Member Handbook

These are the rules that govern our community.

Introduction and General Rules

These are the rules of Bellingham Makerspace. The board may amend these policies at any time by majority vote in two successive board meetings.

These rules govern our members, and are supplemented by policies that apply to all members, guests, and visitors.

Structure

The makerspace is a community of dues-paying members with shared interests in making things and using tools. It is lead by a volunteer board, and is organized into volunteer-led interest areas (areas that use common tools or work with similar material, or that wish to achieve a common goal). 

The makerspace community is varied and diverse, and that's the way we like it. We welcome anybody who is willing to abide by our Code of Conduct, regardless of gender, age, background, or ability.

General Rules

  1. Be excellent to each other.
  2. Leave things better than you found them.
  3. Be mindful that this is a shared space, and treat it as such. Be kind, generous, considerate, and efficient.
  4. When in doubt, ask someone.

Anything not explicitly defined in this handbook is fair game for improvement. If you can achieve rough consensus from staff and a viable proof of concept, then we'll give it a try.

Leadership

The makerspace leadership is best described as "loosely hierarchical do-ocracy".

Overall leadership is vested in the board, who then delegates to volunteer area leads, tool champions, and paid staff. That said, rough consensus and proof of concept are often the biggest drivers of change, and members are encouraged to work together to make the makerspace a place they want to be.

Board

The board is responsible for the safe, equitable, and ongoing operations of the community as a whole. It governs the commons spaces, and anything else not directly under the purview of a tool area.

The board:

The board must conduct at least one public board meeting every 90 days, and may address other issues with votes conducted in Slack or in ad-hoc open/closed sessions as needed. Board meetings are conducted using a simplified form of Robert's Rules of Order.

The board consists of 4-9 volunteer members. All members in good standing are eligible to serve on the board. Board terms are 3 years with a minimum 1-year break before eligibility resets.

The board may remove any board member by 2/3 majority vote. Any board member may resign at any time with 24 hours written notice to the president or secretary.

Any member that misses more than 3 consecutive board meetings without written notice to the rest of the board shall be considered to have resigned from their seat, and may be replaced at the discretion of the rest of the board.

Positions

President

The president of the board acts as first among equals at space, and may represent the space publicly and in business dealings. They are responsible for ensuring that makerspace rules and policy are carried out and enforced equitably. They chair the board, set the meeting agendas, and have signing authority on all accounts. The president is selected by the rest of the board and serves a two-year term.

Vice-president

The vice-president succeeds the president upon their resignation or termination, and may temporarily assume the role of president if the president is unavailable. They chair meetings in the absence of the president, and may assume other duties as designated by the board. The vice president is selected by the rest of the board and serves a two-year term.

Treasurer

The treasurer is responsible for managing the makerspace's finances. They have signing authority on all accounts. They may assume the role of president if the president and the vice president are unavailable. They may nominate deputy treasurers to assist with duties as needed, but these deputies do not have signing authority.

The treasurer must, as a part of board meetings, present a financial report that details:

The treasurer is selected by the rest of the board and serves a two-year term.

Secretary

The secretary keeps minutes of board meetings and publishes them for viewing by the membership. They are also responsible for managing organizational paperwork with the State of Washington and the Federal government. They may assume the role of president if the president, vice president, and treasurer are unavailable.

The secretary is selected by the rest of the board and serves a two-year term.

Directors-at-large

Directors-at-large are any board members without an officer position. They may present motions at board meetings and vote on all matters before the board.

Directors-at-large may take on additional tasks or chair sub-committees as needed at the discretion of the board.

Staff

The makerspace's paid staff act as the board's day-to-day representative in the space. The paid staff consist of one operations manager and one or more shop supervisors.

Operations manager

The operations manager is responsible for enforcing the makerspace's rules and policies. They are the primary point person on the maintenance and upkeep of common areas. They also:

Shop supervisors

Shop supervisors assist the operations manager in carrying out the day-to-day operations of the makerspace. They are responsible for any tasks delegated to them by the operations manager.

