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A group call the HayHackers talk during their weekly get together at Eko Coffee Bar & Tea House in Hayward, Calif., on Thursday, May 22, 2014. The group is trying to raise money to open a makers lab for adults and children. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

HAYWARD -- A homegrown group is trying to bring the maker movement to this city.

When Carolyn Lunger went with her children to the San Mateo makers fair a few years ago, she got excited.

"I was mesmerized. Wow, you don't have to run to Target or Walmart to make things," she said. "I had always imagined my kids being able to make something out of nothing, to be resourceful."

Maker spaces, also known as hacker spaces, are places for do-it-yourselfers. Many have a tech focus, with electronic hardware, tools, 3-D printers, soldering equipment, microprocessors, 3-D scanners and robotics. But some also are for more traditional creative activities such as sewing and crafts.

Lunger started taking her children to a hacker space in Oakland but couldn't find anything similar in Hayward. She connected by email with another mom on a home schooling network. From there, the nonprofit group Hayhackers has slowly grown and recently started regular meet-ups. The number of people taking part varies from seven to 12.

Hayhackers were at Tom Kitayama Elementary School's spring science fair in Union City and this year's San Mateo big maker fair.

They will have a booth at San Leandro's Cherry Festival on Saturday, along with more than 30 other maker groups at the Make San Leandro area. The Hayhackers will have projects so both kids and adults can make things.

They also plan to have a booth at Southland Mall for Father's Day.


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The next step is a maker space for all ages. The group envisions a two-room place, with one area kid-friendly and the other with more sophisticated equipment for adults. Most hacker spaces or maker labs are just for adults, Lunger said, with some for kids only.

"We want a place for the whole family. A place where my kids can hack and a place where either myself or husband can go and hack as well, and it would be right next door," she said.

Cristina Deptula said that as a young professional couple with no children, she and her boyfriend approach the maker movement from a different perspective.

"A maker space is a chance to meet friendly, interesting people," she said.

"Hayward has a bookstore and a couple of coffee shops. But where do you go if you don't want to go out to eat or go to a bar? Where can you go to meet interesting people without having to buy something?"

Typically at a maker space, people can use tools such as 3-D printers most could not afford on their own. It's often free to visit for the first few times, but then a membership is charged to keep it going.

Hayhackers is using crowdfunding through Indiegogo to try to raise $15,000 to cover costs and the first year's rent.

Carl Gorringe, a mobile app developer, started programming as a Hayward elementary school student. After college, he moved to San Francisco, where he learned of a hackerspace called Noisebridge close to his home.

"I fell in love with the place. I met many friends," he said. "People were taking on electronic and programming projects, volunteering to share their knowledge with others."

He moved back to Hayward because of the high San Francisco rents and got in touch with Hayhackers after finding it online. The group has gained momentum in the past few months and it would be easier to attract more people if it had a hacker space, Gorringe said.

"We're trying to find other people interested in technology, even the arts, people who like to build things and learn and teach others," he said.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.

Hayhackers
For more information, go to www.hayhackers.org.
To donate to the nonprofit group, click on the Indiegogo link on the site.

105th San Leandro Cherry Festival
The festival begins with a parade at 9 a.m. on San Leandro Boulevard from Marina Boulevard to Estudillo Avenue
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: West Estudillo Avenue from Hays Street to San Leandro Boulevard
What: Food, entertainment, rides, games, cherry pie bake-off, arts and crafts booths
Make San Leandro will be in the front parking lot at St. Leander Catholic Church, 550 W. Estudillo.