Alternatives to the Vancouver Hackspace.

20 minute read

Vancouver Hackspace (VHS) used to be a place where people could ask questions and get help with their projects while helping out others. Now new people asking questions, at best, get ignored and worst ridiculed. After 2015 the Vancouver Hackspace the board of directors ( names removed ) as well as a few other members ( names removed ) created a toxic environment that destroyed the existing community that took years to create.

Good, energetic, people will succeed anywhere. VHS is a handicap that prevents even good people from achieving success. Your projects will wither and die at VHS.

I used to have pride in being a VHS member, but now I am ashamed to have been a part of that group.

Links to others peoples similar posts.

This is a list of the alternatives to The Vancouver Hackspace (VHS) as well as a collection of resources. Pull requests greatly appreciated.


Physical spaces

  • Maker Labs - A 26,000sf maker space that provides better, sharper, tools. 3D printers, CNC, multiple laser cutters, plasma cutter, shopbot, Sewing Machine, etc… , ,
  • VIVO media Arts - VIVO has been in Vancouver since 1973. Public programming includes events, workshops, exhibitions, residencies, co-productions, critical forums. , ,
  • Van Community Lab - Vancouver Community Laboratory (1907 Triumph Street), a 7,000-square-foot huge wood, and metal shop. They run Workshops every so often. ,
  • WePress - A Vancouver Downtown Eastside Community Makerspace. 3D printers, Workshops, Sewing Machine, etc…, ,
  • Fraser Valley Makerspace - Fraser Valley Makerspace (4612 216 Street, 2nd floor) 1200 sq ft with all the DIY tools that you would ever want. 3D printers, Workshops, etc… ,
  • Zen Makerlab - Zen Maker space (272 East 1st Street)- 3D printers, CNC, multiple laser cutters, and lots of workshops. ,
  • Maker Cube - Arduino, Robots, VEX, 3d printers, PCB printing, and a meeting space for a lot of different groups. ,
  • The Egg Arts Foundation - The Egg Arts Foundation. TheEgg art incubator is a year-round interactive art workshop and gathering place for the Vancouver Burning Man community. 5,000 sq ft studio has a wide variety of tools, technology, and fun distractions - a great place to build your art project, host a fundraiser, or have a meeting. TheEgg is volunteer-driven and free for everyone.
  • The Beaumont studio - Art and gallery space with a social emphasizes. , ,
  • Decentral Vancouver - Decentral Vancouver is a collaborative community incubator inspired by the ideas behind bitcoin. Meetup, ,
  • VPL Inspiration Lab - It’s a digital media lab at VPL’s central library downtown: a free place that combines traditional, digital and new media in a custom-built space dedicated to digital creativity, collaboration and storytelling. It features high-performance computers, analog-to-digital conversion, sound studios, video editing and self-publishing software. And all for free.
  • ICOAAT - The International Centre of Arts and Technology provider workshops and talks on various topics. 1012 – 207 West Hastings Street ,
  • Vancouver Tool Library - The VTL is a collective community resource, run by its members for its members. They lend out tools to the public. List of tools. , .
  • Terminal City Glass co-op - Provides access to high-quality glassmaking equipment and resources for the artistic development of emerging and established artists; to offer an educational glass program for the public in efforts to encourage awareness of glass as an art medium; to engage the community through events that promote glass as an art form. , , .
  • EatArt - Energy Awareness Through ART fosters art research with a focus on large-scale, technically sophisticated art by supporting both independent and internal art projects. We use art to educate people about the role energy plays in our lives and to raise questions about the social and environmental impact of energy use. ,
  • The Arts Factory - at 281 Industrial Avenue is a mixed-use arts facility in a transformed warehouse. This cultural hub includes 21,000 square feet of workshops, studios, offices and common spaces. ,
  • the Silver and Light Darkroom - a shared darkroom, art space.


  • Vancouver Mini Maker Faire - One Giant show and tell for the Maker and Hacker community. One of my favorite events of the year. , ,
  • Open Hardware Summit - Not technically in Vancouver but close by in Portland. Annual event.
  • Pecha Kucha Vancouver - PechaKucha is a global series of live events held worldwide where people can meet, inspire and get inspired, based on a format that is fast-paced and fun. Twelve inspiring minds will be giving a unique insight into their latest work and ideas in 20 slides x 20 seconds. ,


