return of the mobile hackspace obsession

Last summer I went into a deep obsession with the idea of having a mobile hackspace. I’d decided that running something like the Sparktruck project would be a great idea. I did a lot of research including asking people to recount their experiences of using tools in schools. The main issue for me was I couldn’t work out what I wanted from the mobile hackspace project. I’ve little interest in teaching kids (it’s a thankless task and there are lots and lots of people doing it) but much more interested in people teaching themselves and putting tools into peoples hands to try (and fail) and try again (and succeed).

As I looked into it more and more I got distracted by the vehicle needed. I went through a full range of ideas and counter ideas from special Land Rovers to Luton sized vans. Next I got overly worried about financing the project the insurance costs and kitting it out. I’d just gone part time at work with the idea of going fully freelance… it wasn’t going well I needed to work on things that made income and I couldn’t really workout how to make a living with mobile hackspace or even IF I should be able to. Other projects came up to swamp my obsession and I more or less threw in the towel putting the project on hold indefinitely.

Indefinitely, that is until I got re-inspired by two things. The Electro Magnetic Wave event and the London Hackspace LHS Bikeshed. I really enjoyed making and selling t-shirts all day at EMW and I saw how effective a caravan was at being converted into a starship and how roomy it was inside really. Caravans can sometimes be found cheaply, maybe even for free, I figured. I already have a little van, all I need do is add a tow bar! Yesterday a good friend of mine John Crouchley (one of the very earliest members of Nottingham Hackspace) offered me his old Sprite CI caravan sending me the following pictures.

The next steps are to go and see the “van” (TIL that no one in the world of caravans calls them caravans, just vans) and see if it’s salvageable  It’s not been moved in 6 years and looks rusty in parts. If it can be moved I’ll be finding a yard somewhere to store and work on it. Hopefully as close to the hackspace as possible. Next I’ll check the interiors and workout what I want to keep and what I want to remove. I’ll overhaul the inside and the outside, ensuring all the windows have good seals and repairing any rotten wood and sealing up any leaking joints and whatnot. I’d like to get the exterior a custom vinyl finish (I know a guy) if it can be cleaned up.

Then I’ll be looking for sponsors and I’m going to fill that van with tools…. not overnight mind…

View my imgur album of caravan pictures.