Area leads

Area leads are the first-among-equals in their tool area, and are responsible for its safe and equitable operation.

Each tool area must have at least one area lead. Area leads are nominated by the operations manager and approved by the board.

Area leads are authorized by the board to:

Area leads coordinate with the operations manager for training changes, scheduling trainings, and organizing classes within their area. All area leads meet together with the operations manager at least once per quarter to sync and compare notes.

Area leads have no fixed term, and may resign at any time by notifying the board president or secretary in writing. The board may remove any area lead by two-thirds majority vote.

Tool champions

Tool champions are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of specific tools within a tool area. They also assist the area leads in assembling the training criteria and documentation for those tools. They are appointed by and work under the supervision of the area leads for a given tool area.

Membership

In order to become a member of the makerspace, you must:

If you meet these criteria and wish to become a member, great! Sign up on the membership website and attend a new member orientation session. Once orientation is completed, members will receive their key card for the space, and may use simple tools. Members may also register for additional tool area check-off classes following new member orientation.

Orientation

Orientation sessions are held on alternating Saturdays and Sundays.

To join an orientation session, sign up for one on Eventbrite. If your schedule doesn't allow you to attend an orientation session at that time, contact the operations manager.

Cancellation

Makerspace memberships are month-to-month, and may be cancelled at any time. To do so, log into the member system and click "Subscriptions", and then click the menu next to your membership tier. 

Your membership will remain valid until the end of your subscription period (e.g., if your last payment prior to cancelling was on January 12th, your membership will remain valid until February 12th.)

Former members who meet the criteria for membership may rejoin the makerspace at any time.

Please note that tool authorizations and training for complex tools will only remain valid for 6 months following cancellation; if your membership has been cancelled for more than 6 months, you may be asked to retake orientation and tool training classes.

Membership Tiers

A basic summary of our membership tiers is listed here.

Supporter

Supporter membership is $19/month. Supporter member privileges include access to the makerspace common areas during public hours, and an invitation to all makerspace social events and outings. This tier is intended for those who wish to support the makerspace and be a part of the community, but have no need of our tools.

Maker

Maker membership is $60/month. Maker member privileges include:

Senior/Student/Educator

Senior/Student/Educator membership is $39/month. It confers all of the privileges of Maker membership.

To qualify for this tier, you must be one of the following:

You must prove your age/student/educator status with valid ID or recent transcript at orientation.

Household

Household membership is $89/month. It confers all of the privileges of Maker membership for any four adults from the same household. You must prove cohabitation (official mail, etc.) at orientation.

Volunteer

Any person who volunteers 10 hours or more per month at the makerspace may apply with staff to become a Volunteer member. Volunteer membership confers all of the privileges of Maker membership.

The makerspace caps the  number of volunteer members at 20% of total membership. Members must hold at least a Supporter membership and fulfill at least 8 hours of volunteer service with the makerspace prior to applying for Volunteer status.

If members fail to meet or account for their service commitment for two months, their membership may be converted back to standard Maker membership.

Resident Maker

Maker members can pay $239/mo on top of their regular monthly membership in order to rent a 10' x 10' studio space with 24/7 access to the makerspace. These studios are first-come, first served, and members may add themselves to a wait list for the next available studio space.

Corporate/Organization

Corporate/Organization membership are $5,000 a year. They include 8 Maker memberships for organization employees, and a 2' x 3' sponsorship banner anywhere on the common area walls.

Tools

The makerspace classifies tools into two categories: simple and complex.

Simple tools are those that require no in-person training, are often portable, and would cause limited or minimal injury or damage if misused. Examples of simple tools include:

Any member can use simple tools at any time. 

Complex tools are those that require training, are usually not portable, and would cause significant damage or injury if misused. Members must be trained and certified by an area lead prior to using complex tools. Examples of complex tools include:

All complex tools are marked with "Training Required" stickers. If you have any questions about simple vs. complex tools, please talk to a staff member, area lead, or board member.

