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We’ve built an incredible public space for makers, right in the heart of Manhattan. Now we’re making it 103% more awesome.
25 backers pledged $1,769 to help bring this project to life.

About

$1,769

25

New goal: $2,500

Hack Manhattan is the only public hackerspace in the long-but-skinny borough of Manhattan, part of a lovely little town known as New York City.  

A group of hackers, artists, makers, tinkerers and fixers crammed themselves into an impossibly tiny room on West 14th street in Fall 2011 with a vision: a non-profit, public space for creatives of all types.  

And that’s exactly what we built.  

Hack Manhattan members and visitors work on a wide variety of creative projects—we have the usual electronics projects, 3D printing, machining and software. But we also also brew beer, build robots, garden, keep bees on the roof, pick locks, and detect cicadas. Our 3D Thursday open house was featured in a recent New York Time article on 3D printing.

We even work together on big projects, like Brain Bats, an interactive art project in 2012: a giant game of pong played with your brain waves. It was part of the FIGMENT public art festival on Governor’s Island and was featured in the New York Times

But laurel-resting isn’t in our DNA. We’ve expanded once, and now it’s time to do it again: we’re doubling our size to fit more hackers, larger classes, cooler tools, and more projects.  

Everyone is welcome to our open houses Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30pm. Fair warning: We’re doing our demolition and expansion the week of April 1—showing up to an open house that week will likely earn you a dust mask and the title of “Honorary Contractor”, so come lend a hand!

We started as a community space, and that's what we’ll always be. If you have a passion, there’s a place for it at Hack Manhattan.  

Expansion

We’re staging a takeover on the room next door by knocking the wall down. Even with our unquenchable DIY spirit, that takes some doing: tools, materials, a little assistance with relocating pipes, and paying someone to haul away broken up sheetrock. Once the demo is done, we’ll also need to equip the new space with some furniture so visitors are spared the indignity of soldering on the floor.  

The expansion will allow us to have open nights where people can actually move around the room and not have to elbow their way around, and to provide space for more new members. We’ll be able to hold classes, workshops and events in our own space without having to rent.

We already have a lot of events planned for the new space, including a Cicada Tracker party, three electronics classes and our version of Hardware Freedom Day

Floor plan of our expanded space
Floor plan of our expanded space

This is a list of our prioritized expenses. We will pay for as much as we can afford, starting from the top, based on the contributions we receive and the cost of rewards:

  • Waste removal (carting) from demolition $500
  • Demolition (non-structural) $500–$800
  • New furniture (shelving units, more chairs) $400
  • Air conditioner $650
  • 8 soldering stations $400
  • Deposit $3,500

Contributions beyond that will be used buy more equipment and to provide a little financial cushion as we start to pay much higher rent in a few months.

We aim to have everything done for our Cicada kit event on April 13 and our supersized open house on April 16.

We’ve got skin in this game too: Kickstarter isn’t our only source of funds, we’re also raising money at the space and from members, and using our own savings that we’ve accumulated as an organization. 

And, in our spirit of transparency, a report will be available to backers on what we spent and how it was funded. Your donations won’t be spent on beer or tiny fighting robots, even if we really want them. We’ll also keep everyone updated here on the Kickstarter project and on Twitter.

Joule thief rewards

The Joule thief is an electronic circuit that steals the last energy out of batteries that you thought were dead by boosting the voltage (around 1V for a “dead” AA battery) up to levels necessary to light up a white LED, about 3V. We’ve created an easy to assemble circuit board version. You can solder it at home, or bring it in to Hack Manhattan and we’ll show you how.

Assembled Joule thief kit
Assembled Joule thief kit

Cicada Tracker reward

The Cicada Tracker is a kit we designed based on a WNYC/New York Public Radio design. It helps us track when the cicadas return on their 17-year cycle by measuring the soil temperature 8 inches below ground: when the soil temperature is 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the cicadas will arrive soon.

The kit is assembled on a breadboard and requires no soldering.

Discover Electronics Kit reward

We use the Sparkle Labs Discover Electronics Kit reward in our Introduction to Electronics classes. It contains everything you need to get started with the two most important goals of hobby electronics: making things blink and making terrible noise

Finally, for the accountants and lawyers:

Hack Manhattan is organized as New York not-for-profit corporation. All major decisions are made by a vote of the membership. Our application for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status has been pending since April 2012—the Feds are slow! If the application is approved, US taxpayers may be able to deduct the value of their contribution, less the fair market value of any reward.

Risks and challenges

All the rewards are either simple to deliver (postcards) or already exist (Joule thiefs). For the Joule thief kits, since we have been selling these kits for a while, we already have more than enough components in stock to fulfill the expected number of rewards.

The rewards for our previous Kickstarter project (Brain Bats) were delayed because it was based on a design that wasn’t fully tested. We’ve learned our lessons this time: every reward exists in the form that it will be delivered to our backers.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Your name will be immortalized for all eternity, provided we pay our hosting bills, on a special page on our website.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    In addition to the above, you will receive a real, actual, dead-trees postcard commemorating our new space through the US Postal Service.

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the first two rewards, plus a 3D printed souvenir, designed by us and created on one of the printers that we’ve built in the space.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    In addition to the previous rewards, your name will be listed as a contributor on an gorgeous plaque or sign on the wall of our expanded space, plus you get a Hack Manhattan T-shirt!

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    In addition to the previous rewards, you receive a Joule Thief kit, a small flashlight that you build yourself! It’s not quite bright enough to blind your enemies, but it can attract potential mates and moths if flashed in the correct sequence, or used to signal passing ships.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    In addition to the previous rewards, your name will be affixed to one of the chairs in our expanded space. Anyone who engages in the act of sitting will be reminded of your generous contribution.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    In addition to the previous rewards, you will also receive the Cicada Tracker kit, designed by us and featured on WNYC.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    In addition to the previous rewards, your name will be listed in LARGER TYPE than the $50 contributors so all our visitors will know how generous you are and how stingy they are. You will also receive the Discover Electronics Kit, which we use for our Introduction to Electronics classes.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    In addition to the previous rewards, a Hack Manhattan member will come to your home in New York City and teach you our Introduction to Electronics class one-on-one (includes the Sparkle Labs Discover Electronics parts kit). The content and level of the class can be tailored to your background and interests, within reason.

    (The physical rewards can be shipped anywhere in the world, but the class will only be taught in NYC.)

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    In addition to the previous rewards, a Hack Manhattan member will return to your home in New York City after you’ve absorbed the material in the introductory electronics class, and teach you our physical computing with Arduino class one-on-one. We will also order a custom batch of the Joule thief circuit boards, and your name will be on every circuit board shipped out to backers.

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Funding period

- (10 days)