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New Member's Guide and FAQ (redirected from New Member's Guide)

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Maker Space New ( and Prospective) Member's Guide

Hi! This guide is here to help you find your way around and get the most out of the space whether you have just joined or are thinking of joining . If you have any questions, just grab the nearest person who looks like they know what they're doing and ask them!



Frequently Asked Questions:


What is Maker Space?


Maker Space is a community owned and run working space for makers, artists and tinkerers coders, crafters etc.. We've clubbed together to get a space for our members to work in and have useful tools and other resources to work with.

I came to the Maker Space but there was no-one there, where were you?
At the moment, the Maker Space is only open to general visitors every on Wednesday evenings from 6.00pmm untill about 8:00pm. If you’d like to visit the Maker Space at other times, please contact us by email or through the Maker Space Google group.


How do I get to use tools/equipment/consumables?
Come along to our Open Sessions, or better still become a member and you'll get better access.

Are you nice people?

We’re are very nice and friendly people. If you’re in any doubt, come along to our free Open Session.


Who’s in charge?
The Maker Space is run by its members for its members.  Administrative duties are performed by members who are elected to our Board of Directors. There isn't anyone else, or any "grown-ups" looking after this place, its just us, and it works because everyone pulls their weight to keep it running nicely for us all.


What sort of things do people do?
We do all sorts. Our members like to build musical instruments, artworks, electronic things, woodwork, knitting, model making, flying things, 3D printers and lots of other stuff. Occasionally we put on workshops for ourselves or others to share skills. 


What can I make?
Anything you want as long as it isn't illegal or gets it the way of what others are trying to do.


Do I need to be into computers and electronics projects?
No, of course not, we're not a computer club. Our members have many interests such as woodwork, metalwork, sewing, artistic creations and even bike maintenance.

What if I get stuck on my project?
We all get stuck on our projects, even if you're not a member our Maker Space community is a good place to ask for help. Our Wednesday evening Open Sessions and discussion group are a good place to drop in and discuss your project.


How can I keep up with what is going on at Maker Space?
The “North-East makers” discussion list. This is open to all, but most of the chat on it concerns Maker Space and what it’s members are doing. We like to include everyone so we encourage our members (and others) to use this list for general chat and projects.

Inevitably though, some chat such as the running of the space and finances etc. is not for public consumption, and for this we also have a members-only mailing list. All members are encouraged to sign up to this as soon as possible. You will be given the details during your induction.

The Wiki http://makerspace.pbworks.com/w/page/43988787/Maker%20Space%20Wiki - It’s our main place for the storage of info. If you need to know something it’s probably already on here somewhere. If it isn’t and you think it should be, ask someone to create it. Or better still, ask for Wiki access and do it yourself.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/makerspacenewcastle – Useful links to interesting stuff and updates about what were are up to.

The website http://www.makerspace.org.uk/ – All about us plus blogs, announcements and links to everything else.

Twitter https://twitter.com/maker_space - occasional announcements.


Useful info for new members:


What your money is used for

Your monthly donation goes to a few places. Mostly it goes on rent and utility bills and other expenses of running a workshop (consumables etc.). Occasionally we spend money on improvements to the space and other bits and pieces. We maintain a float which will allow us to move to another space should the need arise, and to cover any resultant funding gap.
Even though we may appear to be a public open space or even a charity, we are not. Maker Space is an organisation created to provide space and tools to members of the Maker Space community. We get NO other funding apart from member's donations. Your monthly donation lets the whole thing happen. No Members = No Space.

Opening times
We have key holders that (except for public holidays and emergencies) are committed to opening up for members from 6:30pm Monday to Thursday. On Wednesday, our visitors evening, we are open slightly earlier at 6pm. See website for exact times.

We also occasionally open on daytimes, Friday evenings and weekends. If a key holder is heading in they will usually post on the discussion list to let people know. If you require access at a certain time, message the list to see if anyone is willing to open for you. Outside of regular opening hours you can check if there is anyone in by looking at the open/closed status on our webpage, but if you are travelling any great distance please message the list to ensure that whoever is in will still be around when you get there.


How to be awesome
We're more than just a space, we're a community. To get the most from the space, interact with the community! Ask questions, answer other people's questions, or just say when you think something is cool! Join the mailing list (or at least read it on Google Groups occasionally), say hi, and come down to Welcome Wednesday. If you are interested in the nuts and bolts of running the space and want to help, join the Admin list too.

