Open Night Tours

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If you're around on any Open Night, you might notice people giving tours. The people giving tours have been authorised by the Membership Team to do so. This is to ensure that tours given on Open Nights include all the pertinent information prospective members need to receive, as well as making sure the prospective member is given a pleasant, accurate impression of the space.

Spotting a Visitor

Most first-time visitors to the space will walk in and look lost. They might look for Ein the Duck, but more often than not, they will wander around a bit and look confused.

You can go up to them and say "Hi!" Or ask them if they need any help. If they say they're interested in seeing the space, or want to know more, or want to become a member, ask them if they want a tour of the space.

If they have bikes, show them to the bike parking area, rather than leaving them in the comfy area, or, god forbid, the hallway.

Don't forget to introduce yourself!

What is the space?

It's always good to start the tour with a brief explanation about what the space is. Call it a communal workshop space, call it a group shed, call it whatever you want - whatever your definition of a hackspace is. Point out that it's entirely funded by member dues and contributions, and members make all the decisions and work together to make the space what it is. Everything is volunteer driven, and members are expected to put in a bit more than they take out.

Ask the visitors if they've heard of hackspaces before, and how they heard about our space. They might have friends who are members, they might have seen our website, they might even be members of other spaces.

What do members get?

Start telling them all about what members get - access to all the tools and consumables, a say in how the space is run, how it works, and where the money goes, access to the wifi, and 24-hour access to the space itself. Bring up the Google Group as a great place to get info about what goes on in the space, the wiki and website have shedloads of information, and there are volunteer teams that take responsibility for parts of the space - like the Laser Team or the Membership Team or the Snackspace Team, and there's a Team Slack where people can talk and plan.

Point out the magnetic lock on the door and how members need an RFID card to get in. Any RFID card or dongle that can be read by the system can be used - including City cards, bus cards, Mango cards, Oyster cards, work IDs, etc. Point out that some cards will function for the door but not function with the laser cutter, so we give out plain white cards for free with membership.

What's in the space?

This is the bulk of the tour, pointing out all the neat tools and consumables we have for them to use. You can go in any direction you want, but this is a loose anti-clockwise route that shows off everything.

Comfy area!

Things to point out:

The comfy couches and the nice lighting. Say it's a nice place to relax, eat, work on laptops, read, do small crafty things, or just generally chill out.

The musical instruments and tell them about Folk and Old Time Music night that happen regularly on Monday nights - open to the public and for all skill levels. They also have a Facebook group where they share pieces and organise their activities.

The projector and computer, telling them about how they can show videos or presentations, and how we occasionally have member-only Bad Movie Nights on Fridays.

The library, including how the books are long-term loans or donations, and cover a wide range of subjects.

The museum of obsolete technology.

Studio!

Things to point out:

The good lighting and tables making it great for working on not-too-messy projects.

How we have workshops in this room because it's easy to organise. If you know of upcoming workshops, talk about them.

Large-project storage and how it's used and what it's used for. If you know about some of the projects on there, point them out in particular as things people are doing at the space.

RFID Induction Hijinx!

Things to point out:

How the induction system works with some tools. Try it out with your RFID card for "DENIED" fun!

The embroidery machine and the nice examples on the wall.

The 3D printer and the nice examples we have.

Craft Area!

Things to point out:

Industrial sewing machine and overlocker, saying that with any large tools, if you ask on the Google Group, someone can show you how to use them safely. If they ask what an overlocker does, show them an example of the stitches.

The craft desk and all the supplies on it, including that these are all consumable as you see fit.

The storage area, including the fabric, the hand-knitting yarn, the machine-knitting yarn, the beads, the leather, the paper, and all the other bits and pieces that make up the craft area. Mention that we have several sewing machines, knitting machines, bead looms, and other tools for craftwork, and they're all available to be used, as well as all the consumables are to be used up as anyone sees fit.

If they seem to think that they'll never need anything from the craft area, point out the googly eyes or the glitter. Because, sometimes, you need eyes. Or glitter.

The cutting table and how it's great for working on large projects that need spreading out.

2.5 Map!

Show off the map. Point out where you're currently standing.

Talk about the 2.5 nights. Talk about how everyone is helping out. Encourage people to help out.

Point out how it's all being done properly, and maybe tell a few horror stories of bad DIY.

Workshop!

Before you go into the workshop, point out that it's very noisy and you might have periods where you can't talk or you'll have to shout.

Don't shout if you don't want to. You can ask people to briefly stop working on their projects when you're in that area.

Electronics Bench!

Things to point out:

The tools available, including the soldering irons, testing equipment, heat guns, tiny drills, and other bits.

The huge range of components and consumables, all free for members.

The Printed Circuit Board (PCB) etching equipment, which means you can create your own circuit boards from scratch.

If they need help on an electronics project, suggest that the Google Group would be a good place to go to look for help. Everyone will have an opinion.

Consumables!

Things to point out:

Everything on that shelving can be used.

All the bits can be used.

Most of them have been donated by members. But we also have a Consumables Group that buys bits and pieces that we need in bulk, like good screws and hot glue sticks and things like that.

If they ever want to put something on wheels - show them the wheels box.

Laser Cutter!

Things to point out:

The laser cutter works wonderfully on acrylic, MDF, plywood, card, leather, foam and some types of rubber. Show off examples from the scrap piles.

It doesn't work on metal, glass, and it makes felt too fuzzy and biscuits inedible.

You need an induction to use the laser cutter. Why? Because the laser cutter itself can get out of alignment very easily, the software is difficult to understand, and if you're not careful, it WILL catch on fire. Show off the burnt piece of wood.

