BOTLab members meeting 27th January 2015

  1. Apologies: Matt V, Steph T
  2. Action points from last meeting
    1. Opinions on how bike space is working out?
    2. Bristol Cable advertising
    3. GBV Studios improvements: fire cover, new sockets in G10 and wired broadband
  3. Purchasing a new laser cutter?
  4. New monthly workshop series
  5. Purchasing proposals:
    1. Mixed metric nuts and bolts for member's projects (MV)
    2. The Art of Electronics, 3rd edition (TG)

Chris Lynas, Jon Dowling, Barney Livingston, John Myers, Russell Dicken, John Willis, Toby Scott, David Henshall, Torsten Ysander, David Wyatt (minute-taker) (+ one other member - apologies that I do not remember your name!)

  1. Actions arising from last meeting:
    1. Space tidying: vote of thanks to everyone who helped last time!
    2. Bike space:
      • Noted that the space seems fairly well used by a selection of people, and not causing any trouble, so this seems like a good move.
      • Nigel C has not claimed for £50 allocated for tools to equip the new bike space - Action: DW to email to follow up
    3. Advertising in Bristol Cable:
      • MV has established that 1/8 and 1/4 page are £45 and £82.50 respectively for 10,000. He has posted to the list about this but there has been a lack of interest.
      • Agreement that increasing the membership is a Good Thing, but debate around whether paying for advertising is the best method at this stage. Agreement not to pursue paid advertising (yet) but instead to focus on:
        • Workshops in the space, such as the series initiated by MV/John W
        • Making the space a better space
        • Displaying information on a noticeboard in the space about what's going on
        • Improving the website with more regular content additions - e.g. a weekly open-evening writeup (possibly crossposted from the Twitter feed?) (Side note: currently hackspace logo and other files on website are not hosted on the hackspace server - action: BL to move across)
        • Ask visitors how they found us!
    4. Fire/Health and Safety:
      • Firefighting equipment: MV established on 26/1/2015 that the building manager is open for proposals that would need to include how members would be trained to use. JW offers to ask for quotes for appropriate fire extinguishers, with no training but purely written instructions provided in the first instance. Action: JW
      • First aid kits: RD has replenished First Aid supplies in 2 kits, one in G11 and one in G10 (thanks to RD)
      • JW notes that in order to satisfy fire regs we also need to carry out a risk assessment of the space. Proposed that this is postponed until after next members' meeting; CL offers to help with preparing this.
    5. Sockets in G10:
      • MV established on 26/1/2015 that the building manager is again open for proposals, to be carried out by an approved electrician. TS offers to put together a proposal for what is required, seeking advice from Nic M (Action: TS); we can then get a quotation and decide how to proceed
    6. Website/networking: we have paid Xtreamlab for 1yr's hosting from 29 Oct 2014. Meanwhile, BL is continuing to transfer infrastructure across to the new VPS kindly donated by Mythic Beasts. Alaric is still proposing to build a box for a server/other infrastructure within the Hackspace itself.
    7. Buying other tools: DH proposed this at the last meeting but no action has been taken. Meanwhile MV proposes: spending £50 on mixed metric nuts and bolts for members' projects, about 700 nuts and 600 bolts from m2,m3,m4 & m6 (skipping a lot of m3 bolts as they're the only ones we have atm). Comments on this: where does M5 feature in this? M3 occurs twice! Also suggested buying lengths of studding/threaded rod up to M12. Agreed with this proposal - Action: MV to go ahead
  2. New laser cutter
    • Noted that there has been extensive discussion on the mailing list on this topic!
    • Noted that pledge survey did not have an “undecided” option
    • What should be the ownership model for any laser cutter bought, and what does pledging an amount towards it mean?
      • Various interpretations of what a pledge is - consensus that it is the amount that an individual member offers to contribute from their own funds towards making something happen, only if it goes ahead
      • Surprise at the amount of money people have pledged! up to £2000
      • JW asks how a part-ownership model would work - could be that the Hackspace and Nic M jointly contribute towards buying it, but then in what sense would each party own part of it? e.g. What would happen if they wanted to sell their share?
      • Perspectives on whether members shold be charged for it:
        • JW proposes members could use it completely for free, given that hackspace is paying for it - possibly capped at a specific number of house per month (CL: avoid saying “reasonable use” as this is open to interpretation!), commercial use prohibited
        • Or, because it's expensive and has significant ongoing costs, usage should be chargeable as at present
    • Guidelines for selection of a new laser, if we were to buy one
      • DH: Current laser is quite a good quality machine - esp. in terms of footprint/floor area compared with bed area - Chinese cheap machines are much larger!
      • RD: What else would we do with a new laser? Metal cutting? Out of the question in terms of cost (laser power) But a more powerful laser to cut thicker wood would be useful
