The central notion of the “Do It Yourself” movement is that people from all walks of life can innovate on and create useful items and inventions for themselves and others. Still, people need tools, space, and a bit of support to make truly interesting things, and that's where institutions like Pumping Station One come in.
Located on 3519 Elston Avenue, Pumping Station One was founded as a 'hackerspace', a community resource for people interested in creative technological activities, whether writing computer programs, 3D printing, or assembling electronics. It doubles as a social space, where creative individuals can work together, exchange ideas, get advice, or (most importantly) just hang out.
It is also a space for hosting events, ranging from weekly game nights to the more recent demonstration of the new Isis One 3D printer, made by the Isis 3D company, as well as a knitting lab organized by local painter and activist Shellie Lewis, in which participants made blankets and dolls.
Divided into two floors, Pumping Station has a computer and media center/bar, a construction space, and a work lab for electronics design. The construction space has paper printers and cutters, sewing machines, a Makerbot Replicator, and a custom 3D Printer called the Lulzbot, custom made using designs from the open source website Rep-Rap. The electronics lab is professionally laid out, with ceiling based power trips, bins full of sorted tools, and components. Old devices line walls and shelves: oscillators, computer parts, and the results of in progress or abandoned projects.
Little features scattered all over the building's interior reveal both the interests and activities of the people who work in this hackerspace. There is a door with a nuclear hazard symbol and the icon of the Fallout boy from the hit series of games. A chalkboard coats the side of a stairwell, covered with multicolored sketches and comments. The gear-like star symbol of Pumping Station One itself is worked and etched into the bar-top, the walls, and other various surfaces.
The exit of the building is even rigged up with an electric light that glows whenever the back door is open, reminding people to lock up the place when they're the last one out.
Pumping Station One, as a hackerspace, is not only a place for people to express their creativity, but also a product of their creativity, a stationary 'DIY' project both useful and artistic in it's own right.