Hackspace Proposal

Laser Cutter Replacement

Arthur Amarra

Ross Mowat

Nic Marshall

The Current machine is privately owned and unreliable. I propose we aim to replace it with an A0 sized 80w laser cutter that will be Hackspace owned, and that we make usage rates much cheaper.

This proposal suggests we purchase the laser cutter from JustAddSharks. They have laser cutters ranging in size from A3 to A0.

The machine size we buy will be defined by how much money the Hackspace community fundraises. The end goal will be an A0 size, and as such this proposal will focus on justifying this size machine.

Practical Usage

  • A larger bed size will allow larger objects to be made opening up projects that are otherwise not feasible. This would include all larger projects such as objects we could wear, installations we could walk through, vehicles we could ride etc:
    • cutting clothes out from fabric,
    • parts for bikes, skateboards, gliders, drones
    • theatre props,
    • furniture,
    • installation art,
    • displays and so on.
  • A higher wattage will allow much thicker materials to be cut. It will also allow thinner materials to be cut much quicker, which might mean shorter session times, and less waiting for the machine to be free.


  • Some members are spending considerable amounts of money ( 1 hr per week @ £15 per hour = £750 per year and the cutter is being used for a few hours a week ). If hackspace owns it, any surplus over operating costs can be used for the benefit of all users.

Community work

  • The much reduced operational cost would open up opportunities for community work to support the Botlab constitutional aim:

b. In accordance with the Co-operative Principle of concern for the community, to make payment for social, co-operative and community purposes.

The reduced operating cost would increase opportunities for example: working with local guide units to encourage girls interest in technology.


  • Current machine has broken down before and only been repaired by the incredible efforts of Russel Couper and Bristol Braille finances. With its dusty environment and irregular maintenance the machine will probably break down again, effectively leaving us with no laser cutter at all. Owning the machine will give us reliability and control on usage costs, maintenance and developments
  • A large laser cutter will attract new members


  • Current Surveys support this proposal

This section will break down all costings. Please use this spreadsheet to refer to figures:



All money given toward this proposal will be explicitly understood as donations to Hackspace. There will be no financial return but there will be access to an incredible machine.

Once donations have been collected Hackspace will be responsible for the purchasing and then maintaining the machine.


Funds will be gained from donations (from members as well as outside sources), the Hackspace kitty, and fundraising. The end goal will be an A0 sized machine but there will be a stretch goal system of purchasing a laser cutter we can afford.

The various sizes and costs of the machines can be seen here:


Stretch goal aims:

  • A3- £3730
  • A2- £4810
  • A1- £5800
  • A0- £6790

This proposal is very ambitious and therefore requests all spare funds from the Hackspace kitty.

Spare funds are defined in the spreadsheet but await further clarification from the treasurer.

Fundraising ideas are currently being discussed.

Initial Purchase Cost

Initial purchase costs is broken down into: The laser cutter itself 10% discount for Hackspaces from JustAddSharks Chiller cost Extraction Piping cost Delivery

Please see the spreadsheet for figures: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M2B2dxCTMjIJQhNtoivSubwt7oFrMN22LK75ARDsEmA/edit?usp=sharing

Running Costs

On every machine there are the same running costs

  • Laser Tube replacement: £500
  • Mirror and Lens Set replacement: £150
  • Energy Usage: 17.1p per kw
  • Replacing the machine itself after 5 years

Please see the spreadsheet for calculations https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1M2B2dxCTMjIJQhNtoivSubwt7oFrMN22LK75ARDsEmA/edit?usp=sharing

With a 200% safety margin usage hours have been calculated at £5.13 p/h

This proposal therefore suggests a usage cost of £5 per hour.

Induction Fee

This is subject to debate still. It can be decided by the hackspace community after the machine has been purchased.

The proposal therefore defaults to a £0 induction fee.

This section will consider how an A0 sized machine will be installed.

Machine Size

The A0 laser cutter has a body dimension of 1,720mm width x 1,210mm depth x 1,070mm height. It also needs an additional 150mm round the back for a pipe for fume extraction.


Delivery will done by the company recommended by Justaddsharks. They can take the machine in via the outside shutter door in G11 and through the double doors of the studio.

Just Add Sharks have offered us free delivery after their Bristol maker faire on 23rd of August


This proposal suggests the laser cutter goes in G10 using the pipe and fan to the outside world extraction system.

Additional space in G10 can be easily made by questioning projects stored under tables that have been untouched for a year, tidying up storage spaces, storing the bike stand, reducing the size of the table by the bandsaw and moving the pinball machine to G11.

This section covers things that are relevant but can be considered after the machines purchase.


A group of 5 people should be trained on maintaining and inducting the machine. Initial training on for this group could come from either Justaddsharks or the London Hackspace.

Current people who have expressed an interest for this team is:

  • Russel Couper
  • Nic Marshall
  • Ross Mowat
  • John Willis

The proposal suggests that the maintenance team gets a discount on hourly usage (they only pay £3 ph) and get half of any induction fee. The team will be renewed annually if necessary.

Hackspace will finance all maintenance costs. This money will come from hourly usage costs and induction fees.

Usage Charge Payment System:

An RFID system has been suggested. This open to further review post purchase. This proposal therefore defaults to suggesting we continue using the honesty box system.

Free Delivery Offered

just add sharks sent me this email:

Hi Nic, I just realised there is one more thing we can offer you. We'll be coming to the Bristol Maker Faire on the 22nd of August, we would be willing to provide free install and delivery on Sunday the 23rd of August, the only proviso being that we would use your machine for some light cutting during the faire. Nothing serious though and our low power cutting won't reduce the life or mess up the machine in any way.



1st survey (Matts google survey)

click below to see initial feedback results.


2nd Survey (Nics SurveyMonkey survey)

Survey Results:


Members Opinions


  • Ross Mowat
  • Ed Rogers
  • Steph Tyszka
  • Russel Couper
  • Harry Gee
  • Arthur Amarra
  • Jonny Taphouse
  • Toby Scott
  • John Myers
  • Kaspar Emanuel
  • Simon Johnson
  • Jon Dowling
  • Libby Miller
  • Oliver Humpage


  • Alaric Snell-Pym (I'm all for it in principle, but it's a lot of up-front money. My feeling is that the hackspace should buy it, largely from members' subs, and we should save up for it, perhaps supplemented by people who anticipate being big users pre-paying for usage in advance to help the purchase.)
  • iwilcox
  • John Willis
  • David Henshall
  • Mike Thomson - Moved from support to undecided on 30 June. Don't want to see A0 stretch goal become strain goal. A2 machine seems more affordable and leaves room for other spend, but I'm happy to see a larger machine if member contributions raise enough.


  • Mark Palmer - Against this proposal but not against the notion of a smaller laser acquired through no strings attached donations.
  • Tom Gardner - Against this proposal. We need a cutter, but this funding model is fatally optimistic and unrealistic. Other proposals have more robust funding, e.g. Hackspace Proposal and Hackspace Proposal. I would probably support a proposal where the HackSpace financial contribution was <£1000.

Committee supporters:

  1. Matt Venn
  2. ?
  3. ?

Proposal polishing ahead of submitting for committee review on 14/7/15

Voting by community on 28/7/15

  • botlab/hsproposals/hsproposals_2014-09-19-new_laser
  • Last modified: 3 years ago
  • by felix.h