A Hackspace is a place you can work on projects you’re interested in, socialise with inventive minds, repair, improve or repurpose things, share knowledge and experience, and learn and share new skills. At Advanced Hackspace at Imperial College London we bring together inventive minds from all backgrounds, disciplines and levels of expertise across the College network, to collaborate, experiment and innovate. Hackspace is the only place on campus where you can access resources like electronics, wood and metal workshops, a bio lab as well as a wide variety of prototyping tools – all under one roof.
A few years ago, we asked ourselves what would happen if Imperial gave an equal means of developing ideas to everyone – students, researchers, staff, and corporate partners, regardless of backgrounds, disciplines and levels of expertise? Could we foster a new community of inventors and inspire new ways of working together, in an environment where it was safe to experiment? Could we even inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs, create new companies, or explore new paths of research?
The outcome of this was the Advanced Hackspace. Starting as a corner of a workshop in 2014, the Hackspace expanded significantly in 2017 to a site at the Invention Rooms in White City. It now hosts a bio lab, a mechanical workshop, a digital manufacturing studio and electronics lab, and a large coworking and teaching space. Advanced Hackspace demonstrates the potential of university hackspaces and their inclusion as a vital resource in higher education environments.
The emergence of Hackspaces and Makerspaces in the 2000’s have given birth to the titles “Hacker” and “Maker”. The two terms arose from spaces hosting similar communities of like-minded makers and thinkers. These groups believe that equipment and tools should be more readily available and accessible. Traditionally, Hackspaces were born from a collective group of programmers sharing a physical space. Those physical spaces were later developed to house more electronics and design for manufacture equipment to help with more multi-disciplinary, physical projects.
In the context of the Advanced Hackspace, we share this philosophy and want to provide an equal opportunity and space for developing ideas to everyone – students, researchers, staff, and corporate partners, regardless of backgrounds, disciplines and levels of expertise. You’ll have access to our workshops and programmes to help you develop your ideas further.
Advanced Hackspace is an ideal environment for all stages of prototyping, beginning from initial idea validation, where testing is required to determine if a project is worth pursuing, through to complex final prototype development. This encompasses any ideas from development of new research equipment, research projects that need testing in order to spin-out and commercialise, graduate projects that need further development, through to advanced personal projects.
Community & Membership
Enterprise Lab provides support to students seeking to build their entrepreneurial skills or develop their ideas into new ventures through an amazing portfolio of support events, programmes and competitions. Going from idea to potential business venture more often than not requires some prototyping development, first iterations, testing, re-design, iterate, go back to the drawing board, iterate and test again… and that’s where the Hackspace comes in. Since we are both part of Imperial’s Enterprise Division we work together to ensure we introduce and connect each other to interesting projects, people and new ideas that could benefit from our respective support and services.
We encourage any member of the Imperial College community to join Hackspace, inclusive of students, staff, researchers and academics.
Unfortunately we don’t currently offer membership to Imperial alum, but we are working on it! Stay tuned to developments by signing up to our newsletter.
The first step is to visit our Microsoft Team all members of Imperial College have access and can sign up. You can find information about our equipment and inductions and training required in our teams area. You can also ask any questions you might have about your project and book your time in the space.
Membership to Imperial Hackspace is completely free, as long as you are a current Imperial student, member of staff, faculty or researcher. The only payments you might need to make are towards the costs of the consumable materials that you use at the Hackspace. This is usually a low cost, but does depend on quantity and type of materials. You can get an idea of costs in our Microsoft Team area.
We have hundreds of like-minded hackers and inventors on our Microsoft Team. Once you’re a member you will have access to the group and the numerous channels for specific equipment, subject areas, processes, and help. We recommend asking questions on the relevant channels first, as this is often the fastest way to get support. If you require more 1:1 assistance for your specific research or project development, please email us at [email protected] or post a message on our Team. Be specific about the assistance you need and we will direct your questions to the right person who has the expertise in the subject area and field.
Imperial College London IP policy applies to all College employees, and extends to associates and students. Full policy details can be found here.
