TOG Hackerspace

TOG Hackerspace

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8307-3.ch008


The TOG Dublin Hackerspace has been in existence since 2009 with a membership base of 73 users in 2017. The space is located in central Dublin, Ireland within easy walking distance of a number of public transport areas. The space is a not-for-profit business with shareholders and associate members who hold voting rights. The stated objectives of the space are to advance science, technology, modern culture, and the creative arts in the Dublin area. As such, the space is strictly non-commercial and does not provide manufacturing services. The space does not provide areas for or encourage start-ups or other types of commercial activity and self-police of members' activities. Known for its rubber duck mascot, TOG participates in a number of community-based activities like the Dublin Maker Faire and other events. The space also organizes a number of events and workshops open to the public and for members to connect and create learning communities around machines and group interests. This chapter explores TOG Hackerspace.
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Our main objective is a society for the advancement of science. That's our main objective and then our second objective is to provide a shared workspace for our members. We don't have that strict goal of educating the public. It's not part of our agreement. It's one of our secondary goals, it's not our main goal. — Jeffrey Roe


Organization Background

Within walking distance from the iconic O’Connell Street Bridge, the TOG hackerspace serves the city of Dublin as the only physical makerspace operating at the time of the author’s visit. TOG received its name from the shortened Gaelic word thógáil, now tóg, which can be interpreted in English “to build.” Located in a commercial building with a kitchen, loading bay and meeting areas, the group started in 2009 with 17 people; at the time of the author’s visit the membership totaled 73. Jeffrey Roe, a c0-ofounder of the TOG hackspace, provided a tour and answered the interview questions. The current location is the third “station house” or physical location for the group. The current space met the requirements of a kitchen and an open floor plan, with a total of 5,920 ft2 (550 m2). Moving into the space from the entry-way there is a keyed door that then opens into the common room, as shown in Figure 1. The common room has tables, chairs, and couches, plus games, books and snacks.

Figure 1.

The common room


Moving past the common room there is a classroom space that is used on open nights when the public is free to attend the space. Roe indicated that every few months they have been adding walls and partitioning the space as funding becomes available. The classroom can hold up to 12 people and has a blackboard along one wall, sewing machines, large format printers, vinyl cutters, 3D printer, and a 3D printer graveyard as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2.



The next room in the space is the electronics room, as shown in Figure 3. In the space there is a wide variety of oscilloscopes, cables and components en masse around the room.

Figure 3.



In the corner of the electronics room is a laser cutter that was sourced and built by members of the space, as shown in Figure 4. Roe referred to this as an open source laser cutter; the plans were obtained online, and the components were individually purchased then assembled. The space shopped around for components and was able to find the lowest price on each, which brought the total cost of the 100-watt cutter to around $8000. Roe indicated that the laser cutter is the most popular of the digital fabrication tools because of its relative simplicity, especially when compared to 3D design. To purchase the laser cutter, members had a fundraising drive and paid extra on their membership fee to raise the necessary funds.

Figure 4.

Open sourced laser cutter


The space attempted to handle member storage by requiring each member to use a standard storage container which, according to Roe, worked well until the company manufacturing the containers went out of business. As shown in Figure 5. They have about 40 of the standardized boxes and have not been able to locate the same sized box. Roe encourages members to try and keep their personal items in the storage container. He noted:

It's because you have 73 people who, if you make a generalization, like to keep old stuff because they think it might be useful. They accumulate a lot of stuff. Some people do infrastructure like the Wi-Fi and sign-in system and all that stuff. It happens on that rack there, this is some old 3D printer.

Figure 5.

Member storage


Key Terms in this Chapter

Hackspace: A place where members gather together to share knowledge and collaborate on ideas.

Direct Instruction: Teaching method whereby the instructor provides content to students, usually in a lecture format.

IoT: The internet of things.

Coderdojo: A volunteer run program to teach programming to youth.

Dublin, Ireland: Capital of Ireland located on the east coast of the island.

Open Nights: Nights open to the public.

Shadow Box: A framed dimensional box that can hold keepsakes.

Intruder Lamp: A project whereby members create a lamp using a sensor and Arduino or Raspberry Pi microcontroller that will turn on a lamp and send an email or make a sound when the sensor is triggered.

Dublin Hackathon: An event where people come together for a short but intense period of time to develop hardware and software projects.

TOG: A not-for-profit makerspace in Dublin, Ireland.

Open-Sourced Projects: A project that the created has made available to the general public at no charge.

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