We are a special interest group of the Ham United Group. This enables us to leverage their existing CIC structure, gives us the visibility in the local community, and get on with making.
We are a group of individuals some members of the Ham United Group some just members of the Richmond Makerlabs community.
Since this is a community project it makes sense to encourage and use "Free as in Freedom" software and open hardware. We aim to document all our projects so that others can benefit from our projects.
We are also a group of people that care about the environment so we would like to repair things to reduce WEEE waste and provide value.
Following the 4 R principle:
- Reduce waste. If you cannot do that,
- Repair it. If not,
- Reuse the stuff in a different way, if that fails then, and only then,
- Recycle the item.
Paul Gibson wanted to have a Hackerspace nearer to Kingston Upon Thames so he created a meetup page to try to catch other people interested. This prompted the creation of the KingsofHack group.
Andrés Muniz was a member of the Ham United Group (HUG). He had seen that some fairly big projects had come out of this Community Interest Company and wanted to help out with something. He submitted a project proposal called DIY Computers (later re-branded to Computers and DIY). The approach was to help people with their computers but using a DIY approach and only using and recommending Free as in Freedom Software. This was done in Little House.
Paul and Andres met each other in the first meeting of the Kings Of Hack group. There Andres said that he had some space to do some hacking just as long as this was to help the community: offering technical help and doing community based projects.
The Ham United Group directors considered this a great idea and little house soon became busy. The name of the group changed to Kingston Makerlabs to follow the trend that we made things not only hacked things. Also with an emphasis on the "s" in labs to leave it open for a network with schools.
The group grew to a significant size within the Meetup web page but Paul Gibson soon had some server space that he could manage where we got a mailing group and this wiki. This meant Paul could stop paying the fees and Andres was a little more relaxed about the fact that we where using non-free as in freedom software.
The group then decided (after much debate) to change the name to Richmond Makerlabs since Ham is in Richmond Council. (Ham MakerLabs sounded like a butchery and there was already one in Ham Parade).
Paul Gibson sadly moved away from Kingston but still has a lot of ties to the group and has promised to come by. He is still an administrator for the wiki, mailing list and server. He no longer owns the domain name: richmond.ml but it still points to our web pages.
Thanks to Dan for registering the domain richmondmakerlabs.uk