The Mobile Hackspace Project

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Mobile Hackspace Project - "Go Anywhere, Build Anything!"

The Mobile Hackspace Project is a personal project of Dominic Morrow acting as a part of the Hackspace Foundation. Mobile Hackspace project is a working title for this project. The idea is to equip a vehicle with all the key equipment of a Hackspace and take that Hackspace to the hackers, wherever that may be. This would likely include acting as

  • A Pop-Up Hackspace at events such as EMF Camp or Small Is etc
  • Focal Point for a Hackspace outreach or at events
  • In communities too small to warrant a full time Hackspace (like a bookmobile)
  • A extension to existing Hackspace (especially fledgling ones)

Go Anywhere, Build Anything!

Current 1st Choice vehicle

Mobile workshop 110 with lift up sides

  • 2004 (53) 110 Hardtop
  • Td5 Diesel
  • Direct from Severn Trent Water plc
  • LEZ Compliant
  • Fitted with DC welder and generator, Grinder, handwash etc
  • Towpack
  • Full Service History
  • Warranted Mileage of 124,000 miles
  • Price £8,400 Including VAT (£7,000 plus VAT) Including new MOT, service and comprehensive guarantee

110SevernTrentWelder.jpg 110SevernTrentWelderNSR.jpg 110SevernTrentWelderOSR.jpg 110SevernTrentWelderlocker.jpg 110SevernTrentWelderload.jpg Internal.JPG


Item Est. Cost Notes Comment
Vehicle £8,400.00 An ideal vehicle with DC generator, power sockets tow set etc
Insurance - Annual £1,300.00 vehicle insurance only
Road Tax - Annual £215.00 DVLA
MOT - Annual £0 Not required in the 1st year
Secure Storage - Annual £?
Brownchurch Roof Rack £? 2nd Hand item required + fitting

Road Tax DVLA info

Some details about BD53 YFK from the DVLA site


Insurance vehicle only

The image below is based on a compare the market quote for insurance making a few assumptions. It would not include public liability and content, also I'd need to factor the cost of parking the Mobile Hackspace too.


How will the Mobile Hackspace Project benefit existing Hackspaces

For the cost of moving the Hackspace (includes fuel, overheads and driver), any UK Hackerspace or group can hire the mobile Hackspace to use as a platform for their group at an event, other Hack-day or whatever. The Mobile Hackspace can easily be re-branded with vinyl banners to become an extension of that Hackspace at any other venue.

How will this be funded?

I intend to run a campaign on the UK launch of Kickstarter say that it will launch in the UK in Autumn 2012. I will need to make a video and will be looking for volunteers to speak about Hackspace and what it means to them.

Equipment List

Item Est. Cost Notes Link
Laser Cutter/Engraver 40W CO2 A4 £1,400.00 HPC Lasers
' £
' £
' £
' £
' £

Tools and Equipment for Hacking

  • vinyl cutter
  • laser engraver
  • 3D printer perhaps
  • power drills and drivers
  • glue guns
  • staple guns
  • pillar drill
  • CNC Mill

Mobile Hackspace Kit (build a Hackspace in a field storged on/in vehicle)

  • tables & chairs
  • pagodas ideally automatic erection (giggle)
  • hard floor matting
  • lighting
  • power adaptors

What the vehicle needs

  • power hook up
  • inverter/generator
  • solar panel?
  • lots of storage compartments (side entry like a fire engine or a sandwhich van like this )
  • lighting
  • water tank and tap
  • fire extinguisher
  • large roof rack storage
  • mobile hot spot (how do buses do this?)
  • secure locking and a massive guard-dog
  • air compressor
  • side awning
  • tow bar for add on unit or caravan! Hack Caravan!
  • projector and screen somehow

Suitable Vehicles

Ideally the vehicle could run on carrot juice and be very environmentally friendly. Budget suggests it might have to save the planet some other way. Bio-diesel seems plausible as does LPG conversion (though I am not sure what difference either option makes to emissions). Having it's electrical power (when not in motion) at least partially solar and wind would be great.

Remember the Gastrowagon? I have something in mind like "The Gastrowagon" from Cook on the Wild Side, an early 90s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall show about cooking stuff you find. The gastrowagon was very cool. He lived on top of it in a box, it had water, an oven and all sorts of other stuff that opened out the side of it.

What appears to be the remains of the gastrowagon and a chap doing it up! I like Land Rovers a lot anyway so that might influence my decision somewhat.

Land Rover Defender 130 Quadtech Rear Box Body This item looks perfec, it's ONLY the Rear Box Body but £900 seems plausable to me. It requires a Landy 130 which is a little less obtainable. this one looks perfect

Here is a great page of Land Rover 130 Quadtech's and Workshops for sale! Land Rover 130 Quadtech

other ideas

  • sandwhich truck
  • long wheelbase landrover (especially old fire engine type or anything with side lockers
  • UPS type van or any van you can walk into the back of from the drivers seat. I love that.
  • a Luton van is big
  • the van I already own (very small)

Why don't you get a bus that would be cool?

True, it might be cool and old buses might not cost as much as you think. At the Manchester Mini Maker Faire I spent some time talking with Andrew Teverson of The Stage Bus, a double decker dus (not a route master) that converts into a stage with large sound system, lighting, dressing room etc. Apparently on the top deck there is a kitchen and bedroom with bunks though Andrew (who was rather tall) said he bangs his head on the ceiling a lot and that it's hot in summer and cold in winter.

Of driving the bus Andrew said that technically anyone with a Full UK Driving Licence can drive upto 8 people in it. However he said he has an HGV licence which makes insurance considerably easier to get. Andrew said the bus cost about £3k but that the refit had been more. They have to store it at a caravan storage place and this costs them about £2k a year. Insurance covers the bus and contents I think and he said that it was expensive. I think Stage Bus is a great idea and I certainly plan to hire it if I ever have a suitable event. I think the model it uses as a business is a good one and very similar to how Mobile Hackspace might work.

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