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BOTLab members' meeting, 12 July 2016

Date/time and location: 7pm, 12 July 2016 at the Hackspace


  • Policy on children in the Hackspace - draft here
  • Insurance update
  • CNC router: hackspace access and dustbooth proposal
  • G10 electrics: extra mains sockets and supply for Hardinge lathe - details
  • new forum and moderators
  • Electricity bill
  • Potential expansion into G12


Russ C, Russell D, Nic M, Chris L, Tom G, Toby Sc, Toby Se, David W

Topics discussed

  • Policy on children in the Hackspace
    • Based on draft here
    • What do schools allow children to use? TS: most schools say power tools only with close adult supervision, we cannot provide this
    • CL: What is gained by requiring a meeting between parent/guardian and committee member? Ans: Proof that parent is aware of the policy. General agreement that actually a written/emailed confirmation of having read the policy, as a result of some form of communication, is what is wanted - no need for a meeting as such.
    • TG: All children not accompanied by parent/guardian should have details of an emergency contact.
    • NM: Would the policy obstruct running workshops for children? TS: Intention is that workshops should still be permitted, subject to appropriate planning and regulatory compliance. DW: If parents are present, child protection does not apply anyway - need for parents to be members depends on whether workshop is open to the public.
    • TG: Many of these topics also apply to adult members too!
    • Action (DW): Redraft policy taking above comments into consideration.
  • Insurance update
    • TS: We have insurance, cost of £1300 for a year. Cost comparable with other hackspaces given our size and seriousness of equipment. Insurers will send an inspector at some point to assess level of risks present in space and stipulate alterations that need to be made to mitigate them - we may need to set aside some money to cover this. We also need to have an electrical safety test on the wiring - to be arranged, and will also cost money.
    • If PAT testing of applicances is required (currently unknown if this is the case), may be worthwhile to get some members trained up on doing this - would save money and also streamline setting up for e.g. Maker Faires if all electrical equipment was tested before arrival. TG: Some members have obtained relevant certificates in the past.
    • Vote of thanks to TS and DHenshall for arranging this!
  • CNC router: hackspace access and dust booth proposal
    • NM has bought a CNC router outright for £2000. 1m x 1.6m bed, 2.2kW spindle. Would like Hackspace to have access to it. Need to install a few upgrades before use by others: soft limit switches, 2 (or more) emergency stops. Also would like to address dust and sound mitigation. If it is just left to NM, he will use it with consideration for others e.g. when others are not there or wearing ear defenders. Has designed a booth to contain dust and noise - would cost ~£500. Maybe even interlock on door.
    • Committee previously discussed contributing £500 towards a large purchase proposal for a CNC router - this would pay for the booth.
    • NM proposal: he retains ownership of it but allows Hackspace members to use it, c.f. Anton's wood lathe. NM would not provide router bits - maybe have a Hackspace set. Possible issues:
      • How to handle maintenance/repairs - both cost and effort?
      • Whether to contribute to purchase cost? NM prefers to retain ownership, and others agree - as discussed for laser cutter purchase, joint ownership has potential complexities.
      • How to split rent for floor space? NM proposes that hackspace rents the floor area for the machine from NM, then machine is free to use for members.
    • Question about insurance and responsibility - may be related to the ownership/usage model. If members pay NM for time this creates a direct link from them to him and implies he takes responsibility for it (i.e. would be liable in event of problem), maybe if it's based on renting floor space that's less specific. RC: May be a more general issue for tools in the Hackspace that aren't owned by the Hackspace. TS: Wouldn't expect policy to cover people using their own tools in the space.
    • TG: What would happen if insurers want more done for noise/dust mitigation than NM has proposed? We do it to best of our abilities, if we fall short then do more later.
    • Discussion to be continued in future.
  • G10 electrics: extra mains sockets and supply for Hardinge lathe - based on proposal here
    • General agreement that quote obtained by JW is a lot of money, for both items! And given we're likely to move out of the building before too long this is an investment we would not be able to move with us.
    • Ordinary mains sockets in G10:
      • CL: currently sockets are badly placed and not fully usable.
      • TSc: had a cheaper proposal, using a better extension lead with the right length of cable.
      • TSe: insurer's inspector may give guidance on what is required to meet standards.
      • TG: insurer may have problems with setup in G11 too, e.g. daisy-chained extension leads.
