Member Handbook

From Asmbly Wiki

Asmbly Makerspace is a volunteer-run organization — upkeep and care for the facility is your responsibility, and we ask you to think about how you will contribute to maintaining a clean, successful makerspace.  Each member plays a part in helping the space to flourish, from keeping the workshop and bathrooms clean, to planning for the future and managing our finances.  As we continue to grow, we need each member’s contribution of time and creativity to keep us thriving.  Part of being a member is getting involved in the community to help out in some way (see Community & Volunteering).

Membership

Asmbly is an inclusive community where all are welcome. Membership is open to any individual over the age of 18.  

As a member, your responsibilities are simple -- Clean up after yourself.  Be courteous towards others (see How to Be Excellent). Pay your monthly dues.  Follow shop policies. Only store materials in the area you have permission to do so.  Volunteer where you can to help around the space.

Systems Used

We use several systems at Asmbly to ensure a well-rounded experience for members and minimize administrative burden (our admins are all volunteers!).

Neon

This system is used to manage memberships, classes, store purchases, donations, and more. Members can log into their Neon portal to make adjustments to their membership including updating credit cards, pausing, and restarting membership. In the portal, members can also register for classes and purchase items.

Skedda

To ensure availability of tools/shop space and reasonable occupancy levels, all shop/machine time must be scheduled. These reservations are made through our online scheduling system - Skedda. We have a private venue in Skedda meaning only invited users can register for our venue and see event information. Members are sent a registration link for Skedda once they have completed the onboarding process (see How to Join on our main website for more info).

Discourse

yo.asmbly.org is our online Discourse forum which serves as our main mode of communication for the space including announcements and most importantly community discussion. Members and non-members alike are encouraged to discuss projects and ideas with each other on the forum. We also use Discourse for reporting machine problems by posting in the appropriate Space Teams category. This gives all members equal access to information about the status of equipment at the space as well as learning opportunities on how to repair and maintain our tools.

As with face-to-face interactions, we ask all users on our forums to treat your fellow humans with respect. For more on our community guidelines, see this Discourse post here. Please note, none of our forums or community pages are an appropriate place for joke posts/sarcasm, personal attacks, antagonism, or off-topic discussion such as politics.  Posts that demean the efforts of volunteers working to better the space are considered extremely harmful to our culture.  Members with a history of problematic posts may be moderated or removed.

Having the ability to post in forums is a privilege.  Everybody has the right to make a mistake and learn from it.  Nobody has a “right” to post on a community page or monopolize a volunteer’s time in dealing with persistent behavioral issues.

Notifications

Because so much important communication occurs on our forums, we highly recommend all members check to ensure they are getting notifications for the categories most important to them. Check that your notification settings are set the way you would like by following this guide here.

If there is a specific area of the shop that you use heavily, you may consider "watching" this category so that you receive emails when there are new posts. This will keep you most up-to-date when machine problems are reported for this area. The Operations category is another useful one to watch as this is where we post updates about the space.

Wiki

This website you are currently on is our information hub for the space. There are two versions: a legacy ATXHS version and this Asmbly version. Asmbly and ATXHS combined in April 2021, however ATXHS had 10 years of operations and wiki contributions leading up to this time. To prevent confusion in policies and avoid countless hours sifting through data, this new wiki was created to reflect current Asmbly policies and procedures. The ATXHS wiki has a wealth of information about various tools at the space and is maintained for this and historical purposes.

Facility Access

General Info

  • Facility hours are 5 AM - 2 AM, 7 days a week (i.e. 21/7/365).
  • Areas or specific machines in the shop are listed in Skedda as "spaces".
  • Each member may book up to a certain number of hours per week across all workspaces (count resets on Monday).
  • You must provide a mobile phone number to complete your booking.  This will not be visible to other members, except the Board of Directors and designated Skedda admins.  This allows us a direct means to contact you in the moment should we need to speak with you during your reservation.
    • Note:  Only your name and Booking Title is visible to other members in Skedda, not the description or your personal contact information.
  • There are multiple slots available for booking the woodshop.  There is no difference between them, it simply allows for multiple members to work in the woodshop at the same time.  Members booked for the woodshop at the same time should work together to clean and coordinate use of shared machinery.
    • If you know you will be heavily using a specific tool in the woodshop during your reservation (e.g. router table), feel free to indicate that in the Booking Title field to let other members know.  Note that this does not guarantee sole use of that equipment during your reservation.
    • If another member booked concurrently in the woodshop has provided contact information or you wish to reach out to them through Discourse, you may contacting them to game plan in advance how you will work together in the shop.