Accessing the space 

During normal evening opening access is via the front door of Commercial Union house, then take the stairs or lift to the basement. When "Open to members", the door is RFID locked so people can't randomly wander in. If you have any RFID keyfob / Card ( e.g. oyster/ pop card/Ring) etc. please contact Alistair to get it registered so you can use it to come and go without having to knock to get in. If you do not have an RFID device, we can provide cards or keyfobs for £1 each.

People in the Space

 The space attracts all kinds of people - some are chatty and some would rather work on their own projects quietly. Don't take this personally, respect people's quiet time. Everyone works differently and if they are working on something they are not ignoring you.

Be aware we are on a shared internet connection with our landlords, when using file sharing  to download legal material, throttle your speed, *DO NOT* download or share anything illegal!

Storing items
Only Members are allowed to do this. For small items, you can store as much as you can fit in your "member's box". Every member gets a rack space to keep a standard 32 Litre 18cm x 60cm x 40cm storage box. These are available for £3-£4 at places like John Lewis, Wilkinson, Ikea etc. Large items may only be stored with special permission BEFORE bringing the project into the Space. It’s understood that some projects will be too big to store in your box and there’s no problem with leaving them in the space as long as they are being actively worked on and not getting in anyone’s way (put it away each night). If a project is sitting stagnant for a while, you will be asked to take it home as space is at a premium. It is good practice to leave a sticker or note on your project with your name and the date it was last worked on in case it needs to be moved or removed.
Donating items
We need all sorts of materials, electronic and mechanical items to hack. BUT we don't need too much of one type of item. Always ask before you bring donated items to the space, to check whether it's as useful as you think. Don't just pick up junk from the street, however useful it looks - we are overflowing with that already, or it might bring unwanted infestations in with it.

To keep control of unwanted items we regularly throw things away. Much of it goes through the 'hack or die' system - something designed to make sure that one hacker's jewel isn't thrown out as another hacker's rubbish. Larger items may be marked before disposal, but may be thrown away immediately if it's not marked, or brought in thoughtlessly.

WE DO NOT WANT YOUR CRT MONITOR! -  sorry but they are large, heavy and have limited connection options. They are of very little use to us and we don't have the storage space for them.


Hacking items
Please respect Do Not Hack stickers. If something looks large/useful, post to the mailing list asking about the status of it (if it's hackable or someone's project). Some items are considered infrastructure and should not be hacked without discussion with the community first.

Flipside: if it has a please hack sticker, get stuck right in! you don't need to ask permission, the please hack sticker is permission!

Using things

 Feel free to make use of our wood/metal scraps, any screws & fixings you can find, solder, wire, components etc. but please make a donation towards buying replacement items too. If you're into electronics, you'll probably need to bring your own copper strip boards, breadboards, customs IC's etc. If you're in the workshop, you may need to bring in specialist screws (we tend to run out of long screws), or other small, quirky items. If you end up with left over materials after you finish a project, consider leaving them on the please hack shelves for other people to use.

Looking after the space.
The space is looked after by the members. Please play your part. If you leave without cleaning up your mess, somebody else has to do it for you, and you're taking away their time that they have for working on their own projects. It's deeply inconsiderate. Remember that a lot of people are using the space and, even if you could leave a dirty mug at home to be done later, you can't do it here.


Especially :
Don't leave dirty pots, plates, mugs around the space or in the kitchen. The space has no running water. During your induction we'll show you where the washing area  is

Please only put any food waste or food wrappers in the smaller tea point bin. This gets emptied more regularly. Food waste in the larger workshop bins smells and attracts flies etc.

Clean up after you work - whether it's paper shreds on the floor, odd components on the soldering station, sawdust and swarf in the workshop, etc. it's your responsibility to clean it up (and more: if you find stuff left by someone else, please help clean up). Leave the space in a better condition than you found it.

Treat our furniture with respect. Using chairs in the workshop, standing on them, using tables as a cutting surface etc. ruins good furniture, it's expensive to replace and unpleasant for you and others to use.

Do odd jobs. There are always jobs to do to keep the space useful. Whether it's emptying a bin, vacuuming a floor or building an awesome machine, we can't function without all our members helping out. All our time is as valuable as yours - please don't leave it for someone else. 

Tools and equipment

Most tools and equipment at the space represent a shared resource. They have been bought by pledge drives or donated by members or the public. Some tools however belong to individual members, so please treat them with respect and care and ask if you are unsure about their operation.

 Special instructions/ training for equipment

Warning! There are tools around that could do you harm. This is pretty unlikely to happen IF USED CORRECTLY. Don't fear the tools, don't avoid the tools, just respect them and learn to use them properly. You can also harm tools, such as the laser cutter, if you're not trained. 

