Frequently Asked Questions
 
What is a Makerspace?

 It's a place for tinkerers and hobbyists to talk shop and compare notes. It's an unbounded blank canvas for creation, where ideas can be put to the test, and the stuff of legends cast in the forge of blood, sweat, and tears. Or just tablespace to work on your soldering skills. It's really up to you, as a participant, to create and define what the space ultimately becomes.

 

Another way to explain a hackerspace is to say it is a collaborative work environment. However, hackerspaces are also extremely varied spaces in terms of organization, mission, culture, scope, and size. There are small workshops where a few good friends get together to drink homebrew beer and hack on custom-designed 3D printers. There are also sprawling spaces hundreds-strong, a small village barter economy - with ideas and imagination as currency.

One aspect that is almost completely unique to hackerspaces is environment hacking: new furniture, storage space, workstations, lighting, and rooms. Most people are conditioned by having to grow up, learn, live and work in environments that have been created for them from the top down. Freeside completely inverts this social construct, and instead empowers its members to create their own environment, grassroots style.

It's interesting to note that many libraries are building hackerspaces. As books (and knowledge) ever march digital, what function and role does a library play in society? The library, as the institution we know today, is sure to vanish. The Hackerspace is the sole heir to its the social responsibility and function, to the ongoing development of skills, and as a curator and index of knowledge.

The Hackerspace Manifesto embodies Freeside values.

These sites give a great introduction to hackerspaces and the growing maker movement:

This bundle of RSS feeds is a collection of Maker/Hackerspaces.

Makerspace members both create and contribute to community projects. Project may involve as few as a couple of participants at a local makerspace, to many thousands of contributors across the internet. Some examples of projects that inspire makerspaces include: 

Here's a few other collected thoughts from the web about making and hacking, the stuff of real, meaningful, important and relevant work:

 

How do I get to Freeside?

 

How do I get through the pedestrian gate?

If you are a member or signed up for a class/meetup, use our handy web form & enter your email to gain access: Gate Code

What now?

  • After entering through the front gate, make a right to head west down the row

  • At the end of the row, turn right again to head north, and continue past the first "row" on the right (see the map below for detail)

  • Then, turn right into the second row

  • The Freeside entrance is on the left, Suite 6066

see map below:

 

 

 

Where do I park?

  • Parking is free at the Metropolitan. 

  • Please park in designated green or yellow areas as shown in the map below. 

  • Please do NOT park in front of any of our neighbors' doors, or anywhere there is a "No Parking" sign

  • Please leave room for traffic to pass behind your car, and do not block anyone else in.

  • Do not park in the red areas, or your vehicle will be at risk of getting towed.

 

When is the best time to visit Freeside?

We have an Open House every Second and Fourth Tuesday night around 7pm. At our Open House, you're welcome to just browse around and see what members are working on. You're free to ask to join the fun! The Open House has more of a social feel, but feel free to break away if you find something interesting to work on. If enough people gather in a cluster, the cluster may be led around.

We also have events and classes (just about) all the time. Check out and join our Meetup group for the schedule and to RSVP.

What are your hours?

Right now, we don't keep regular hours, but somebody is usually around during the day. Email us and ask ahead to make arrangements to visit - our members are more than willing to show off the space and its projects! Freeside is open 24/7 to members.

Can I show up to check out the space anytime?

 

Likely not, especially if you were not expected, and/or nobody knows who you are. Freeside is a pretty chill environment, but a lot of members come to work on projects with minimal interruptions. Some members might be uncomfortable to allow strangers into Freeside, or are unable or unwilling to bear the responsibility of hosting a guest. Instead, before stopping by randomly, email us to ask ahead to make arrangements to visit.

What kind of services do you offer?

Freeside is a non-profit organization run entirely by volunteers, so the organisation itself does not provide any services such as on-demand 3D printing, materials or machine time for construction of prototypes, consulting for patent applications, engineering, or software. However, a number of our members do provide services in these areas. If you would like to be connected with them, please contact us. Freeside does not rent storage space or work space to individuals, however, members can rent extra storage space if they are working on a particularly large project.

We do offer classes that you can take to learn how to do the thing you want yourself! Check out our Classes

How can I get more involved?

Freeside is a member-supported nonprofit organization. We're always looking for active new members, donors, and supporters. There are a ton of ways to get started. One way is to bring us something from our Wishlist! Probably the best way is to introduce yourself at the Tuesday Open House listed above.

The only thing that is required for membership is enthusiasm. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the space and all of the projects going on your first time there, but one of our goals is education and we'll teach you whatever you'd like to know. Don't wait for a class on it either - find a subject matter expert (SME) in the area that your interested in and they'll help you get started.

If we don't have a class/event/project/area that you'd like to see, just rally people to get it. If you can keep people excited about something, they'll help you build whatever you're looking for. The more that our members do this, the stronger Freeside becomes and the more resources you'll have at your disposal.