Mention that the induction is £20, and that to use the cutter, you pay £3 for every hour. Google Group/Wiki for the induction information.

Spray Booth!

Things to point out:

Fully ventilated - dust doesn't come in, fumes don't go out.

Hooks and places to leave things to dry.

This might be a good place to also bring up the Do Not Hack policy. If it has a name, a date, and says Do Not Hack - leave it alone!

Bike Area!

Things to point out:

All the bike tools

All the bike bits

Bike parking for members - a nice safe place to park if they're going into town.

Lots of members know about bikes - ask the Google Group for help.

No, we do not need your bike parts, thank you.

Donations!

Things to point out:

That we like getting donations of things that work or can be broken down into good consumable parts.

That we do not like getting CRT monitors or TVs, large computer cases, broken computer bits, junk, rusty metal, printers or bike parts.

Metal Working Area!

Things to point out:

Myford Metal Lathe! It was purchased by members running a pledge drive - where everyone gets together, decide that they really like a tool, and that they want to chip in to buy it. Say it's from the 70s, and that it came from Beeston, so it's a bit of Nottingham history too. The lathe does two-dimensional metal milling.

Bridgport Mill! It was also purchased by a pledge drive, and it does three-axes metal milling. Say that both the mill and the lathe require a one-on-one several-hour induction/training session to use safely, and that you can find out about this on the Wiki or on the Google Group.

Grinders, welding equipment, saws and other metalworking tools.

Dusty Area!

Things to point out:

The wood lathe.

The table saw.

The belt sander.

How this area is separated to keep sawdust at a minimum in the rest of the workshop.

Woodworking Area!

Things to point out:

The big pillar drill (another pledge drive!)

The hand tools, including how we're in the process of replacing our bad/not-so-great tools with really nice professional-level tools, such as the new drills.

The small power tools, and how if you're not comfortable with a tool, just ask for help.

Sink and Screenprinting!

Pull out one of the screenprinting frames to show off the kind of things we do with screenprinting. Point out the UV cabinet (but don't open it!) and then point out the giant sink and how great it is for washing anything that doesn't belong in the kitchen.

Safety Equipment!

Briefly point out the safety equipment before you leave the workshop. Make sure they know it's there when they need it.

Toilets!

Briefly point out the toilets, just so they know where they are.

Kitchen!

Things to point out:

The oven, toaster, microwave, kettle, urn, hot plates (above the cupboards), dishwasher, and other cooking implements for making delicious things

The pantry/communal food storage area and fridge. Make sure they know that they're responsible for it if they put their name on it, and that clean-outs do happen.

The tea and coffee, and how it's always free. Donations are more than welcome, whether it's cash in the tin or going out to get milk when it's out.

Vending Machine!

Show off that the vending machine vends food.

Point out that, for members, the same RFID card that got them into the space can be used to start their vending machine tab, which they're reminded about monthly.

Point out the Space Raiders. You know you want to.

Blue Room!

Things to point out:

A place for members to hide out if events are happening - point out the lock on the door.

A nice place to work if you're away-from-the-office/freelancing. Mention how quiet it is during the day (which may be hard to believe depending on the dance studio's noise levels).

How monthly Open Members Meetings are held in here on the first Wednesday of every month, and how everyone can have a say in how the space is run, what sort of things are purchased, what the space does, and how the space will work in the future.

The computer and printers, which are available for members to use if they need to.

The giant TV, which is also available for members to use.

Storage Room!

Point at a storage box and tell them that every member can buy a storage box for £5 and use it to store things so they don't have to cart everything back and forth.

Point out that room is tight.

What does membership get you?

Repeat that membership gets you full 24-hour access to the space and all the tools and consumables, as well as a voice in how the space is run and where the space is going. Say that they can also run to be a trustee, who is legally responsible for the space as a limited liability company.

This is usually when they ask about membership fees. WE HAVE NO SET MEMBERSHIP FEE. It is entirely up to each individual member to decide what they want to pay, and it depends solely on what they think is right for how they are using the space. It's up to each person to decide what the space is worth to them and what they can afford, and it can be changed as their situation changes.

Point out, however, that it costs around £11 an hour to keep the space running. That's just paying the rent and keeping the lights on. That's not fixing anything up or buying new tools.

All membership dues are paid in by standing order. No, we do not take cash. You can change the amount at any time, you can stop it at any time, you can restart it at any time.

We want you to want to be here.

How do they become members?

This is where you bring in a laptop or tablet that has HMS loaded - look around the studio and someone should have it. The process is as follows:

  1. Person enters their email address into HMS, with the option to sign up for the newsletter.
  2. Person receives an email from HMS asking them to complete their details.
  3. Membership team reviews the details (just to make sure it's not a robot), and moves the person into stage 2.
  4. Person receives an email with all the standing order information, including a Account Reference code.
  5. Person sets up the standing order at their bank with the Account Reference code.
  6. Every night, the data is pulled from the bank and entered into HMS. Any new members in the system receive an email with the door codes, as well as telling them to get their RFID card activated.
  7. Person comes in the next Wednesday, gets their RFID card activated, and boom! Member!

Point out that emails have a tendency to hide in the Spam folders, so to always check before bugging everyone. And that the turnaround, if they're timely with their standing order, is usually a week.

Now sit them down with HMS in front of them and get them to sign up!

Any more questions?

If they have any more questions, you can either answer these yourself, or see if one of the regulars in the studio can answer.

Tell them they're more than willing to go look around at bits, or ask people what they're doing, or just generally enjoy the space. If they have something they want to work on, let them go and do that - after checking that they're comfortable with the tools they want to use.

Set them free, and start the next tour!