About Chatt*lab

Chatt*lab is Chattanooga's first and only “hackerspace” style makerspace. We're a collection of makers, tinkerers, artists, technicians and dreamers that like to share a space with access to many different tools and systems that help us build some really cool crap. If it's a tool we can't afford, we may borrow one from a member, or in some cases just build our own.

We are open community workshop democratically operated by our membership. Anyone who is, aspires to be, or just wants to hang around smart, creative, friendly mad scientist maker/hacker nerds is welcome at Chattlab! We've got lots of cool tools and equipment. We've got a lot of really bright and creative people. We like to work on (and show off) fun and challenging technical projects.

What is a Makerspace?

There are many types of makerspaces:

  • Library - An area in a library open to the public with supervised instruction on using the equipment.
  • School - Similar to the library but for the students of the school hosting the makerspace.
  • Corporate - A corporate sponsored makerspace for their employees and/or public (like First Build).
  • Workshop Service - A for profit or grant style space that specializes in camps and programs for teenagers or equipment rental for individuals working on complex projects.
  • Hackerspace - A space where members own the “club”, run it in a democratic fassion where people with an interest in computing or technology can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, equipment, and knowledge.

Chatt*lab is a “hackerspace” variety of makerspace. Unlike the other kinds of makerspaces, “we” are the owners of our space. If we want to get a forge, and it doesn't violate our lease, we can do it. If it does violate the lease, we may just do it offsite! We like to use the term “free range makers”. Our doors are open 24 hours 7 days a week for our members, and they don't need supervision. We do put a high priority on safety however. We're not anarchists after all (though we may have a few of those…).

Chattlab Culture

We strivs to promote an open and welcoming culture. We like the fact that we're a public resource for the community. To keep this kind of openness in our community, it takes a little more effort in a social sense to keep things running smoothly. Being part of an open community can be a challenge sometimes. Try to display a little extra politeness, a little extra patience, a little extra cleanliness and a little extra friendliness.

Our primary policy is to “Be Excellent to Each Other.” If you're not being excellent to your other members, expect to get called out for it. If you don't know whether or not something you're doing is excellent, odds are, it isn't.

Our Organization

Chattlab is a 501(c)(3) educational non-profit. We collect dues from our membership to pay rent, utilities, insurance and maintenance of the space. Any funds left over are used for tools and consumables.

We have a 7 member Board of Directors. This includes five elected members and up to 2 external board members from outside Chattlab that can be nominated by the board of directors. The Board of Directors fulfill the roles required by Tennessee law and oversee the operation of Chattlab. All of the directors are volunteers and are not compensated financially.

Our Members

Our current membership represents many different fields including networking, engineering, arts, teaching, web development, business owners and inventors. Our membership also includes employees of many well known companies/organizations including:

  • Chattanooga Public Library
  • Volkswagen
  • Redhat Linux
  • Chattanooga Chamber
  • TVA
  • EPB
  • Automatic Data Processing (ADP)
  • and many others (nobody from Amazon YET!)

Our History

The quick and dirty:

  • Chatt*Lab was founded by Tim Youngblood and Jason Brown in 2012.
  • Leased a space in the St. Elmo Area
  • Participated in the first two Chattanooga Mini Makerfaires in 2014 and 2015
  • Closed our doors in early 2016 when landlord died and building sold.
  • Restarted in late 2016 by Jeff Johnson and Jason Brown with a new space in North Shore.

we've been around since 2012 but have really grown since we moved into the Business Development Center in the North Shore area. We have 3,000 square feet with lots of different equipment. You can see our equipment list here.