[hackerspaces] One Lightsaber Per Child

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[hackerspaces] One Lightsaber Per Child

William Macfarlane
Dear friends, comrades, hackers, punks, makers, weirdoes, etc:  please spread the word as far and wide as you consider reasonable, given the request/news.

Parts and Crafts Presents: One Lightsaber Per Child

We are excited to finally be offering DIY light[emitting-diode] saber kits for sale again after a very long hiatus.  At the moment these kits are primarily available for purchase at Parts and Crafts in Somerville, but a limited number are available mail-order through our “Give One, Get One” program.  Every kit purchased through this program goes towards funding a free lightsaber building workshop with one of our partner Somerville community organizations.

To purchase a light[emitting-diode]saber kit for pick-up, or through the “Give One, Get One” program, visit our store -- store.partsandcrafts.org

All of our instructions are open source projects licensed under the CERN Open Hardware License, version 1.2 which is available here -- http://www.ohwr.org/documents/294

Printed instructions for kit assembly come with the kit, but a digital version is available here -- https://partsandcrafts.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Lightsaber-Instruction-Pamphlet.indd_.pdf

The kit contains a number of pieces that we have manufactured or prepared in some way, but they are all relatively simple to acquire and make.  Instructions for making all of the kit components yourself (as well as some design notes) can be found here -- https://partsandcrafts.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Howtomakealightsaberkit.pdf

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Give One, Get One?

Parts and Crafts is running a fundraiser.  We're historically very very bad at running fundraisers, historically very very bad at accessing money or resources that aren't obviously self-made.

The truth is that we're bad at asking for things.  Mostly we're bad at asking for permission, but we're also bad at asking for help (perhaps largely because the many uses of money blur the line between the two.)

But I'm asking now.  If you buy a lightsaber kit at the give-one-get-one price, you are not only getting a pretty sweet holiday gift for you and yours, you're also giving a kid who wouldn't otherwise get the chance to do so, the experience of building and having something awesome that they've made for themselves.

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Why do I care??

Well, I think we're doing something cool.  And I think we're doing something that many of you agree is cool.  And good-for-the-world.  Something that should exist and that there should be more of.  

We run a hackerspace for kids and their friends.  We run an alternative-to-school for kids who find themselves in persistent disagreement and conflict with the structures of traditional schooling.  We run a drop-in, free community open-shop every Saturday for anyone, kid or grown-up, who wants to come visit and make something and use our tools and ask for our help.  We host the Somerville Tool Library -- a lending-library for commonly used hand and power tools.  We run afterschool programs and school-vacation camps for kids, all on a sliding-scale from free to slightly-expensive where we offer kids our particular combination of tools, advice, expertise, and autonomy, and encourage them to be as awesome as possible.  We act as an event space for grown-ups -- we run periodic bike repair nights and crypto-parties and random other interesting events.

We do all of these things with little-to-no institutional/grant support -- we fund our programs by asking that people pay for them if they can (and asking that they come to them for free if they can't afford to pay.)  And we fund our programs by asking ourselves to work long and hard and be paid richly in good-feelings and having-access-to-cool-things, and having a sense of ownership of your job and your purpose in life, but somewhat poorly in actual-currency (which the landlords around these parts still demand, unfortunately.)

It's hard to run programs for free when you don't have any money.  And it's difficult to push really hard on making sure people who don't have any money know about your programs, and know that they can come to them at little-to-no-cost when you're looking at the spreadsheet trying to figure out how the negative numbers and positive numbers can sum to zero.  

We run fundraisers to make this part easier for us -- we run fundraisers so that we can do the outreach to low-income communities we need to do to make our work optimally meaningful without needing to worry too much about how much this outreach will affect our fiscal solvency.

So if you can support us, thank you, thank you very much.  Our work isn't possible without friends and helpers and generosity.  And if you can't, well, we understand carry on and stay awesome and do your best.

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