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Hackerspace’ Syn Shop offers a creative outlet for kids and adults

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Kids learn to harness the power of a banana at Syn Shop.
Photo: Sam Morris

Syn Shop

Make a battery from a lemon. Extract DNA from a strawberry. Those are two of the lessons volunteers taught kids this past Saturday at Syn Shop, “the Las Vegas Hackerspace.” The nonprofit space just north of Fremont Street hopes to inspire creativity in kids and give adult hackers/makers a place to collaborate.

The Details

Syn Shop
117 N. 4th St. Monday & Thursday, 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, 3-10 p.m.
Tuesday-Sunday, 5-10:30 p.m.

And it’s not just about cool things to do with fruit. Volunteers Brian, Aakin and Bill also showed me their 3-D printer. It’s the size of three shoeboxes and uses PLA plastic filaments, which run through a glue-gun tip before being dripped out, thin as a human hair, onto a rising and falling platform. After a minute, we’ve got a Pirates of the Caribbean replica coin.

The Syn Shop has other cool toys: a 90-watt laser that engraves wood and a massive ShopBot that cuts wood in three dimensions.

“The ShopBot is good for making tables, chairs, couches, enclosures and toy helicopters,” Brian says. “So if somebody in Germany designs a cool table, you can download the plan for it and cut it yourself; you don’t have to ship the table across the globe.”

If you want to make a table or a coin yourself, just look for the “STAY HUNGRY, STAY FOOLISH” sign on the wall. Yeah, that Steve Jobs quote makes the place sound like a soup kitchen, and several people have walked in asking to be fed. But the only food Syn Shop serves is the kind for thought.

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