  • The Open Science Network - YVR DIYbio is is a community in which burgeoning biological engineers can come together to learn and share ideas, bringing back that enthusiasm for science we experienced as kids. DIYbio promotes the responsible and safe practice of scientific techniques.
  • Hack the Night - Richmond Public Library - Richmond Public Library Tech Meetup to learn about the latest technologies, meet and network with other technologists, and collaborate with others on creative tech projects. We have meetups about 3D printing, coding, VR, and much more.
  • Creative Mornings - A series of talks about creative things and things that effect your life. ,
  • OpenDataBC-Vancouver - OpenDataBC is a collaborative effort by a group of B.C. residents to explore, promote and create value with open data and related technologies.
  • Vancouver Robotics Club - For people who like building robots. Meetup page
  • Ideas Meetings - Vancouver - A social group who tries to help each other make our ideas happen. You can be any age, ethnicity, and identify as any gender, you just have to be willing to contribute constructively. ,
  • HackerNest Vancouver Tech Socials - HackerNest Tech Socials are a fun, relaxed way to connect with your local tech community. Atmosphere: chill, friendly, unpretentious, agenda-free (no sales pitch, yo), and brimming with UltraSmart(TM) people.
  • Polyglot Vancouver - Polyglot Vancouver’s mission is to bring together software engineers, computer scientists, system administrators, or whatever title you choose. We strive to be inclusive, diverse and bullshit-free.
  • VanDev - Vancouver’s Software Developers Network
  • Startup Drinks Van - Startup Drinks is a casual gathering at the end of each month for anyone who’s interested in startups. We meet at a bar in downtown Vancouver and we chat about all things #startups…projects, funding, challenges, and people in the scene. Meetup page.
  • Pixel Crafters
  • Vancouver Futurists
  • Repair Matters - Repair Matters is a Vancouver-based initiative that empowers people to take part in repair and creative problem solving. Our aim is to bring people with different skill sets and experiences together, ranging from novices to experts, to share knowledge and collectively troubleshoot repair solutions.
  • Vancouver Fix-It Collective - Everything has a deep story. When we engage in the throw-away lifestyle, those stories cannot be told. By fixing, we can continue to tell those stories, and pass items down through generations and have those stories told well beyond our time. By fixing we also learn, empower each other, and come together to build resilient communities. , ,
  • Nerd Nite Vancouver - Nerd! Nerd Nite is an event which is currently held in over 60 cities worldwide! The formula for each Nerd Nite is pretty standard – 20 minute presentations from three presenters each night, in a laid-back environment with lots to learn, and lots to drink!
  • Vancouver Design Nerds - Founded in 2004, the Vancouver Design Nerds Society (VDNS) exist to facilitate, promote and support positive social, environmental and urban transformation by providing a platform for face-to-face creative collaboration.

Accelerators/co-working spaces

  • Creative Coworkers - Creative Coworkers is a non-profit collective of (mostly) creative professionals with the desire to share space and amenities, and build a community together. 343 Railway St, Vancouver, BC ,
  • The Hive - Community hub for social impact. Coworking, Events, Support Services, hotdesk, etc..
  • Launch Academy - Education and mentorship in a collaborative environment
  • The Profile - Co working space.
  • The Network Hub - Co working space, hot desk.
  • Light House Labs - Code bootcamp. Full-Stack, iOS devlopment, etc…
  • Code Core - Code bootcamp. Full-Stack, Rails, Javascript, etc…
  • Red Academy - Code bootcamp.



  • Hackaday – Daily hacks and projects. ,
  • Instructables – Best of instructions. DIY projects. ,
  • Make Magazine – Magazine for hackers and Makerspace. , ,
  • The MagPi - The official raspberry PI magazine. Lots of tutorials and projects. ,
  • EEWeb - Electrical Engineering news, resources, and community.
  • Robot Kingdom – Website with lots of robot projects;
  • Lets Make Robots - Largest and coolest DIY robotics community

YouTube channels



Wood working


Awesome people doing awesome things



These suppliers are local to Vancouver area.

Eletronics conponents

Hobby and Radio Control


  • Metal Supermarket - Two locations: close to Lake City Way skytrain station in Burnaby AND just East of the Knight St Bridge (close to the IKEA) in Richmond. Good source for metal rods, beams, angled, etc. in stainless steel, aluminum and more. Burnaby location supplies the Richmond location apparently.
  • North Star Metal: Metal recycling, They allow you to wander around but be safe or they will kick you out.
  • Capital Salvage: Metal recycling. Triumph & Victoria in Vancouver.
  • Complete Metal Markets: No. 5 Rd and Bridgeport Rd in Richmond
  • MB Superior Metals): Metal recycling (good for wire; ask them to see it). Grant St and Clark Dr, just north of 1st Ave
  • Esthers Sheet Metal: 3890 East First Ave. Next to Pacific Fasteners. Is a trade supplier that mostly does made to measure flashings for construction. Will cut metal sheet to size and bend as per spec
  • ABC Metal Recycling: 192 St and 56 Ave in Surrey
  • Purity Casting Alloys: Pewter alloy ingots for casting. 97 Ave and Golden Ears Way in Surrey
  • Capilano Rock & Gem): Near Capilano Mall in North Van (copper, brass, sterling silver, gold, etc