Equipment-specific time limits

There are a few machines in the space with high demand which have limits on the length of bookings. Additionally, we only allow one "active" reservation at a time for these machines. An "active" reservation is defined as a reservation that will occur at some point in the future. A second active reservation may be made with "bumpable" in the Booking Title field. This indicates a soft reservation that another member may bump if they need the time.

  • Lasers - max 3 hours
  • Wood CNC - max 4.5 hours

How to Bump a Reservation

Reservations marked "bumpable" may be taken by another member if needed - this is called bumping a reservation. Member’s personal contact information is not shared in Skedda unless that member decides to share it in the title of their booking.  If the member has provided a mode of contact and you are comfortable reaching out, you may do so directly.  If a member has not provided their contact information in Skedda, you may also search for them in Discourse and reach out to them directly there.

If you would prefer not to contact the member directly, you may also email membership@asmbly.org and we will help make the adjustment. Remember we are a volunteer-run organization, so requests will take time to fulfill. Please give at least 24 hours advance notice when requesting help bumping another member's reservation and wait for confirmation before going to the space.  If another member requests to “bump you” and take your soft reservation, please kindly respect their request.

Small Businesses

While many makerspaces do not allow businesses at all, Asmbly prides itself in serving as a small business incubator with an aim to accommodate small businesses.  However, we must also ensure in doing so that it is not to the detriment of our other members. For this reason, we have additional booking restrictions for members who use the space for a common business.

  • A single business may only book a max of 2 sessions on a machine per day, regardless of the number of Asmbly members the business has.
  • Asmbly may impose further booking restrictions as necessary should a business's usage further impede accessibility to the broader community.

Equipment

There are many tools and machines at Asmbly and we love to see members utilizing as many of them as possible.  However, safety is of the utmost importance and some tools in the space require additional classes before members are authorized to use them (regardless of previous experience).  If you are ever unsure of how to use a piece of equipment or need a quick refresher, ask before using it.

Tools that Require Training

Broken, malfunctioning or dangerous equipment

We know that equipment sometimes breaks and accidents happen.  It's imperative everyone knows when something is wrong so the appropriate volunteers can make sure equipment is safe to use and properly repaired.  If you are using a piece of equipment and something breaks or you think something may be wrong with it, please do the following:

  1. Post about the problem on yo.asmbly.org, describing the issue and relevant circumstances.  Tag @workshop to make sure the right people see it quickly.
  2. Attach a large white note to the machine that says OUT OF ORDER. If a red tag would be more visible, use that.
  3. Disable the machine by coiling up its cord, taping over the prongs of the plug, and taping it down next to your note.

Your goal is to make it so that a person cannot operate the machine without seeing your notice. Posting a note on the forum allows other members at the space to know that it needs repair and is down, and gives leadership visibility into where we are seeing repeated downtime. Once fixed, ‘[RESOLVED]’ should be appended to the title of the original post; if you notice this hasn’t been done, just reply and a moderator will correct the title.

If repairs are done, the volunteer workshop steward will reply to the forum post and discuss how to prevent similar problems in the future.  If a piece of equipment is broken due to negligence, you may be asked to pay for repair/replacement and retake a lesson on how to use the machine.

Many members use the shop resources for production that supports their livelihood which may require work to be completed on a timeline.  We cannot guarantee machine uptime as a volunteer-run shop and should all work to ensure the health of equipment at the space.  With this in mind, please be respectful of all equipment in the space and treat it as if it were your own.  Hiding or failing to report damaged equipment endangers other members and the livelihood of the community.  It is a serious offense and grounds for termination of membership.

Hosting Equipment

Asmbly makes an effort to acquire and maintain equipment for members to use.  Most of the equipment in the space is owned by Asmbly.  However, some equipment belongs to members who generously share with the Asmbly community.

