VHS Homework Assignment #1 - Your first visit to VHS


More information about VHS homework assignments

Homework Assignment
Write a reply to this thread describing your first visit to VHS.

You can talk about anything you want. Why you came to VHS in the first place, Who did you meet, What kind of projects were people working on, How did you hear about VHS in the first place, What was good and what was bad. What did you eat or drink

It can be any length and in any format. You can post a youtube video or a picture of a macaroni drawing you made picturing your first visit or a Vogon poetry or just simply a story.

Be creative

Proof of work
The only proof that is required is the reply to this thread by your user.


  • The “The Mysterious Visitor” badge - This badge is given to people that complete VHS Homework Assignment #1
  • Magical, invisible, social credit from the people at VHS, for doing awesome things!

The person with the most “liked” or the “best” story will receive a special prize provided by @funvill. (Probably a mystery dev board) The dev board will be awarded on Oct 11th

[Q] Can it be one word or letter long?
[A] Yes!

[Q] Can I post a movie title that describes my first trip to VHS?
[A] Yes!

[Q] Can I post multiple times?
[A] Yes!, but try and use a different style each time.

[Q] Lies! People are lying about their first visit.
[A] Not against the rules.

[Q] Are you my daddy ?
[A] Gawd I hope not

VHS Homework Assignment #5 - Introduce yourself
Proposed email to old VHS subscribers
About the VHS Homework Assignment category
Deactivating the mailing list and migrating to VHS Talk
Greetings and Fun Admin Ideas


How I heard about VHS

Well back when I was getting in to quadcopters I was searching around for places to fly and people to talk to about them. I found a google group that had a few posts and someone mentioned that VHS was hosting a quadcopter build night.

“What the hell is a ‘VHS’?!”, after some googling I then found out that such a place existed.

It was a bit of a shock to me, after all this time of soldering stuff on my coffee table and doing my woodworking projects on my balcony I realized there is a place I can go to do cool stuff.

The first visit

Looking at the schedule I found out there was an open event - a 3D Printers night. I’ve always had an interest in them but never pulled the trigger in building my own. I came down with a friend and that’s when I finally got to see the space.

Overwhelming is a good word to summarize the experience, just so much to take in all at once.

I didn’t stay too long but at that point I knew it was time to sign up as a member.

Second Visit

I don’t know what day this was but I decided to bring in my hexacopter to work on, this was the first real day coming in without any sort of event. I found it kind of strange, being a somewhat quiet person that is socially awkward at the best of times, working up the courage to ask people about what they are working on was a challenge for me.

@jon then introduced himself and showed me around the place, I think it was my hex that provided the bait. From there I got to meet many other guys and gals and they were all very friendly.

And that’s it!

The only thing that was hard was the first few days. When you are someone socially shy like myself VHS is a pretty intimidating place when people are just doing their thing. Once I got over that and started talking to others about their projects it became easier.

Overall it’s been a great experience and I’ve met some amazing people at the space.

TL;DR; Edition: 1: VHS is awesome 2: If you are shy, be brave, come in, say hello and ask what people are working on.


TL;DR; Dark, piss, stained alley was very intimidating but I am made it to VHS, met awesome people been coming back for 5 years.

I was running a maze solving robot competition in 2008. I was visiting all the different geek clubs I could find around Vancouver to drum up support and people to submit robots. One of the clubs that I visited was BCIT robotics club where I met Dallas (forumer VHS founder and BoD and now Co founder at Maker labs) . He told me about VHS and I should come down sometime to check it out.

At the time VHS was located in the dark piss stained alley behind 45 west hastings. After circling the block a few times trying to find the front entrance I gave up and went home. The next day I talked to people on IRC and they told me that I had to enter via the back door in the alley and if I got lost again I could call the VHS phone number. It took me a few weeks to try again.

My first night at VHS was when Dallas was teaching people about HACK-n-tosh and @lukec was talking about open data (he hadn’t even started https://recollect.net/ yet. @flyingoctopus was talking about buttons and laughing (it was his seconed time being at the space). Austin was talking about web of trust systems and this new thing called BitCoins. Goldfish was installing home made magnetic trip sensor on the front door and connecting it to a parallel port on a computer.

I was hooked, I been back almost every week since then. Amazing people, Amazing times, So many good friends. So much hacking!

VHS Homework Assignment #5 - Introduce yourself

I suppose it all started when I was three years old… That was about the time I [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] [REDACTED] [SPOILERS] but I [SPOILERS] and here I am. A stranger in a strange land filled with poutine and maple syrup. And an absolutely amazing view. Vancouver is such a gorgeous city and I’m so glad it found me.