Tool Locations

Each area has a sign near it with an assigned color. Tools for that area should have a band of tape corresponding to that color. If you use a tool from a tool area, please return it to its proper home when finished.

If you are not sure about a tool's proper home, you may leave it in the landing area next to the ops desk in the front of the makerspace. 

Personal tools

Members may bring in their own tools to use at the makerspace. Please mark your own tools! We are not responsible for them.

Do not use another member’s tools or supplies (our insurance policy cannot cover liability of tools that the Bellingham Makerspace does not own).

Checkout classes follow the SOP for that tool. There is no need to memorize how to run a tool – in fact we prefer you check with our volunteers and the wiki page for a tool for details. The wiki includes links to the specific operating manuals and other safety details for all of our tools.

Tool Safety

Tool safety is important. Failure to follow safety rules can result in suspension of membership.

Dull Tools

Dull tools are extremely dangerous. They:

If you think a tool's blades may be dull, DO NOT USE IT. Please bring any dull tools to the attention of the area lead or operations staff as soon as possible.

Tool Areas

If the board successfully votes to dissolve the tool area, the space for that tool area will be reallocated and its tools and equipment will get redistributed to other areas. Any remaining tools or equipment will then be listed on Craigslist and FB Marketplace.

Storage

Projects or materials may be left up to 72 hours at the Bellingham Makerspace with the permission of a Bellingham Makerspace staff member, provided that they are stored in an out-of-the-way location with a full name, date it will be removed, and a phone number of the project owner.

Items left on the premises for more than 72 hours outside of rented space or after membership expires will be removed or be made available to other members. The Bellingham Makerspace makes a best effort to notify people before material/projects are removed, but we cannot be held responsible for any item left at The Bellingham Makerspace under any circumstance.

Unlabeled items will be removed without warning or advanced notice.

Longer-term storage may be available upon request. Ask a staff member, area lead, or board member for details.

Consumables

Many of the tools at The Bellingham Makerspace use tooling that wears out (consumables). These include things like drill bits, saw blades, dremel bits, etc. We try to keep basic tooling available for most tools, but we cannot supply tooling for every possible project.

It is important that if something is broken, worn down, or accidentally abused that you tell a staff member right away. We try to provide the basics and may have replacements.

If you are working with a costly material or need high precision, you will be well served by bringing your own tooling.

Guests

A guest is someone who is not a member of The Bellingham Makerspace. One member is free to host up to seven (7) guests during member hours. All guests must sign a liability waiver.

Guests may not use any complex tool outside of a scheduled class. Guests may use simple tools under the supervision of their host.

Members are responsible for the conduct of their guests at all times. This means that members and guests are responsible for abiding by our Code of Conduct and guests of members are also held to the liability waiver that members signed. Any violations of policy by a guest will be considered a violation of policy by their host.

Guests may not visit the makerspace if they have previously been ejected/had a membership terminated for a Code of Conduct violation.

Classes

Bellingham Makerspace teachers are very important. We are always looking for diverse and interesting topics to add to our how-to classes.

Getting Started

If you are already a member of the Bellingham Makerspace, you’re interested in developing a class, and want information, please talk to the Teaching Coordinator, Jason Davies (​jason@bellinghammakerspace.org)​, or the Operations Manager.

You do not need to be a member of the Makerspace to teach a class here. However, we do need key information about your class before we can add you to our class schedule and assist with advertising your class.

If you already have a class and would like to offer it at the Makerspace:

- You must follow current infectious disease protocols for wearing masks, spacing, and sanitizing tools between classes.

Makerspace Class Types

The Bellingham Makerspace offers a wide variety of classes.

Class Type Schedule Sequence
Introductory Generally 1 hour, offered bi-weekly Required before reserving many tools
Tool proficiency, intermediate Can be multi-session, longer sessions, offered monthly May require safety or introductory classes to be taken first
Safety Generally 1 hour, offered bi-weekly May be required before taking other classes or for certain volunteer positions
Project-based Can be multi-session, longer sessions, offered monthly May require proficiency-level classes to be taken first
Special Interest Can be one time or multi-session Can depend on previous classes or be independent

Core Classes

Introductory classes are required before reserving many of our more expensive and potentially dangerous tools to make sure members can use them safely. These classes are generally offered at least once per month by our Tool Team. The classes below are our core classes. We try to schedule them out at least three weeks in advance.

