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New Laser Cutter Project 2014/2014-01-22 Initial Meeting

< New Laser Cutter Project 2014
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Meeting 22-01-2014

Ideas meeting for purchasing a new laser cutter. Finance is a larger issue to be discussed as well.

Dominic Morrow, Andrew Armstrong, James Hayward, Martin Rainsford, Michel Foor-Henry.

Main idea from Dominic and Martin (only one suggested). See: Sharks Laser Proposal. Main things:

  • £4000.00
  • Software can be used on more than one laptop (only one )
  • Chiller can run both lasers
  • Bed size is 1200x900 cutting area
  • Note: The shipping cost is not included in the £4K and James suggested the space pay it. Currently is unknown cost.

Will investigate alternatives. Similar one from other companies are around £6000:

Raising money:

  • We have this cost of X amount, how do we get it?
  • Pledge drive can be tried first
    • Will this include laser time?
      • Argument is people will pay more for "free laser time" if payment is part of the usage, and if not then it'll be much less and be a donation.
  • Aim would be to raise the money in a few weeks of time

Using the laser cutter:

  • Feeling of pledges need to have something back for it (ie; usage of the machine)
  • Pay per use:
    • Expensive machine to run (most expensive on the space)
    • Money could go towards a new laser (and other things, like fixing it), or new machines (CNC machines etc.)
    • Note this might price people out of using the machine
    • Could charge at cost, or subsidised
  • Membership payment (from membership fees):
    • Easier to manage (no taking individual money, tracking it)
    • Issue possibly with overuse
    • What about
  • Both ways?
    • Possibly preferable for membership to have both options

Upkeep cost

  • Price list for replacement (laser hours for a tube and so forth)
    • 1200 hours for a tube, 12-18 months replacement time. Plus mirrors is £450.
      • 37.5p/hour or something? Perhaps subsidised.
    • Maybe £3 an hour for cost then?
  • £250 for power supply but these are replaced less often.

Final ideas

Main pay-to-use option:

  • £1 for 20 minutes (versus £1 for 10 minutes currently) was suggested which still makes roughly £2.60 "profit" back when taking into account average laser
    • Note option is there to charge what we want, just this is based off cost of replacement parts.
    • Pledge users would get time back for what they pledge (presumably)
    • Would this be changing in the future?
      • Change of price could go up or down depending on if we aim to do things with the money such as a second laser cutter to allow more people to use lasers in the space

Secondary free-to-use option:

  • Free to use; Hackspace subsidises the running and maintenance costs out of the standard membership fees done on an honour system
    • Remember average running cost is around 40p as above
    • Time could be allocated by scheduling or booking if in heavy use

Tertiary both-of-them options:

  • Allow membership to pay what they feel like through normal fees
  • Also have a pay-per-time option for those who want to pay through using it

Pledge drive the amount of £4000 with kickstarter-like extension goals of "more laser part spares" which are cheaper when brought with the machine.

  • Each donation gets the amount they donated back in laser cutting time (eg: Donate £30 gets you 10 hours time)
  • Pledges would need to be collected before a deadline to purchase
  • If funds are not made up decision would have to be taken on if Hackspace funds would fill the gap


  • Request for Comments (RFC) up until midday of the members meeting:
    • Agree on the laser we are buying
    • Agree on payment option (pay to use versus free to use)
    • Agree on pledge process
  • Results will be given at the 5th of February members meeting on final decision and if anything has changed
  • Pledge drive start that evening for the laser cutter, duration 2 or so weeks or up to £4000
  • Check on pledge drive process and see if more funds are needed and if project is successful
  • Collect funds from pledges by a deadline
  • Pay for laser cutter