Alternate timeline answer:

I was at a convention in Orlando and they had a few vendors set up with a contraption that looked a lot like a dentist’s chair. You sat in the chair and whirlygigs spun around your head, not too unlike a dentist’s x-ray machine. Then you paid an obscene amount of money and left. 4-6 weeks later you got a 6" figurine of a superhero of your choice with your face on it. I presumed it was some form of newfangled 3D printing and it had been a while since I looked into the then-new Thing-O-Matic so I caught up on the state of the technology. Which led me to Eugene, Sublime, and @LoialOtter and their respective ventures; and in turn to VHS and 3D604 and all the amazing things people were doing here in Vancouver. I bought one of Sublime’s last Tantillus frame kits before his move, got all the parts rounded up, get the build about 90% done and scurried off after some other shiny new project. I leave it sitting on my desk to mock me every night.

The first time I dropped into 45W I had my wife wait in the car in the alley… just in case. That place really was scuzzy for those who didn’t have the pleasure. But I fell in love with the energy and the atmosphere of the room. It was such a quaint firetrap up three flights of kindling. It was the garage workshop I always wanted; complete with stranger sleeping on the couch. I specifically remember the MAME cabinet and the Goonies-style key winch setting the tone for how I would perceive the space. And the “Things I’ve seen in the Alley” tally/score sheet next to the window. If you don’t know what it was, you are likely better off that way.


I’d bought a makey makey a few years before and knew I wanted to get more into electronics but wasn’t sure where to start. I’d lurked on the VHS website for quite a while. Then one night I decided to head down to the space (it was at Abbot and Hastings at the time). I loved the key winch and colourful alley folk. I didn’t find it super sketchy…just slightly sketchy.

The first time I went down was an open night…but no one was there! Curses.This was slightly discouraging but I came back the next Tuesday and had a great time.

When I walked in for the first time it was a little overwhelming. I was also the only woman in the space. Initially it felt quite weird and I wasn’t sure if I belonged. But soon I realized that I fit in as a geek/hacker/maker and that’s all that matters. People were very encouraging to me and I realized that being a self starter I could make anything and get the help I needed here.

On the next visit a mad physicist named Simon taught me how to solder. Then I attended a TV-B-Gone workshop which was excellent. I came home with my own hand-built universal remote control and turned off a few televisions in my neighbourhood. Thus my quest for electronics power began. I realized all the potential of VHS and all the things you could make.

I also started messing around with conductive paint and building tiny paper houses with photocells in the chimneys so that when light levels dim a little light inside the house turns on. People really liked those and I got lots of encouragement from members.

Then I moved on to SMD soldering tiny little circuits which is so fun and spent loads of time soldering badge boards as part of Richard and Tom’s crazy team of board

Now when stuff I own breaks down I take it apart and fix it. So far I have rebuilt my laptop including resoldering the board, taken apart and repaired my dishwasher, fixed a sewing machine, playstation controllers and other stuff. I’ve gotten into linux and there are still tons of things I want to do with arduinos, RGBs, and also, build a cat robot. I also have fun knitting socks and teaching people how to knit tiny shotglass coasters.

This is all possible at VHS. The space has been great to me. I’d love to see more women come out to space. Trust me when I say, you belong here.

I’ve met lots of interesting guys and gals who make things at VHS. Don’t be shy - it is a wonderful place to be.

Tell me a VHS story

Fairly mundane story for me. I came across the VHS website which always had interesting workshops and talks posted on the events calendar. I finally braved the back alley at 45W and checked out one of the super happy hacker open houses. A cool spot, interesting people, (The VHS space not the alley) and also discovered there was a laser cutter.

I didn’t actually make it back and become a member until a year later at which point VHS was now in the new and vastly improved bunker! So far I’ve taken a few SMD workshops from Tom, played around the 3D printers for a bit when Andrew and Dan were initially working on them and I’ve done a bunch of Laser cut paper artwork.

One of the projects that I’ve been thinking about making is to make a low pressure water jet cutter for soft material like clay so I can ‘cut’ my paper art designs into clay and then fire and glaze them.

Oh btw LUKE I AM YOUR FATHER! :wink:


I had been tangentially aware of VHS for a while, but between the location and the timing not working well, had never made it down to check it out.

Then I stumbled on a reddit post that VHS had moved and was having an open house. I came down, had a burger, and sat and chatted with a few people (I recall Luke, not sure who else?). It seemed like my kind of crowd, so I ordered the parts for a project that I had been putting off due to lack of tools (my first multi-rotor!) and started coming down.


My first visit was at the old location - I survived the alley and someone lowered the keys. I discovered an amazing space that included part quantities “a Buttload of capacitors” and an upcoming Arduino forum the next week. Loved it!!


Since funvill challenged me to answer, and I’ve been around a long time,
here is my collection of how I came to VHS, and some of my early history
with it.