If you'd be willing to host a tool of interest to Asmbly, contact workshop@asmbly.org to discuss before bringing it to the space.  If you bring in tools or equipment without authorization, your tools or equipment may be disposed of at the discretion of the board.  All hosted tools must have a hosting agreement on file with the Director of Facilities.

Donating Equipment

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, Asmbly is pleased to accept donations that provide added value to the community. If you have something you'd like to donate, contact board@asmbly.org with information about the item(s). If accepted, we will provide a donation receipt for tax purposes.

Safety

Safety is everyone's responsibility.  Each tool and machine requires its own unique safety precautions.  Power Tool Institute, Inc. has safety videos under the Safety Education page of their website.  The video “Power Tool Safety — It's In Your Hands” is a good place to start on broad safety guidelines.  We recommend checking out PTI for all of their safety training materials in addition to the courses we offer in the space.  As always, if you don't know how to use a tool safely, ask before using it.

The SawStop table saw has an emergency brake designed to prevent the user from cutting themselves rather than the material.  This works off conductance and therefore can also be set off with wet/damp wood or other conductive materials.  If the emergency brake is activated for any reason while you are using the SawStop, you are responsible for paying for a replacement brake and blade ($160).  Please post in the Space Teams/Woodshop category on the forum at yo.asmbly.org to notify the emergency brake has been activated.  The SawStop will also be out of service until a volunteer shop steward can replace these items.  If there will be a lapse in equipment availability, the workshop team will due their best to notify members on the forum.

General Safety Regulations

  • Never operate any machinery or tool while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Protect your eyes — wear safety glasses at all times while in the shop area.
  • Protect your ears — wear ear muffs or ear plugs when in loud work areas.
  • Protect your lungs — wear a respirator or face mask when doing work that affects air quality such as woodworking.
  • Protect other people’s lungs
    • Use dust-collection every time when sanding or sawing.  For many machines, dust-collection is set up to initiate automatically when you start using the machine (e.g. SawStop table saw and compound miter saw).  Other tools like the orbital sander must be hooked up to a shop vac and turned on manually.
    • Apply noxious finishes outdoors including smelly paints, epoxies, aerosols, and solvents.  Take care to not get spray paint on our building or the concrete.
  • Respect your sharps — take the woodshop safety class and any specialty classes for machinery; lower blades when not in use (table saw, router, etc.).
  • Protect surfaces — use paper table covers when working on benches and scrap cardboard or other materials to catch overspray; refrain from spraying in windy conditions.
  • No projects in the aisle — keep aisles clear to prevent tripping.
  • Check inside of machines for sawdust buildup, especially the bandsaws.  If you don’t know how, ask another member or shop steward.
  • Clean up any oil, dust, or other clutter you make immediately to prevent machine malfunctioning or potential fires.
  • Work smartly — keep your hands and body out of the path of machines and secure loose items, clothing, or hair.
  • Protect your body — no open-toed shoes, wear clothes appropriate for the tools you are using (all clothes 100% cotton when welding), take precautions to protect yourself from kickback on machines where this commonly occurs, such as the table saw.
  • Never look at the welding arc — you will go blind!
  • Turn your car off — if your car is in the autobay, keep it turned off.
  • If a machine is not working, red tag it — See more details in Broken, malfunctioning or dangerous equipment.
  • Return tools home — Put tools back where they go and wrap cords.
  • Communicate — If tools are missing or broken, post on yo.asmbly.org in the respective Space Teams category.
  • Dispose of materials properly — Clean up scrap and take out the trash and recycling (see Materials & Waste).
  • Pets are not allowed — our lease agreement prohibits animals on site, therefore in accordance with our lease, no pets or animals allowed.

Materials and Waste

Scrap

Many projects result in scrap material.  Although these materials can be useful for other member’s projects, we can quickly get overrun with scraps.  As a result, we must limit scraps left in the shop to what can fit onto our scrap cart.  If there isn’t room on the scrap cart, then either trash scrap on the cart to make room for your scrap or trash your scrap.