Class Description
Intro to 3D Printing and Design Beginners class that covers: <ul><li>3D CAD design</li><li>Use of 3D slicing software</li><li>Printing on the 3D printers</li></ul>
Woodworking 101 Gain foundational woodworking skills and the tools required to process rough lumber for fine woodworking projects. Required for: <ul><li>Use of the Wood shop's large power tools</li><li>All other Makerspace woodworking classes</li></ul>
Intro to the Epilog Fusion Laser Cutter Beginner's class to cut and engrave with the Epilog Fusion laser cutter. Required prior to use of the Epilog Fusion laser.
Intro to the CNC Router Beginner's class to learn to cut with the CNC Machine. Required prior to use of the CNC Router.

See ​the class schedule for current information.

Typical Classes

The list of classes offered at the Bellingham Makerspace is always changing depending on teacher availability and interests. Examples of classes the Makerspace has offered in the past:

Woodshop Tools - Intro:

 - Basic woodshop safety

- Follow ups:

  1. Advanced woodworking techniques
  2. CNC milling machine

Digital Designs - Intro:

  1. 2D Vector Graphics and Inkscape

- Follow ups:

  1. Vinyl cutter
  2. Laser engraver

MakersSpace sabers - Intro:

  1. assemble a pre-made space saber

- Follow ups:

  1. learn to use the lathe to make a custom handle
  2. build saber with a color changing light display

Traditional Woodworking - Intro:

  1. Make a cutting board

- Follow ups:

  1. Jewelry box, wall shelf
  2. Make a table

Machine Sewing - Intro:

  1. Make a mask

- Follow ups:

  1. Make a grocery bag or tote bag
  2. Make a shirt from a pattern

3D printing and design - Intro:

  1. learn slicing, print a figurine

- Follow ups:

  1. make your own design in 3D CAD
  2. build your own 3D printer

Simple electronics - Intro:

  1. solder a light-up weevil

- Follow ups:

  1. use a breadboard and a timer to make a simple clock
  2. build your own radio

Coding and Raspberry Pi - Intro:

  1. Use a raspberry pi to make a blinky with a button

- Follow ups:

  1. Simple digital picture frame
  2. Build your own minecraft server

STEM for kids 

Planning Your Class

Makerspaces are not trade schools, and focus more on project-based learning rather than theory. With that in mind, we like to teach people how to make stuff, with the theory behind the tools and the skills is important as a means to the end of exercising creativity.

The following general guidelines apply for teaching at the Makerspace:

Requirements

Consider introductory, intermediate and advanced task levels in evaluating different projects and offerings.

Scheduling

Scheduling is determined by the Teaching Coordinator based on the information in the Class Proposal. Talk to the Teaching Coordinator and check the existing schedule to avoid conflicts.

In general, classes are offered on weekday evenings and weekend mornings to make them more available to the general public.

Weekday classes should be about 1 hour long. If you need more time than that, consider requesting a weekend time slot.

Plan to schedule introductory or stand-alone classes at least once a month. Multi-part classes or very technically challenging classes can be scheduled less often.

Things to consider when filling out your Class Proposal:

Tools and Supplies

Teachers can use any of the tools at the Makerspace provided they have:

Tool stations can be reserved in advance as part of the class approval process.

For details on available tools, consult the wiki. For specific tool use questions, talk to the Teaching Coordinator or Operations Manager.

Teachers can also bring their own tools. Make sure you have enough tools for the number of students in the class.

Safety

We are committed to making sure that classes are taught as safely possible. Teachers must verify they are proficient in the tools and subjects they propose to teach, and that they can teach their topic in a safe manner.

Logistical Support

How can we help you to create a good learning opportunity for your students? Talk to the Teaching Coordinator to find out more about Makerspace logistical support options.