      • NM: What is response to quote? Ans: It's very expensive so we should see if we can get alternative quotes. Action: TSc offers to get alternative quote(s).
    • 3-phase supply for Hardinge Lathe:
      • TSc: may be able to use 3 electronic inverters with soft-start to run it off 240V 13A supply
      • John W commented in proposal that it would be possible to get a second-hand lathe for the same cost as installing a supply for it! (This would be a machine comparable to Matt's old lathe, i.e. smaller than Hardinge but probably big enough.)
      • RD: would like to be sure of lease terms before significant investment in building fabric.
      • NM: Building owner seems comfortable here and is unlikely to sell, but we don't know if we will stay.
      • Action: NM to set up a poll to assess whether members would prefer to proceed with Hardinge lathe or to dispense with it and get a new one (less capable, smaller, easier to move).
  • New forum and moderators
    • Discussion about purpose of new forum c.f. Aktivix list or Google group
    • DW: Originally, GG set up for discussion of purely topics that are members-only - logistics of the space, arranging inductions etc. (being able to post to that list is a useful indicator of being a member). More recently all discussion has gravitated to it.
    • NM: question of moderation - who should be a moderator and what should they do? Purely filter spam? CL: yes, and point out when a discussion should happen on the members' mailing list e.g. inductions. Hasn't ever seen a post that should be moderated on any of the mailing lists.
    • Volunteers to be moderator? NM: RussC offered to be a moderator. CL: Need a reminder/summary of what topics are for members-only list in a stick post at the top of the forum.
    • TG: Does new forum restrict depth of quotes in conversation? Does it preserve the tree structure of a conversation? Both unknown. CL: In summary we need to know more about it, maybe try to energise discussion on mailing list. TSe: People should feel free to bump threads from public forum to members-only list if not a public topic, or equally in the opposite direction if would benefit from wider exposure.
  • Electricity bill
    • TSe has been looking into this. E.On had stopped billing us for the G11 space, but TSe has now reinitialised the relationship.
    • Arrears bill is only £30 for previous usage - less than we had feared.
    • Current bill is £335 for 18 May to 6 July, this seems very expensive. Don't know whether this is based on accurate information.
    • NM: Can we move to Ecotricity? Don't think we have a contract at present…
    • Action: TSe will check accuracy of bill and whether we can switch, will then take further action as appropriate.
  • Potential expansion into G12:
    • NM: From talking to Beth, the wider BV community would like a workshop space. NM suggested hackspace had experience in doing this and could advise on doing this, or indeed run it. Possible venue: one of the spaces in G12, approx 25% of the unit, is occupied by “Dallas” who hasn't been in for 3 years! Our licence says spaces have to be used regularly. G12 comparable in size to G10, currently has 3 other occupants, and also has a roller shutter door. Proposed steps:
      • Get Robert to agree to setting up the space, including kicking out Dallas. NM thinks he will be amenable to this although there is no precedent for doing so - will want to limit effort required on his part.
      • Set up a community to run the space, infrastructure around inductions etc. Separate from Hackspace?
    • DW: Concerned at capacity of Hackspace organisation to support more significant workshop management, given shortcomings of existing spaces.
    • CL: Having a shutter door for access is a benefit but also a risk since people could bring in large projects to work on and not take them away!
    • RD: If run by Hackspace we would have to pay business rates on this space.
    • NM: BV Studios members would pay for rent etc. collectively. Historically, NM has been unclear about allowing other BV studios residents to use equipment. CL: Previously there was a mechanism to pay small amount of money for single use of space, but this is now discouraged - would prefer people to become full members. TG: How to know if people are members or not? NM: just ask.
    • Types of work other BV Studios members would like to do? “Messy stuff” - resin casting, paint spraying. Would need to set up spray booth/extraction.
    • TG: If they put in 3-phase power supply would we go for it? NM: Robert doesn't particularly want to go for it, it's BV Studios members.
    • CL: Either it's formally part of the Hackspace or it's formally separate (but might be run by the same people).
    • It's an interesting idea, we aren't opposed in principle but we need to know more before taking this forward. We think it'll be complicated around insurance, rates, membership, capacity to organise & run the space. But “many” people in BV seem interested so maybe they would pick up some of the effort…
    • Continue discussion.
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