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Crash Space: Lasers, 3D Printers, and the Hacker Ethos

By repurposing electronics and making things from scratch, Crash Space's hackers are reducing waste and thumbing their noses at consumer culture.

While we're eating the biggest burgers and visiting the RV Hall of Fame, the real point of the Edge of Progress Tour is to meet and interview some of the most innovative thinkers in the cities we're visiting. This is the fourth of those interviews.


Crash Space is located in a house so unassuming that you probably wouldn't notice it unless there were motion-triggered noisemakers that went off as you walk by, which there sometimes are. Officially it's a member-supported workspace, but in reality it's every kid's fantasy: a clubhouse where you can shoot off lasers and build rockets and take apart neat-looking electronics.

Sean Bonner, one of the co-founders of Crash Space (along with Carlyn Maw and Tod Kurt, who also appear in the video), wanted to create a communal environment where people who might otherwise be tinkering at home in their garages could come together and share ideas. The atmosphere is one of experimentation, creativity, and, most of all, fun. You get the feeling that if the Crash Space gang were teaching science in schools, we'd have a lot more kids getting excited about engineering. We might also have a lot more kids with laser burns, but children are nothing if not resilient.

Even though fun is the guiding tenet of Crash Space, Bonner and his cohorts are not without lofty ideals. By repurposing obsolete electronics and making things from scratch, they're reducing waste and thumbing their noses at consumer culture. Why buy a replacement knob for your stove when you can just print a new one?

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