Any power tool (and lots of hand tools) can hurt you or other people, and you can damage the tool itself if used incorrectly. If you have not used particular tool before, please ask someone who can show you how.

Personal protection equipment is available for use. Gloves for handling irritants, ear plugs/defenders for noisy work, dust masks for messy work etc.

For all power tools and any hand tools that can throw sparks or debris you MUST use safety glasses. They're hanging up on the rack in the workshop.

Adhesives, irritants & flammables – Should be stored in the correct place in the workshop and proper handling procedures observed. There is a flammables box for volatile substances, please make sure you use it.

There are some tools/equipment that should never be used unless you have the appropriate training or competency. These include:

  • The soldering irons and the heat gun.
  • The Access Controlled Equipment in the workshop.
  • The 3D printers - Please do not attempt to use these if you do not know exactly what you are doing . Beyond a nasty burn, you are unlikely to hurt yourself but could very easily damage the machine, which represents a lot of time and effort on behalf of the members who built them. Ask on the list if someone can train you, or attend a “3D Thursday” session. There are also Wiki pages on our Printers to help new users out. If you print something using Maker Space bought filament, please donate to the kitty beside the printers.
  • The laser cutter – This is access controlled, see the link above. If you just need a one off job, ask if someone can help you do it. If you want to use the laser regularly there is a list on the wiki of people who are trained and approved to train others. Bring your own materials, or for smaller jobs there are a number of donated offcuts that can be used for free.

Keeping your tools at the space
If they are in your box - no problem! If you are OK with people using them, please label them up as yours and put them somewhere appropriate in the space. Expect other people to use the items that are outside your project box, and despite everyone's good intentions, you might find that they wear out quicker.


Cooking/eating in the space
Of course, but please clean up after yourself!
The space has no running water. You will be shown where yo can clean dishes and cups.

If you have food to share, leave it on the table next to the kettle.

No strong food odours on visitors nights please.
Please don’t leave food out overnight or leave smelly stuff in the fridge.
Please only use the bin near the tea point for food waste (including food wrappers).

For tea/coffee: help yourself! You are encouraged to make a small donation to the tea/coffee kitty or occasionally bring something in, such as milk. Tea/coffee is usually bulk bought out of collected funds. If we are out of milk buy some, take the money out of the kitty and replace with a receipt (or just pay for it yourself in lieu of a kitty donation). The coffee machine has a charge per use, this is labelled on the machine.
Visitors are not expected to pay for refreshments as we offer them.


We also have a stock of Club Mate and occasionally other soft drinks. This operates on a kitty/honour system, run by David Pye. If you take a bottle, please either donate to the kitty or put your name down on the list along with a tally mark. David will collect the money from you when it is time to re-stock.


Who cleans the toilets / kitchen / work areas?

The toilets are looked after by our landloards in Commercial Union House. Please leave them as you would expect to find them.

Everything else is entirely our responsibility to clean/maintain.

If the drinking water bottle becomes empty, please refill it from the kitchen on the 6th floor of CU house.

If you see the towel or tea towel is dirty, take it home and wash it.

Keep the tea point wiped down and clean.

Clear desks after you use them.

Sweep the workshop of sawdust/swarf after working in there etc.


In the case of an accident:

  1. Look after non-injured parties to avoid further injury (including yourself)
  2. Take action to reduce or remove any remaining danger, if safe to do so.
  3. Look after any injured parties in a suitable way (ambulance, first aid, cup of tea...)
  4. (When appropriate) write it up in the accident log book at: (URL to be disclosed shortly)
  5. Inform the key holder that they need to send details to the Members list.


You MUST ensure the log book keeps track of any of the following:

  • Reportable Injuries:
    • Death
    • Fracture (other than to fingers, thumbs and toes)
    • Amputations
    • Permanent loss or reduction of sight
    • Crush injuries leading to internal organ damage
    • Serious burns (covering more than 10% of the body, or damaging the eyes, respiratory system or other vital organs)
    • Scalpings which require hospital treatment,
    • Unconsciousness caused by head injury or asphyxia
    • Any injury arising from working in an enclosed space leading to hypothermia, heat-induced illness or requires resuscitation or admittance to hospital for more than 24 hours.
  • Other Injuries that causes someone to be incapacitated for more than three consecutive days.


Reportable injuries MUST be reported to the relevant authorities at the earliest opportunity. For more information, see: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg453.pdf

Most of the well written, coherent parts of this was stolen from these places:




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