VHS Homework Assignment #1 - Your first visit to VHS


I wish I could remember any real details - it was that long ago, and clearly my memory isn’t nearly as good as that of robbat, Funvill, or ninetynien. It was the second floor of 45W, and felt very “cozy”, in that I-can’t-move-and-am-afraid-to-stand-up-straight kind of way. I have no recollection of how I found the space, nor who was there and what happened that fateful night… I swear.


I work at a large company that builds cranes and every couple of months they would throw away lot’s of perfectly good (often brand new) stuff. We would often receive cranes, and there were optional hoses, fittings, connectors, sensors, you name it, plus we would often replace or upgrade cranes and the old components (which were often in decent shape) all of which would be put in a large bin and then recycled or thrown out.

I had never heard of a hackspace or a makerspace, but I was wondering if there were a way to put these parts to good use instead of just trashing them. So I did a Google search and discovered Hackspaces, and wouldn’t you know it, there was one in Gastown!

My first night out scared the hell out of me, don’t get me wrong, I love the new space. But there was something about that alley that felt like initiation. You had to really want to be there to go looking for the door with the buzzer and the key that came down via string.

Anyway, I only ever spent one night in the old space as I discovered the VHS only a few months before the move. I loved what you guys were doing, but I live and work out in Langley and I’ve got kids. So making the trek out was difficult to do on a regular basis.

So in April, myself and 4 other like minded individuals started the Fraser Valley Makerspace. You guys probably didn’t know that your Hackspace made a Makerspace? Had I not met you guys/gals I don’t think we would have had the idea, let alone the motivation.

Since then you’ve helped out with our bylaws, insurance, and you’ve even donated some tools. Thanks for all of that!

We’ll be out at SHH33 and we’re looking forward to meeting more of you, if you’re ever out in the Valley on a Thursday or Friday night come by, the coffee is awesome.

Fraser Valley Makerspace


I remember my introduction to VHS and my first trip there quite well still.

I was working on a project, a costume… which i still haven’t finished, but that’s another story… I had just got a quote back from one of the local plastic companies for a design I had cooked up for the tail and the price was well above what I had budgeted for and so was looking for alternatives. At the same time I was doing some contract work for Elia over at Great Northern Way Scene Shop and took a few minutes break to look for alternative methods. That’s when I found out about 3d printers. So… knowing about the hackery and figuring they might know something about repraps, I headed over there (cutting my day short because when I get excited and distracted, well, no work can get done) and they pointed me to VHS’s website where I found out about the open night that night (it was a tuesday).

I then went off to tinseltown to find some food as I was still a little early and it’s amazing long an hour can feel when you’re really really really wanting to go somewhere. So I waited only 45 minutes of it then rushed over to try and find the place.

Unfortunately I hadn’t really paid much attention to the directions in finding the place so I ended up looking for it on the front side of the street, then the alley for a bit, and happened to spot someone being let in from a distance which clued me into where it was. I rang the wrong buzzer, then the right one, waited and looked around for the voice that called down to me. A key was lowered to my bewilderment and I unlocked the door on the third or fourth try then headed up. To say I was distracted and a little excited so I spent another five minutes perplexed on the middle floor. Finally someone came to the hall and called me upstairs proper.

What happened next probably made me look a little insane as I couldn’t really spend time greeting and meeting people. Two hours I spent peering at everything in the space, looking through all the cool stuff and being shown the mame cabinet, electronics parts, weird contraptions and everything. I’m still amazed I didn’t notice the elevator gears for more than a month with how much I was looking at everything. I was enthralled.

Once that cleared up a bit I finally started talking to people which I’ve learned since then is a far greater resource and part of VHS than anything it might have as tools or components.

As they may say, the rest is history… and the ■■■■■■■■ still needs fixing… and the costume still isn’t done…


3 or 4 years back I was doing an electronics project - trying to read the temperature of a lake and post it on a website in near real time. I found a kit from Tux Graphics which introduced me to the AVR microprocessor, which led me to the Arduino, which led me to VHS. I visited the old space on Hastings for an introduction to Arduino night and immediately like the vibe and sense of community in the place - and also the vast amount of electronic components. Started coming down to the new space on Tuesday open nights and became a member earlier this year.