Before The Bunker,
Before 45W top floor,
Before 45W 2nd floor,
was us making use of space at The Hackery…

Set the date back to September 2008.
The venue is one of the little theatres on Granville Island, as part of
BarCamp 2008.

infil00p gave a talk on hackerspaces, and pitched the idea of a
hackspace in Vancouver; he’d recently been to Germany and see their
awesome spaces.

I think a month or two month after that, I dropped into the open-night,
upstairs at the Emma’s Hackery (later The Hackery, back when Free Geek
and The Hackery were mostly still the same organization).

I think I brought a pack of beer, and enjoyed discussing many things
that evening.

Luke’s VanTrash (now reCollect, our successful decelerated startup) was
brand new then. It helped me remember my trash day far more regularly.

See pg 65 of “Hackerspaces@The Beginning” [1] some of the few photos I
know of our temporary first space; also to see how some of our founding
members have changed in their looks (hint: we have a lot less hair).

I’ve been hosting the mailing lists and website since approximately
October 2009. infil00p hosted them before me, but was moving his stuff
to the cloud, and we didn’t want the lists and site to be in the US.
My co-located server (speedracer) has always been in the Lower Mainland,
so it was ideal.

Prior to 2011, my dues were hosting our website & lists on that server.
It’s the same one I hope to decommission soon (I built it in early
2007). Colo fees have more than doubled in that time, over $200/month
now, and the hardware isn’t getting newer (the IPMI card failed
mid-2013, so emergency management requires visiting it now). I haven’t
had any paying clients to even partially offload the costs for more than
a year either.

According to my Paypal history, I’ve also been paying with Paypal since
May 2011, to the money@hackspace.ca address; I know before that I was
paying some cash, but I think there was a while we used the Hackery’s
account too; before that, but as I note most of my due were in via that

In the early years, there were a lot more group purchases for fun
stuff, all above and beyond our membership dues, and I kicked in for all
of these:

  • USRP v1
  • Our first 3D printer
  • RFID dongles (the workshop I did).
  • Laser Cutter

Funnily, I’ve never gone and done our laser training, or printed
anything on any of our 3D printers. They were just cool to have around,
and I thought I’d have free time ™ to use them.

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/139401452/Hackerspaces-The-Beginning#page=65


Interesting expedition downtown to into the lane behind Save_on_Meats joined later by my son Ben who should/could/would have been followed by his mother - if only she had known where the place was!!
Have two great pics of the lane at night to share but as a new member here cannot upload.
Wish I had known of this shared resource 15 years ago.


VHS First Impressions Haiku

I first came to the
VHS to fix my 3D printer
on a Tuesday night.

I met Dan Royer, the
first time. He was nice, friendly
welcoming and kind.

I heard about VHS through
a girlfriend of mine who came
to visit before.

I had lots of things
in common with the members;
interests/ hobbies.

On my first visit,
I liked the key on the fish
rod to get in space.

But I felt awkward
waiting in the alley with
my 3D printer

About the VHS Homework Assignment category

After a long time of planning to come over, I finally did it last week, and boy am I glad!

I didn’t know what to expect of the visit, but the space and the community took me down the memory lane to the time when I was in elementary school (somewhere in Eastern Europe). At that time, I joined a roleplaying games club in my hometown. It had this community of people who all shared the same passion, and was very DIYish (that was how things were done back then, because money.) Anyway, going there and being a part of the whole thing remained a very fond memory to me.
Fast forward to last week, I’m entering this hack space in Vancouver through the garage door and the moment I get to the main area, I have to roll a saving throw against heavy nostalgia. Success! Whew! The atmosphere feels instantly familiar. I spend the entire tour just nodding and smiling and dropping a question here and there. Despite being told that people of VHS are usually anti-social, everyone I spoke to seemed happy to interact and was very helpful! (Thank you, humans whose names I’ve yet to learn!)

I finally have a place where I can go and get motivated about finishing my little (and big) spare-time projects! Yay VHS!

A way shorter summary of the experience would be: LASERS! GEEKS! NOSTALGIA! (in no particular order)


It was a dark and stormy night. I had done some Arduino development, but was on a search. A search for like-minded nerds who might have other ideas what to do with this stuff. I parked on the dark street in east van. I hid my few visible valuables in the trunk. I walked over to where the single lightbulb swung, dimly illuminating a vhs logo. I walked in. There were already 3 or 4 geeks there around the table. They looked up. Joe tilted his head. “You must be Dave,” he declared. How could he know that? I hadn’t joined, I didn’t email ahead. Hell, I didn’t even know I was going to go until I plucked up my courage that night. “How do you know who I am?” I asked, mystified. He pointed to the box of parts I was carrying. The label said “Dave”.