  • Ringball: Mainly bearings, some linear slides and some acme screws and such. Good prices, but $30 minumum order
  • DealExtreme: Free shipping, probably knockoff bearings


  • McMaster Carr: Massive catalogue of engineering components. Not the cheapest, but the only source for many things. (Note: we have a paper copy of the 2019 catalogue floating around if you're looking for a good read
  • Misumi USA: Another massive catalog of engineering components



  • Windsor Plywood - Great selection, lots of helpful staff. Better then Homedepo but still on the expensive side.
  • P.j. White Hardwoods Ltd - Great selection. The best prices but they don’t do onsite cuts. Does do deliveries. 1200 East Kent Ave S, Vancouver, BC V5X 2X8
  • Dicks Lumber - Burnaby


Screws, Fasteners


Machining and Metalworking

Art/Craft supplies

  • Urban Source - All kinds of recycled craft materials - everything is cheap!. Main Street between 15th and 16th Ave.
  • Dressew - Sewing/fabric/knitting/etc. Huge selection, dirt cheap! 337 W Hastings St, near Cambie
  • Yoko YaYa - Japanese dollar store with all kinds of neat stuff. Tinseltown Mall, 1st floor
  • Daiso - Same as Yoko Yaya, but about 5 times more stuff. Aberdeen Mall in Richmond
  • Opus Art Supplies: Cambie & Hastings downtown or Granville Island
  • [Michaels](]: Alberni Street near Burrard Street and Broadway near Cambie. Has almost everything craft-related, but is expensive
  • [DeSerres](]: Broadway near Granville
  • Maiwa Dyes and Textiles: 1310 Odlum Drive for workshop, Granville Island for full store - Natural dyes, printing supplies, natural fibres
  • Our Social Fabric: 270-1275 Venables Street - Non-profit that seeks to divert textiles and sewing supplies from landfills. Extremely cheap and huge selection, but only open a few times a month
  • Fabrictime Solutions: 1325 E. Pender st. (Please note this is a fabric wholesaler and there is a large minimum for cheap prices
  • Michaels: Alberni Street near Burrard Street and Broadway near Cambie. Has almost everything craft-related, but is expensive
  • DeSerres: Broadway near Granville

Thrift and Second-Hand Stores

  • Value Village East Van: 1820 E Hastings St - Large section of second-hand electronics
  • Miscellany: 1029 Commercial Drive OR 2615 E Hastings St - Lots of cool retro items for costumes or props, some old electronics
  • Little Miss Vintage: 931 Commercial Drive - Actual vintage items for decent price. Great for costumes
  • VGH Thrift Store: 2535 E Hastings St
  • St Vincent de Paul Thrift store: 1738 East Hastings Street @ Commercial Dr - clothing, furniture, electronics and misc
  • Still Fabulous: 1124 Commercial Dr - Well-curated fashion store with very cheap prices, not vintage
  • Union Gospel Mission Thrift: 671 E Hastings Street - clothing, furniture, household, etc


Development boards and kits

Online retailers of components and dev boards.

  • Adafruit - One of the best. A great community partner, lots of tutorials. Order your stuff from here when you are getting started. , ,
  • SparkFun - Awesome site with tutorials and lots of breakout boards and parts. ,
  • Seeed Studio - Strait from Shenzhen. ,
  • ITead Studio - Similar to Seeed Studio, and also located in China. ,
  • Solarbotics - Robotics related parts (motors, electronics, gears, sensors, etc). ,
  • RobotShop - Robots and related parts. ,

Electronic components

  • Digikey - They’ve got pretty much anything, and they ship overnight from Canada. ,
  • Mouser - Similar to Digikey, but ship from the US (taking an extra day usually). ,
  • Newark element14 - Similar to Digikey and Mouser, but slower and more expensive shipping. ,
  • Arrow Electronics - Similar to Digikey and Mouser. Arrow Electronics is a global provider of products, services, and solutions to industrial and commercial users of electronic components and enterprise computing solutions. ,
  • SparkFun: Awesome site with tutorials and lots of breakout boards and rad parts
  • Adafruit): Good starter kits, mostly revolve around Arduino
  • Seeed Studio: Similar to SparkFun, located in China. Offers services such as PCB manufacturing and laser cutting also
  • ITead Studio: Similar to Seeed Studio, and also located in China

General Materials

  • Inventables - Acrylic sheets, woods, and veneers, molding materials, etc. ,
  • McMaster Carr - Massive catalog of engineering components. Not the cheapest, but the only source for many things. Used to be US-only, but ships (fast) to Canada now.
  • OpenBeam USA: An online retail store that sells mechanical bits and pieces for your projects
  • Ontario based seller of various cables


  • MacroFab - MacroFab specializes in manufacturing and assembling PCBs and electronic devices. From PCB assembly to fulfillment. ,
  • Elecrow - PCB printing, assembly and manufacting.
  • DirtyPCBs - PCB printing.