I had heard about VHS off and on for a year or more but it wasn’t until last Christmas, sitting at home wondering how to reacquire a life in 2014 after several years of school and a baby, that I decided to look it up and get on the mailing list. The first event announcement that came my way was a board game development night. I called up a friend who is really, really into games and we came down. It was at the new space and I feel like I missed some special rite of passage not having done the pee and the key, but then I’ve been in my share of sketchy alleys waiting to get into after hours clubs in my twenties so I’ll consider those “experiences in lieu of”. At any rate, it was a super fun night. I’ll never forget Cluethulu.


My first visit is lost in the mists of time. Some say I was here and they built the space around me. Some are liars.
Mostly I’m posting here coz I like getting badges. It’s the boy scout in me. The one I had surgically implanted, right between my dorsal fin and the venom sacs.


It was the last March open house in 2013… I think I first came in the week before the Raspberry Pi evening. I had barely scratched the surface of Vancouver, and yet, by suggestion of Derek Anderson, I made it from what feels like all the way from Killarney to Stadium and then through Abbot Street to West Hastings. Remembering that the entrance was in the back alley, I passed the pot smokers standing outside of the pub on the corner and entered the darkness, the unknown. Looking for the door, I heard noise coming from upstairs and if I recall correctly found a VHS sticker on the door. Press the door bell, not hearing anything, pressing it again… until I heard a voice coming from the window… The key being winched down. No, a little bit more line please! There! Got it! The key got hoisted up again. Enter the door. No one…no signs… Well, they were up there! Up the stairs I go then! Hmm, still nothing…better follow the noise! More stairs… Ah! A door! I recall saying something like “I come in peace!”, a few heads turning, replying a brief hi before people got back to what they were working on. Dumping my jacket and backpack by the couches at the front of the space, I finally had a moment to take it all in and saw a familiar sight, part my room and part labs I had seen in The Netherlands, but filled with activity and awesome people!

I can’t recall if it was that time, or 2 weeks later, but I helped Dan redo the wiring for one of the MakerBots and helped put in labeling as well. I only signed the waiver at the Raspberry Pi night, because IIRC Fishboy was getting everyone to sign it if they hadn’t already. The first people I really talked to were Dan, Goldfish, Miriam, Matthew (Lai), Inez and Janet.

The rest…well…is pretty much history.

One notable thing is… I did the majority of packing the bench PSUs; my back still hates me for that :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m pretty sure I was just trying to go to Save on Meats for dinner, but Funvill was like, “Nooooo, come to the hackspace, I have a project to finish up, and I can show you all of our cool toys.”

The alley, with its sketchy appearance and smells of various wastes creeped me out that first time, but now I feel sort of… nostalgic for it.


My first time was also at the old downtown place. I saw the how-to-get-there video and successfully made it in my first try. I have no recollection of what awesome things went down that night, but since I’m pretty shy I probably walked around and wondered at all the labelled boxes, overheard some interesting conversations, and left.

A couple of months later my sister and her husband were in town and while walking in gastown I decided to take them to the hackspace. I remembered that it was one of the alleys near Abbot and Hastings, but my dice roll failed and we went through the SW one instead of NE. It got really sketchy. Two dudes came out to aggresively ask what we were doing there, my sister was pretty sketched out despite my insistence that Canada was not like back home, we were cool. Eventually a sort of head gangster came out and in not uncertain terms told us we were in the wrong spot, and we should leave right away. We did, found the right alley, and ran into funny people doing 3d printing and soldering tiny things.

I went back a few times, Dan eventually sold me one of his v1.0 Makelangelos, I saw the talk by the Raspberry pi dude, and one day learned about the change to the new space. I understand the nostalgia about the old place, they key on a string was great, the whole mystery place vibe. I’ll say though that the new space is amazing, right on my favorite bike route, close to the breweries, the climbing gyms (one of these days…), and good icecream just a couple of blocks away.


