill press, small chop saw, vice, bench grinder, etc. The other side seems setup for electronics, with the shelf above holding a nice collection of oscilloscope, power supplies, meters, etc. The back corner of the space hides a vending machine (work-in-process) and the while board.

Alpha One Labs From Back of room

All in all this is an very very nicely laid out hackerspace. I commend the team for their design and organization.

The space is organized as an owner-board. That is, there is a small cadre of founders who serve as the board and control decisions, etc. Membership does not confer an authoritative vote. There are about 40 members of the space, paying roughly $40/mo for 24/7 access. The laser is the one piece of equipment for which they charge usage rates – to allow the owners to make back some of the expense. The space hosts a variety of meetups like robotics, 3d Printing, arduino, etc. (for past events see

The night I visited (May 23 2012) was a special event to talk about Space Programs – specifically the Hackerspace Space Program. One of the founding members of Alpha One Labs, Psy Tek, was a co-author of the proposal. Since I was in town briefly (one night) we had arranged to meet. Psy Tek had put the word out and we had a decent turnout. I was surprised to see most of the people were there at Alpha One Labs for the first time! We even had a guy come all the way from Philadelphia, just for the meeting!

I’m looking forward to meeting up with this crew again in July when I go back to NYC for the HOPE 9 conference.

Work Meeting May 10th 2012

We had a great meeting on thursday may 10th sprucing up the new space. Brian Thomas came roaring in early ready to paint. We picked up a big bucket of used paint from CWD and got rolling. Over the next couple hours we had a half dozen people or more come thru and lend a hand. The results were pretty terrific.

Remember that ‘closet’ that had paint splattered all over the walls and ceilings? It looked like some ugly accident happened. At the end of the night it was a whole different room.

We only did the main walls, although some trim got painted with the same color too. We should get a gallon of contrasting trim paint and get these done right. Here’s a selection of pictures I took at the meeting. Compare these with the ones in previous blog post. Oh and that foosball table got a real workout too.

Maui Makers has a Real Building!

Maui Makers New Home

Its official, Maui Makers now has use of 1550+sqft of the F-2 Cafeteria building in Pu’unene, courtesy Hawaii Dept of Education. This is the building next to our container, so the basic location has not changed. However, now we have:

  • a large (34′ x 31′) open classroom
  • a kitchen (14 x 22) with two sinks, stove, and washer/dryer
  • a small (7 x 5) room w/built in shelves (and power breakers)
  • a larger (11 x 14) ‘office’ with shelves, 3 windows and working air conditioner
  • two bathrooms!! (outside)
  • AC Power galore.

Floor Plan of Maui Makers F2 Building in Pu'unene HI

We may be able to add use of ‘the pantry’ (size unknown), with its security gate (in kitchen). The DoEd had stored a bunch of exercise equipment in the ‘office’. We moved it to the large room. They also stored a foosball table in there. We set that up in the kitchen. The feet and some of the players are broken but it is still functional.

We need to secure the exterior windows on the front (kitchen) area. Perhaps some bars made from welded rebar? Some of the rooms need painting. Everything needs a deep cleaning. Then we are ready to move in equipment!

The Classroom:

Interior F2 Classroom from rear corner

Panorama of classroom in F2 Cafeteria - kitchen is on left

The large room in the center of the building is an open 34′ x 31′ space. DoEd mayoccasionally want to use if for meetings, etc. We can use it for classes, temporary projects, etc. If we are going to use it for any projects longer than a couple days, we need to inform DoEd. There are two (large but skanky) bathrooms off this big room. They are NOT to be used. If you need one, there are two bathrooms with doors outside on the front of the building (towards our container). The interior bathrooms are much larger – which would mean a LOT more custodial work if they were used. Since Dept of Ed is providing cleaning, they get to say dont use em… besides which, they need a bunch of work.

New Kitchen Doorway

We installed a lockable door between the kitchen and the classroom this past Thursday (3May2012), with the expectation that DoEd was going to retain the classroom. It will still be useful securing our space if/when DoEd wants to use the room. The windows to the left of the door now open/close for pass-through. They can lock but we may want to add some sort of security grate over them.

The Kitchen Area:

The main kitchen area is about 17′ long and 14′ wide. It has a lot of counter space, with cabinets under counter. We need to clean out the cabinets and then they can be secured as project storage for members.
There is 220v power in the opening for the stove. There is a stove+oven but we dont know if it works. I have not even opened it to look inside.
The main sink (under window) has two parts and works pretty well. The other sink (on right) is deep but has very weak water flow. Oh, we do have hot water. There is a non-functional refrigerator which we have arranged for CWD to pickup for disposal when we get it outside.

Closet and Hallway
Off the kitchen is a fair sized (7′ x 5′) closet, which has the power breaker panel inside, and a small cupboard with shelves built into the wall. Someone had fun splattering paint all over this room (and its carpet.) We need to repaint, remove the carpet and clean out the shelves. We also need to get a key to the breaker panel.

Next to the closet is a hallway to the Office. There is a washer and dryer setup on one wall. The washer has (leaky) hot and cold water and working drain. There is no exhaust or 220v power for the dryer. Maybe they swapped the dryer and stove as needed? The security door in the hall opens to ‘The Pantry’. We havent seen it yet but based on wall space, it should be pretty large.

The Office – Shop
The back room was called ‘The Office’ by DoEd. Its a 14′ x 11′ concrete block room with shelves built into one wall. The long outside wall has one window with a working air conditioner (aka dust hole). The short outside wall has two windows. There are two rows of power outlets running around the room, and a set of RJ-45 connectors. Some of the RJ-45 say Data, while others are probably phone. It is not known yet if the Data sockets are live network access. This room will make an excellent workshop!

Shelves in The Office (and Cole)

Here’s the full Flickr set:

[slickr-flickr tag=”puunenecafeteria” descriptions=”on” flickr_link=”on” sort=”title” use_key=”y” ]