Trash

In the back of the building we have a large locked trash dumpster labeled Asmbly.  The key hangs by the back door closest to the dumpster. The vast majority of the materials disposed of at Asmbly belong in the trash dumpster.  After taking trash to the dumpster, please shut the lid and put the lever down.  Asmbly pays for trash pickup, so bringing trash from outside to be disposed of at Asmbly’s expense is strictly prohibited and grounds for termination of membership.  This affects funds available for upgrading equipment and buying new machinery.

Recycling

In the back of the building next to the trash dumpster, we have a recycling dumpster.  It can be difficult to determine what is recyclable and what is not.  For instance, although paper and cardboard (which are recyclable) are made from wood, wood is NOT recyclable.  Please limit the items you put in the recycling dumpster to only what is allowed by the City of Austin’s streamline recycling guidelines.

Note that items containing food particles are not recyclable and should be placed in the trash dumpster.

Oil and Oil Filters

Texas law prohibits the disposal of oil and oil filters in dumpsters.  While you are welcome to use the autobay to change your oil, you must take this waste with you when you leave.  Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has a “Used Oil Recycling Program” you can participate in to properly dispose of these items.

Storage

In an effort to keep Asmbly clean and organized, we have rules about how materials and projects can be stored here.  You are required to take your projects with you when you leave for the day, however if circumstances prevent you from doing so there are options available.  Anything left at the space is at your own risk and likely to be discarded if it violates our storage policy as outlined below.  Each member is responsible for maintaining a safe, neat, and professional workspace.

Storage Policy Overview

  • Any items stored in the workshop must be in an approved storage area and require a storage ticket (hanging on the wall by the shop bathroom - fill the form out completely with name, date, and phone number).
  • Your items must be safely and neatly arranged.
  • There is no storage under the workbenches without documented special permission.
  • Failing to properly label stored items or exceeding the maximum storage time without documented approval may result in disposal of stored items.
    • Any items exceeding the maximum posted storage time will receive a text message, email, or Discourse post warning of their violation, then will be disposed of within 7 days.  If no contact information is provided, items may be disposed of at any time.

Refer to the image and table below for info on acceptable storage areas and max storage time allowed.

Storage202201.png
Storage Area Location Material Type Max Time
A orange metal shelf next to autobay sheet goods 7 days
B space to the left of storage area A vertical storage 7 days
C two shelves under paid storage loft projects 7 days
D two worktables nearest CNC router glue up and finishing large projects 24 hours
E area under paid storage loft approved exemptions only* approval basis only

Long-term Storage

If you have a project that is too big to take home with you every day, and will take more than 1 week to complete, you may request storage in area E (specials exemption area) by submitting an application BEFORE leaving items in the space.  

Storage area E is a very limited option that is accessed on a case to case basis depending on storage availability and storage size needs.  Requests for special exemption storage must include an estimate of space needed and length of time for project to be completed.  Note that long-term storage is only approved for 30 days at a time.  If you need more than 30 days, you will need to reapply.  You will also be asked to provide regular reports of project progress to the board as you work on it.

If you require routinely storing tools or materials at Asmbly, we have limited paid storage options available. Currently, we have 2'x2' spaces available for rent on a monthly basis for $25/space/month in the loft above storage area C and E. Email membership@asmbly.org if you are interested in acquiring a space.

If you have any doubt about whether you are following the storage policy, immediately post on yo.asmbly.org or email workshop@asmbly.org.


Discipline Policy

Policies - including those around bookings - are in place to ensure a good shop experience for all members. Our discipline policy progresses as follows:

  1. Warning - this may be given verbally by a shop steward or other appointed leader in person at the space or via email.
  2. Suspension - a subsequent violation will result in a one week suspension given via email. The suspension will be lifted at the specified time as long as the member responds to state a commitment to adhering to Asmbly policies.
  3. Termination - repeated violations or blatant disregard for policies may result in membership termination.

Note: The people enforcing Asmbly policies are volunteers and it's not the most fun job. Failure to comply when approached about a policy violation is very serious. Show your fellow members kindness and respect when receiving redirection. Maintaining a cooperative community space at Asmbly is very important to us and ignoring the redirection of an appointed leader in the space is a serious violation.