      • JW: Suggests any new laser should be purchased with a service contract - current one breaks relatively frequently, Hackspace people have to fix it. Apparently Lauren does have a service contract but Epilog are very slow at fixing it.
      • Also more general maintenance issues - e.g. the honeycomb bed doesn't get replaced very often at the moment, affects cut quality and staining
      • BL: buy two small lasers so they aren't both out of action at the same time?
    • Given that most of the issues seem not to do with the machine as such but with the cost of using it and the delays in fixing it when it breaks, should we approach Lauren about the current situation? (Perhaps when the laser's working to make sure she doesn't feel pressured.) What to talk about?
      • How does she feel about the current situation? Is she happy with it? E.g. doing the inductions
      • Does she currently have a service contract?
      • How would she feel about reducing the hourly charge for Hackspace members (e.g. allowing them to pay for fractions of an hour rather than a full hour at a time) if we took on the responsibility for servicing it?
      • What if we offered to buy it off her? Apparently it originally cost £30k but prices have come down in recent years. We could then have a service contract or maintain it ourselves.
    • How to proceed?
      • Action: DH offers to talk to Lauren about the above in the first instance, to decide whether it is appropriate to proceed with investigating buying a new one
      • RD on behalf of Nic M has assembled a proposal document about this - our response to this is that before proceeding, the proposal needs to be clarified to cover not only the equipment to be bought but who will pay for it, the ownership model/usage charging etc.
      • Money available: if we kept a year's rent in reserve (see below), that would leave us ~£1800; if we saved ~£200/month (reasonable given current membership situation) and raised £2000 from pledges, that would give us about £6000 in a year's time to put towards a new laser.
  3. Hackspace reserve funds policy
    • (arising from above discussion)
    • Currently have just over £9000 in the bank account, paying nearly £7000/yr in rent
    • DH: we should keep enough reserve to cover the (hypothetical!) situation where we are told we have to leave BV and find an alternative space
    • Side topic: charge for key/card to get into BV has increased from £30 to £40 payment, of which the refundable portion is still only £20 - apparently to cover “admin”. For whatever reason, this is now high enough to make people consider carefully whether to obtain access to the space. Perhaps this is a reason to revive the discussion about moving to our own space somewhere?
    • Action: Unanimously agreed to bring up the issue of funds to be kept in reserve at the next BOTLab AGM, with the proposal of setting the reserve funds equal to a year's rent (but to be kept in the same bank account) - to be voted on by the membership at that stage
  4. Monthly skills-sharing workshops:
    • Noted that MV has organised a new events series, monthly skills-sharing workshops - the first one is on 3rd Feb, led by JW on flattening metal using technique created by Whitworth.
    • JW clarified what materials and tools would be needed for attending.
    • Vote of thanks to MV and JW for organising this!
  5. Wired broadband in the space
    • To provide a more reliable internet connection than the current one! And allow us to run our own servers etc.
    • MV established on 26/1/2015 that building manager would like us to sort out the deal with bristol wireless before proceeding. BL unclear about this - Action: BL to clarify with MV.
    • DH notes that building manager prefers not to make exceptions for any individual group within BV in terms of how their spaces are set up, in general…
  6. Purchase of The Art of Electronics 3rd edition for Hackspace: Unanimously agreed to buy and “chain to the wall”. Action: TG to buy?
  7. AOB
    1. Heating: Space gets cold in the winter. We have an electric radiator wired permanently to the wall, but it's at risk of being turned on and not turned off again. Perhaps have some kind of electrical timer switch that turns off automatically after e.g. an hour?
    2. …Better documentation of the space:
      • Have a checklist on the corridor door out of G11: is the glass door locked, is G10 locked and the key back in place, is the heater off?
      • With instructions on how to do all these things - perhaps a diagram of the space, photos? But don't be too specific about e.g. locations of keys for security reasons
      • Also explain about how people should mark their stuff/stored projects, with labels for people to print off
      • And process for getting rid of sorted old components - how to help TG finish the job of sorting them - vote of thanks to TG for doing so!
      • CL: analogous to “5S” process: clean, chuck out unwanted stuff, get things configured appropriately, and make the arrangement sustainable by showing “what does it look like when you've cleaned up after use” (e.g. soldering station)
    3. Bins: have 2 bins in each of G11 and G10 for rubbish and recyclables, to match bins in the loading dock
    4. Have another tidy-the-space day before the next meeting (in which some of the above could be implemented) - ask MV to organise this!
  • botlab/openmeeting_20150127
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