A plan of work is required to allow us to asses the risk associated with a project. It also gives us an opportunity to make introductions, talk you through your project, and support you on your making journey in an informed and safe way. Plans of work ensure that everyone working in the Hackspace on wide ranging innovative projects are risk assessed and safe. All projects, no matter how simple require you to complete a plan of work. You only have to complete a plan of work once for a project, but if you have multiple projects each one will need a plan of work.
Events & Hosting
Hackspace hosts, designs, and teaches many types of events and workshops. We can work closely with your department, society, or centre to develop an activity. If you’d like to chat about ways in which we can collaborate, please reach out to us at [email protected].
A Hackathon is an event of any duration where people from various backgrounds come together to solve problems or further innovate on existing solutions. There are usually themes to Hackathons in which projects and ideas are confined to solve a particular problem. Some of the Hackathons that we run revolve around prototyping and building physical solutions, while some others may revolve around tangibilising research, disrupting the market, and or just simply developing an idea further.
Our upcoming events and activities are posted on our events page.
General Info & Access
The Advanced Hackspace is located at Imperial College’s White City campus. This has allowed us to create one of the best prototyping workshops available which would not have been possible on the South Kensington Campus. Travel between the campuses is quick and easy with options of shuttle bus, tube, or bicycle.
You can find our opening times here.
Our address is:
Imperial College Advanced Hackspace
68 Wood Lane,
London W12 7RH
We welcome all members of the Imperial College community. There is wheelchair access to both Door A and B and a lift to allow access to the first floor coworking space. Please do inform the Hackspace team if you need additional support, especially if you need assistance evacuating the building in an emergency (PEEP). If you have any specific questions about suitability then please send us an email at [email protected].
Access to bicycle parking is available through the Imperial College bike parking website (select Stadium House). Unfortunately, we do not have parking for cars, except for deliveries and visits by maintenance personnel.
Hackspace houses an electronics & digital manufacturing workshop, a mechanical workshop, a bio lab with adjoining chemical prep room, and a teaching and coworking space. You can find out more by taking a look through our 3D virtual tour of the space.
Hackspace has bookable storage available for your projects. You can arrange booking your project in with a member of staff. We will assign you a box of a suitable size for a 3 month period, after which, if you still require storage, we can rebook for you. If your project is very large and will not fit in any of our storage boxes please let us know and we will see if we can accommodate your project in another way.
We have a large building and see many students during the week, so please speak to a member of staff before having anything delivered to the Hackspace. We’ll likely agree to the occasional large item by arrangement, but in general we’d like you to manage your own procurement as we cannot be liable for missing or damaged deliveries.
Hackspace provides a number of training courses throughout the course of the year, including our LevelUP series of classes and other workshops. The best way to stay informed of new offerings is to sign up to our newsletter or follow us on social media where we announce our new programmes and opportunities.
Imperial staff are able to create guest accounts on specific occasions by visiting the link here.
Tools & Equipment
You can get a good idea of the type of equipment we have by taking a look at our 3D virtual tour. We are a prototyping workshop so we try to ensure we have all of the equipment required for electronic, mechanical and biological prototyping. Generally we can support most projects.
All consumables used at the Hackspace including materials for 3D printers and laser cutters, fixings and fasteners, electronic components, and lab chemicals and plasticware, can be paid for through the HackApp which is found on our Microsoft Team.
For metal: Metal Supermarkets (www.metalsupermarkets.co.uk)
For wood: Moss & Co (www.mosstimber.co.uk)
For plastics: Direct Plastics (www.directplastics.co.uk)
For laser cutter supplies: Hobarts (0333 900 8700 – www.hobarts.com)
For electronic components: RS Components or Cool Components (uk.rs-online.com or www.coolcomponents.co.uk)
We have many different tools and materials in the Hackspace, which we would encourage you to use. If you still would like to use your own please let a member of staff know beforehand so we can make sure you’re safe.
Our suite of 3D printers currently includes 10x UP Minis, 3x Markforged, 2x Ultimaker3, 2x Ultimaker3 Extended, 1x Ultimaker S5, 1x Raise3D N2 Plus, 1 x Prusa, & 3x Form3 printers.