Went to 45 W Hastings looking for some help with the Arduino UNO that I just had purchased at Lee’s. Raymond of Lees suggested VHS as a great resource with Arduino-knowledgable people. Got the grand tour by Ninety Nein. Came back the following week with a Playstation3 displaying the “Yellow Light of Death”. Within minutes had help from about 6 people (and an audience of many others) in taking apart the playstation to reflow the solder on the main board. A couple of hours later and we had the playstation working! Unfortunately it only worked for another 3 weeks before the dreaded YLOD came on again. But, I was hooked, the camaraderie, the collaboration amongst complete strangers. I found the members, for the most part, to be friendly and respectful (even when attempting to kick out a non-respectful, rude, personification of a dick, person). The move to the bunker had its own surprises.



@Miriam VHS First Impressions Haiku is the winner of the mysterious dev board for the best submission by likes. Everyone that participates get a “The Mysterious Visitor” badge. You can still participates in this thread and receive the badge.

The mysterious dev board is a APC 8750 A bicycle for your mind.

Check out the next homework assignment for a change to win a different mysterious dev board.


My first visit to VHS was at the old space off of Abbott Street. I thought the key being reeled down was something out of a Batman movie (was impressed :)). It was just a regular night, not a SHHH, but I thought it was super cool. I think I played some video games and looked around. Steven was an awesome host as usual and showed me some cool stuff that people were working on. I was glad I didn’t go or leave alone, that alley was sketch! The old place had it’s charms, but the new place certainly seems a lot more safe :wink:


First assignment from Neo:

I first came to VHS in late Spring, soon after it moved from old location. It was an interesting place, certainly the one that cognition wondered around. My first impression was too many things, too many tools, and too many electronic devices, a bit of mess. People were friendly. I was immediately introduced to space and undergone safety orientation. I met Dan who told me about computer. Ty spilled his coffee on his PC and, I had to educate him not to drink around electronics. He did not listen any way. Soon I got familiar with the important new politic called Doocracy. It was new location for VHS; though, it was certainly the space seen before, including the stairs, the laser room, the faceless peg man, the machines and the people, more than you know.

I was interested in 3D printers at that time. They were the reason I came at first place; though, not a single 3D printer worked at that time. It was OK though because, I soon discovered new way of making my thing.

I have to say I heard of VHS from secret press, from open source on cable TV channel…


I became aware of the VHS at the 2012 Vancouver Mini Maker Faire where I met and talked at length to Dallas about the possibility of Nokia donating equipment and phones to VHS. My first visit to the VHS was a week or two after the Maker Faire. I attended a Tuesday open house at 45W and was immediately blown away by the people I met and the enthusiasm they showed both for their individual projects and the VHS. I was also drawn in by the incredible number of people named Steve that were VHS members at the time and figured that was a sign that I belonged at the VHS. I became a member that night.



I suppose it’s ok to bump if there are so few topics.
I must have heard about VHS while volunteering at freegeek and asking about circuit bending or something.
It took a long time to get around to participating I don’t live in Vancouver so I need a multi-purpose mission to bring me to the city.
I found out if the space was open with the special url, picked up a waiver, and remarked that the MAME cab probably deserves better controls.

Ah onto overdue assignment 2, I’ve got a really good one, even if it takes a whole season to get around to it.


Just returned from my first trip to VHS. I join in December while the space was in a packing/moving/limbo state. Regrettably did not get a chance to help with the moving, but I did pitch in tonight. Things are still in chaos from the move, but it was great to see the energy of the community to get the space in order.

Looking forward to coming regularly, meeting more people and participating in many of interesting workshops.


My first visit to VHS, at the Ever-Loved 45W location, was the Raspberry Pi Meetup, first one I think. Blinkenlites FTW!

At the time I was using both a plug-in and battery setup for the pi, as well as a teeny car-reverse-camera screen.

I’ll never forget the sketchiness of ringing for a key, and watching it being lowered down from the heavens. The Key-Drop should be integrated into all VHS-entries! :wink:


I suppose better late than never though whenever someone says that to me I answer “says who” in my head…
I have been lurking on the list since just before VHS moved to 45W (as I recall but it’s a bit foggy)
My first VHS visit was to 45W for a Laser Spirograph (I think that was what it was called) workshop that Karl put on. Don’t remember how I got in but I do remember the laneway…

Found it very interesting but didn’t really have the time to get more involved till recently…
And two moves later…