Some events choose to have hardware available for hackers to check out during the event. MLH also has a limited number of hardware labs we send to US based events. Talk to your Hackathon Community Manager about availability for your event.

If you want to build your own hardware lab here are some recommendations. Check out if your school has a makerspace or club that does hardware related workshops and see if they can help you, they might already have some of this they can lend you!


  • Label everything. You may have volunteers who are not familiar with hardware checking items out. Label everything you can to make it easy to check in/out items

  • Ideas on what to include

    • Raspberry Pis

    • Arduinos

    • Sensors (check out grove starter kits for potential ideas)

    • small screen/speaker

    • Extra wires/breadboards

    • A webcam (so they can put it on their hack and not be limited to their laptop camera)

  • More expensive options

    • VR headset

    • 3D printer (leave at lab, have them bring you things to print)

Checkout Process

  • Volunteer shifts. Set up shifts before the event start. Try to get your IEEE or other hardware/engineering focused club on campus involved. Make sure there is always someone there.

    • Having your Hardware lab near your general help desk will allow late night shifts to take care of both.

  • Require IDs. Holding IDs until items are returned is the best way to ensure you get your items back. Have a box for these and keep it secure at all times.

  • Keep a log. Keep a list of who checked what out. Only give back an ID if all is returned. This has the added benefit of seeing what hackers used so you can get more of those items next year!

Last updated