Things to consider when filling out your Class Proposal:

Describing Your Class

Describing your class in the Class Proposal form is very important for attracting potential students. Be sure to use full sentences and describe the class in such a way that it sounds appealing to your intended audience!

Things to consider when filling out your Class Proposal:

Advertising Classes

How can the Bellingham Makerspace help get the word out about your class? Talk to the Teaching Coordinator about posters and social media advertising to reach your intended students.

Things to consider when filling out your Class Proposal:

Pricing

Bellingham Makerspace instructors generally charge between $20 and $50 per student hour separate from materials cost, depending on the experience of the instructor and demand for the class. Instructors keep 60% of all class income after covering the cost of materials.

We suggest a minimum of $25/hr per student for introductory classes. This price is lower compared to other local comparable class options, but should still allow the teacher to make at least $20/hour for their total time after accounting for the Makerspace's share of the proceeds from the class. For higher skill classes, continuing education, certificate programs, or classes that use expensive tools, teachers should expect to be compensated fairly for their total time.

Consider the amount you need to charge each student to break even on your time. When filling in the minimum students you need to offer the class, the number should enable you to still break even on your time and materials.

Cost of materials should be included in the basic class rate rather than listed as a separate expense. For example, if a class has a $5.00 cost of materials, it should be at least $25/hr plus $5 extra for materials; therefore, the class should cost $30 per student.

Discounts offered by the Makerspace:

Scholarships of 50% or more can be made available to an individual student at the request of the teacher, but they are not advertised. The Makerspace will cover half the cost of the teacher-requested discounts.

For a scholarship code to be approved:

Makerspace volunteers who have earned volunteer credits can apply them toward auditing classes. This option is reserved for volunteers only and is generally offered for tool training and safety classes.

Getting Paid

The Bellingham Makerspace typically shares the revenue from class registration with teachers on a percentage basis, teachers keeping 60% of the revenue after subtracting materials costs.

The 40% portion the Makerspace helps us pay our rent, utilities, tool maintenance, and insurance. Teachers using our space are covered by our insurance.

Taking Student Payments

Teachers will need to set up their classes on Eventbrite to take student payments. Payment is made when a student registers for class. Revenue is sent to the Makerspace and shared with the teacher. The Teaching Coordinator can assist or train new teachers in setting up classes on Eventbrite.

Paying Teachers

Teachers are typically paid twice a month on the 15th and last day of the month. Other arrangements can be negotiated on a case by case basis at the Teaching Coordinator’s discretion. We can use PayPal or write you a check.

Teaching Agreement

Once a class is approved, the teacher will need to complete a form with a signature acknowledging that they:

A copy of the Teaching Agreement can be found here.

Children

Children are welcome and encouraged in our community! Members may bring their children of any age to the makerspace under the guest policy.

Tool Use

Children age 8 and up may use simple tools under the active supervision of their parents.

Children age 12 and up may use complex tools under the active supervision of their parents. The child must take all of the required safety training classes prior to using complex tools, and parents are encouraged to take the classes as well.

Closing / Lock-up

Because there are members who use the space at all different times of the day and night, we ask that you take some time before leaving to ensure that you have cleaned up and secured any tools or tool areas you were working in.

If there are only one or two other members present at the space, let them know this ("I'm heading out, and you're the last one here").

If you are the last to leave:

How to Lock the Front Gate

  1. Grab the gate key and aluminum hook from the front desk area. The gate key is kept on the side of the key box.
  2. Use the hook to pull the gate down to where you can reach it, and then pull the gate the rest of the way to the floor by hand.
  3. Turn the lock handle on the left hand side to the left (counter-clockwise). To ensure the gate is actually secure, tug up on the gate. It should not move.
  4. Use the key to lock the gate. 
  5. Return the key and the hook to their location by the front desk.

Cleaning

Everyone requires space to work. When you are done for the day, please return tools and clear horizontal surfaces of materials and projects. Sweep or vacuum your work area if needed. If you are gluing up a project and cannot transfer it, get a parking permit.

