A makerspace (also referred to as a hacklab, hackerspace, or hackspace) is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art or electronic art, can meet, socialize and collaborate.
In general, makerspaces function as centers for peer learning and knowledge sharing, in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures. They usually also offer social activities for their members, such as game nights and parties. Makerspaces can be viewed as open community labs incorporating elements of machine shops, workshops and/or studios where hackers can come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.
Many makerspaces participate in the use and development of free software, open hardware, and alternative media. They are often physically located in infoshops, social centers, adult education centers, public schools, public libraries or on university campuses, but may relocate to industrial or warehouse space when they need more room.
The specific tools and resources available at makerspaces vary from place to place. They typically provide space for members to work on their individual projects, or to collaborate on group projects with other members. Makerspaces may also operate computer tool lending libraries, or physical tool lending libraries.
The building or facility the makerspace occupies is important, because it provides physical infrastructure that members need to complete their projects. In addition to space, most makerspaces provide electrical power, computer servers, and networking with Internet connectivity. Well-equipped makerspaces may provide machine tools, sewing, crafting, art fabrication, audio equipment, video projectors, game consoles, electronic instrumentation (such as oscilloscopes and signal generators), electronic components and raw materials for hacking, and various other tools for electronics fabrication and creating things. Specialized large-format printers, 3D printers, laser cutters, industrial sewing machines or water jet cutters may be available for members to use. Some makerspaces provide food storage and food preparation equipment, and may teach courses in basic or advanced cooking.