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

It is a period of confusion as one lone rebel has been working hard to assemble the ultimate secret weapon - a theremin kit he bought online. Hearing tales of a rogue electronics club VHS, located in the downtown east sector, the rebel made the perilous journey, only to find the spies moving from their secret base in the second floor (coordinates 45 West), to an even LARGER secret base on the third floor (also coordinates 45 West). By the end of the parsec (roughly 4 hours) the new base was established, and an arrangement was made to review the secret plans to the theremin at a later point in time.

Over the following weeks and months, Obi Wan Brown and his bowtie (not as clumsy as a necktie. An elegant accouterment for a more civilized age) taught the rebel much of the secret knowledge of the ways of the force - several different forces in fact. Despite the operation of many sinister agents through the galaxy, the new knowledge gained by the rebel proved to be enough power to build and destroy an entire motor shield.

The secret weapon still resides in another rebel strong hold (my closet), waiting for the day when it will be completed, and probably restore freedom to the galaxy…


In fall of 2012, I started hearing about these things called “hackspaces”.
A quick search for something local turned up this page, but other than that, frustratingly little information. What did VHS look like? Why was the wiki so shitty? What kind of tools, equipment, or people did it contain? Why was it located on Hastings? Didn’t they know that was dangerous?
I did turn up a very shaky video of trip down the alley and the location of the doorbell.

Some time later that winter, I was walking past that area with some friends, whiskey in hand.
“Hey, there’s a thing I want to check out nearby,” I said.
“Don’t step in that puddle,” They replied, pointing at a homeless gentleman that was relieving himself off to the side of the alleyway.
With skeptical looks, and every bit as wobbley as the video I’d seen (whiskey, remember), we headed off into the alley. I found the door and hit the bell.

Instead of the door opening as we were expecting, a tremendous CRASH rang out above. All three of us leapt back and looked for the source of the noise.
“Hello!” Said a friendly-looking silhouette above. It was holding a fishing rod.

We said our hellos, and used the key that was lowered down (on the fishing rod) to open the door.

After walking up the stairs to the sound of the fishing rod being reeled back in, we stepped into the main room.
“Welcome! Take a wheel!” Said someone inside.
He gestured vaguely towards a box full of what appeared to be wheelchair wheels, and then turned his attention back towards the far wall.

We looked around and took stock. The room, despite being tiny, was jammed packed full of people, most of them sitting or crouching and listening to a woman talking animatedly about bedbugs.

That was my first VHS experience, and my first Super Happy Hacker House. It was a very surreal night.

Shortly after that, I started working on the road almost all of the time, and the next time I visited VHS was October/November 2013, less than a year ago.


My friend Lyle brought me to the old space for Happy Hacker night. I remember it being much more crowded than the new spot. The first time I went to the new space, I was taking a break from a nearby “Electronic Music Enthusiast Late Night Gathering” at Open Studios ( http://sequentialcircus.ca ) and wandered over with some friends visiting from the Bay Area around midnight, happy to find the doors open and people busily tinkering.


I never went to the old hackspace, although I heard about it.

I think it was Adam Barlev who invited me to come visit at hackspace, but I’m not sure.

I’m always humbled by the diversity of intelligence at vhs, so I go to learn, and to ‘make a contraption’.


I blame Loial for making me aware of VHS.
The details are hazy, but somehow I got the name of this organization that Loial was all excited about: the Vancouver Hack Space. He mentioned something about someone having to lower a key to unlock the door to get in… that intrigued me enough to find their website, which had their address, which I gave to Google Maps to find out where to go. There was a video showing a walk down a sketchy downtown alley…
So one day in April of 2012, I ventured downtown, found the address on Hastings St., walked around the buildlings and into the alley. But which door was it? Crows… the video said look for the crows… and there on the door was painted a crow or two. I pushed the doorbell button, and a few seconds later I heard a voice from above, from someone poking his head out of a 3rd storey window, asking me why I was there. I called up, “I’m looking for the Vancouver Hack Space!”. “Hold on a second!” answered the voice, and then a key descended on a thin steel cable from a hand-cranked pulley. I opened the latch on the door with it, opened the door, and let go of the key, which was again raised to the window from whence it came. I went up a twisty flight of stairs in the old building, along a short hallway, then up a longer flight of stairs to
the top floor. There was a door open to the right, so I went through, and I was amazed.

The space resonated with me; Loial and the rest of the usual suspects were there to greet me, and all the electronics parts and cables strewn along the walls and benches made it feel like home. I explored the parts bins, seeing a lot of familiar faces part numbers. The ■■■■■■■■ was busy printing something. I was hooked. A few weeks later I joined as a member, and the rest, as they say, is history.

  • William -


I came to an open house at 45W in 2010, helped build a wooden desk, and met some excellent like-minded explorers. I’ve been lurking on the mailing list ever since.