Common areas are a shared responsibility. If you notice that a trash bag is full, the floor needs sweeping, or something is not where it belongs, please take a minute and help out.

Cleaning supplies can be found by the bathrooms, either in the cleaning closet or the shelf across from it. Trash bags and cardboard can be taken to the dumpsters behind the makerspace. 

If we are out of a particular cleaning supply, please notify the operations manager by Slack, or by leaving a note on the ops desk. 

Information Technology

The Bellingham Makerspace provides information technology for members to use as part of their projects or classes. This includes:

Appropriate Use Policies

References

This section is for anything not directly covered above, but still important.

References

Meeting Rules

Guiding Principle: Everyone has the right to participate in discussion if they wish; every member should get a chance to weigh in before anyone may speak a second time. Only urgent matters may interrupt a speaker. Only one thing (motion) can be discussed at a time; related issues should be tabled until the current motion is decided.

motion is the topic under discussion (e.g., “I move that we add a coffee break to this meeting”). After being recognized by the president of the board (or an officer elected to act as chair), any member can introduce a motion when no other motion is on the table. A motion requires a second to be considered. Each motion must be disposed of (passed, defeated, tabled, referred to committee, or postponed indefinitely).


How to do things:

You want to bring up a new idea before the group.

After recognition by the president/chair of the board, present your motion. A second is required for the motion to go to the floor for discussion, or consideration.

You want to change some of the wording in a motion under discussion.

After recognition by the president/chair of the board, move to amend by

You like the idea of a motion being discussed, but you need to reword it beyond simple word changes.

Move to substitute your motion for the original motion. If it is seconded, discussion will continue on both motions and eventually the body will vote on which motion they prefer.

You want more study and/or investigation given to the idea being discussed.

Move to refer to a committee. Try to be specific as to the charge to the committee.

You want more time personally to study the proposal being discussed.

Move to postpone to a definite time or date.

You are tired of the current discussion.

Move to limit debate to a set period of time or to a set number of speakers. Requires a ⅔ vote.

You have heard enough discussion.

Move to close the debate. Requires a ⅔ vote.

You want to postpone a motion until some later time.

Move to table the motion. The motion may be taken from the table after 1 item of business has been conducted. If the motion is not taken from the table by the end of the next meeting, it is dead. A majority is required to table a motion without killing it.

You believe the discussion has drifted away from the agenda and want to bring it back.

Call for a return to the agenda.

You want to take a short break.

Move to recess for a set period of time.

You want to end the meeting.

Move to adjourn.

You are unsure that the president of the board has announced the results of a vote correctly.

Without being recognized, call for a recount. At this point a roll call vote will be taken.

You are confused about a procedure being used and want clarification.

Without recognition, call for “Point of Information” or “Point of Parliamentary Inquiry.” The president of the board will ask you to state your question and will attempt to clarify the situation.

You have changed your mind about something that was voted on earlier in the meeting for which you were on the winning side.

Move to reconsider. If the majority agrees, the motion comes back on the floor as though the vote had not occurred.

You want to change an action voted on at an earlier meeting.

Move to rescind. If previous written notice is given, a simple majority is required. If no notice is given, a ⅔ vote is required.

You may INTERRUPT a speaker for these reasons only:

Other Discussion Etiquette

All discussion should be constructive - statements attempting to build agreement and find solutions. Non-constructive statements should be identified by the chair or other board members, and the discussion returned to a constructive mode.

If the discussion becomes too heated, the motion should be postponed to later in the meeting, or the discussion closed and a vote called.

Quick Reference

Action Must Be Open for Can be Vote Count
  Seconded Discussion Amended Required to Pass
Main Motion Majority
Amend Motion   Majority
Kill a Motion     Majority
Limit Debate  
Close Discussion    
Recess   Majority
Adjourn     Majority
Refer to Committee Majority
Postpone to Later Time Majority
Table     Majority
Postpone Indefinitely Majority

Shamelessy ripped off Lovingly adapted from The Bodgery, in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin.