There's plenty of room for creativity at Unallocated Space. Just don't ask for names - Technical.ly Baltimore

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May 6, 2015 11:52 am

There’s plenty of room for creativity at Unallocated Space. Just don’t ask for names

The makerspace, located near BWI in Anne Arundel County, isn't big on rules.

Some of the many pieces of equipment at Unallocated Space. Hack away.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Just a couple of miles from BWI, a nondescript storefront in Severn houses a hive of activity. Unallocated Space serves as a center for making and events. The canvas is blank, and members of the tech community are free to fill it.

Technical.ly Baltimore recently got a tour of Unallocated Space. Our tour guide, one of the space’s lead organizers, would only give his name as Forgotten (it’s even on his business cards). Walking into the space, a smattering of donated found objects indicate that it’s home to a community that can work with an array of tools.

A workspace at Unallocated Space. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

A workspace at Unallocated Space. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

While one member stood showing a visitor the space’s 3D printer, there’s also ample evidence that it doesn’t need the latest technology to thrive.

“Our goal is to have a community of tech-interested individuals who want to share,” said Forgotten. “We take any opportunity to get involved in the community, and teach and have fun.”

The space started more than four years ago with eight guys sitting around and talking about making a hackerspace. For the most part, those members aren’t involved anymore. But the space continues to thrive.

Considering the proximity to Fort Meade, many of the members are in information security, Forgotten said. But he said there aren’t many questions about where people work. When inside the space, the focus is on the projects.

“The original founders had the idea that rules stifle creativity,” Forgotten said, adding that they’ve tried to keep that attitude.

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The all-volunteer space hosts events on most weeknights that cater to the broad interests represented. There’s a class about ham radio, a class about Arduino, a class about web development and even a lock-picking night. Each Wednesday night, there’s an open house at 7 p.m.

On May 23, the space will host a “minicon,” where people can come to share their projects with brief presentations.

If they’re not at the space on weekends, members are usually representing at area conferences like RobotFest or the Collegiate Cyber Defense Conference.

And, of course, there have been plenty of side projects, and even Nerf fights.

The inside of this Ms. Pac-Man game was gutted to make way for close to 1,000 games.

They’ve rigged up a sensor that indicates when the space is open.

And then there’s the Fire Tornado.

Using 12 fans and a lot of fuel, the hackers created a towering vortex of flame. On the internet, it has become a sort of claim to fame. This video has more than 6 million views on YouTube:

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Stephen Babcock

Stephen Babcock is Market Editor for Technical.ly Baltimore and Technical.ly DC. A graduate of Northeastern University, he moved to Baltimore following stints in New Orleans and Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Baltimore Fishbowl, NOLA Defender, NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune and the Rio Grande Sun.

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