Machining and Metalworking

  • Travers Tool Co: Very large selection of machining parts, tooling, and accessories
  • Little Machine Shop: Specializing in smaller hobby and bench-top machines, parts, tooling, and accessories
  • Atlas Machinery: Located in Toronto. Wide variety of tools, machinery, and accessories
  • 4GT: Located in Nanaimo. Sells ER20/ER32 collets and collet holders compatible with the Tormach Tooling System (not Tormach products however

Industrial Controls and Parts

  • Automation Direct: Huge selection of parts for automation, controls, and building machines


  • Apex Jr: Surplus gear at good prices, lots of audio amplifier bits including toroids. Will ship a 4 lb bag for US$13
  • Electronic Goldmine: Surplus electronics parts, lots of unique stuff

Fabricators and Machine Shops

  • Industrial Laser Cutting: Laser cutting of mild and stainless steel, aluminium, acrylic, and wood for low/medium production runs and prototyping, and also have a CNC press brake. No 2 Road in Richmond

Costuming and Makeup FX

  • Fiber-tek: Boundary Rd at 1st Ave. Sell Worbla and casting supplies
  • HollyNorth Production Supply: 1st Ave at Boundary, kind of hard to find. Large range of makeup FX and production supplies
  • Studio F/X: Georgia St at Hornby St downtown. Enter via the side door, not via the Cathedral Place mall/lobby as it's locked outside regular business hours. Good selection of makeup FX products, but not as general a product range as HollyNorth
  • Thomas FX: North Vancouver, just over the Iron Workers Memorial Bridge. Large range of makeup FX and production supplies


  • AllWorld Packaging: 1023 Clark Drive - Tape, cardboard, bubble wrap, etc
  • Adler Auto: Surrey and further out locations
  • HollyNorth Production Supply: 1st Ave at Boundary, kind of hard to find. These guys sell to the film industry, but they do cash sales too
  • SR Fine Tools: Chinatown source of magnifiers, tweezers, etc
  • Wainbee: Hydraulics , pneumatics, toggle clamps, actuators, electromechanical (steppers, servos, etc). Surrey

3D Printing

3D printing online communities

3D printing software

  • Cura - It works great and is simple. Use this.

3D printable models

  • Yobi3D - A 3D model search engine. Search results are shown in 3D.
  • Pinshape - A online catalog of 3D printer models. Paid and free.
  • MyMiniFactory - A decent selection of curiated 3D-printable models.
  • ThingiVerse - The original online catalog of 3D printer models.
  • YouMagine - Open source designs and 3D-printable models.
  • GrabCAD - Professional 3D models for manufacting parts.
  • - Search Engine for 3D printable Models. Searches a lot of the smaller sites.
  • NIH 3D Print Exchange - 3D-printable models that are scientifically accurate or medically applicable.
  • Smithsonian 3d models - A large collection of 3d models from the smithsonian.
  • CG Trader - 3D models for VR / AR, 3D printing and computer graphics.

3D printing services

Laser and CNC


  • Open Desk - Free open-source CNC furniture and an experiment in the possibilities of distributed manufacturing.
  • AtFab - Free open-source CNC furniture. Creating fully parametric fabable furnishings whose dimensions, details, material thickness, and slot size can be easily transformed and fabricated
  • Sketch Chair - SketchChair is a free, open-source software tool that allows anyone to easily design and build their own digitally fabricated furniture.
  • Open Design Furniture - An Amazing collection of open source furniture from many different sites and designers.
  • Pedro Terra LAB - Pedro Terra LAB Open source furniture.

Cross Border Shopping

In general Point Roberts is closer and easier on Transit/Bike. Blaine is further but offers the chance to pick up a parcel as part of another trip. Tax info at

China Online Shopping

English Language

  • Ali Express: Sort of Amazon meets eBay in China - and almost everything that is manufactured in or for China is available here (i.e. almost everything
  • Deal Extreme: Almost anything is available here from electronics dev boards to clothing. Chinese, very cheap price & quality, free slow shipping
  • Bang Good): Very similar to Deal Extreme in every way, but often cheaper
  • Alibaba: Manufacturer-direct sales for larger order volumes
  • Hobby King: Hobby parts, kits, and products for RC cars, multicopters, etc

Chinese Language

  • Taobao: Like Ali Express but in Chinese with a larger selection and lower prices. You may have to use shipping agents
  • T-Mall: Similar to Taobao but aimed at brands and larger/more reputable businesses. Far less selection or niche products



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