Do you offer short-term membership?

We do not offer day passes or short-term membership. The issue with short-term membership is that our community is kept strong by creating a high trust environment. Over time, people that have weak ties to our community and little investment in the continued success of the space may not take care of the basics, like keeping the space clean and putting away tools after working on a project. If a person is not interested in making a moderate commitment to Freeside membership, then we encourage them to continue to attend our open houses, other public events, or to get involved in one of our community projects, all free of charge.

That being said, we are in the process of approving a DragonCon Specialty Membership which would give you a discount for a few months leading up to DragonCon so that you can work on a cosplay project in the space. We love our cosplayers here at Freeside!

How do I get less emails from the mailing list?

We use Google Groups to manage our mailing lists, so you can go to the Google Groups page and manage your email settings there.

If you select the Abridged option then you'll get a daily email. The Digest option sends you an email every 25 emails to the list.

Who runs Freeside?

Freeside is entirely run and operated by volunteers. Our leadership is made up of a board of directors and three officers. We have six directors who are elected from the membership. They are responsible for setting policy and deciding the long-term direction of the space, as well as raising and mainting funds for the operation of Freeside. The officers, president, treasurer, and secretary, handle regular operations at the space and act as CEO, CFO, and secretary, respectively.

 

We also have teams of volunteers dedicated to specific tasks or areas in the space.

 

  • Safety and Risk: infrastructure safety, such as ensuring the presence of MSDS's, storage of potentially hazardous materials, and any major modifications to the space.

  • Projects and Inventory:  donations, issuing and enforcing long term project permissions (parking passes), maintaining project and member storage, and keeping inventory for the space as a whole.

  • Activities and Culture:  classes and all other scheduled events.

  • Marketing and Outreach: marketing, social media, press inquiries, and connections with other organisations.

  • IT:  external web issues, maintenance of internal computers and the single sign on system.

If you would like to volunteer to help Freeside, come to one of our build-out events, or feel free to get in touch.

What are the rules at Freeside?

These rules apply throughout Freeside unless they refer to a specific zone or area. Note that individual zones or pieces of equipment may have additional rules pertaining to their use. This list is maintained by the Safety and Risk team.

Contact them if you have any questions or concerns. 

  •  Rule #0:  Do not be on fire. 

  • Hearing protection is available and recommended when power and air tools are in use.

  • Do not wear gloves, loose-fitting clothing, unsecured long hair, ties, scarves or other articles that could become entangled when using any tool with a spinning or moving blade or bit.

  • If you’re working alone, make sure someone else knows where you are and when to expect you. Keep your phone charged & close by. 

  • Shoes are required in the workshop. Pants with cuffs, open toed shoes and sandals should not be worn while working. 

  • If you break it or find it broken, fix it, or seek help from someone who can. A broken tool is a dangerous tool. Don’t leave it broken without notifying the members list or filling out the Maintenance Report form*, putting a sign on it, and/or locking it out so it cannot be used until repaired. 

  • Never use damaged or malfunctioning equipment.

  • Disconnect power before adjusting, changing blades, repairing or moving any tool.

  • If you don’t know how to use a tool, find someone to show you how first.

  • Only use tools for their intended purpose. Tools that have been modified for a different/additional purposes need to be clearly labeled and documented. 

  • Keep a safe path clear to all exits and emergency equipment, including all fire extinguishers.

  • Flammable, poisonous, radioactive, hazardous materials, and biological samples must be properly stored and labelled. If you bring it into the space you are responsible for proper storage, labeling AND for providing two copies of an MSDS (One to be stored with the material, one in the central file). Do not use the kitchen or food prep areas for chemistry or biology work. Never store any non-food items in a food container.

  • You are responsible for the safe AND legal disposal of all waste materials from your projects. Used automotive fluids, batteries, and the like should be removed and taken for proper recycling or disposal. 

  • All spills must be addressed immediately. Cat litter, sawdust, paper towels, etc. are available. Think ahead and place a catch pan under anything likely to spill. For hazardous materials, attempt to contain, cordon of the affected area, alert the membership of the issue, and seek help to properly clean it up. 

  • Do not leave oily rags on the floor or in piles. Dispose of these in a proper container (metal can with a lid, or special rag holders in the auto bays)

  • When you’re done with it, clean it up and put it back where it goes. If you don’t know where it goes, put it back where you found it and find out where it should go next time. Clean and reset stationary power tools to a safe state. Workspace tables should be cleared every time.

  • Before you leave, move your project into member storageshort term project storage, or remove it from the space. If you have to leave something out (24 hours maximum), put a note on it with your contact informationLonger term project storage exceeding your member storage must be arranged with the Projects and Inventory team.

  • If your project is going to create dust, try to control it (shop vac, dust collector for wood tools only, physical barriers to limit spreading to a smaller area, do work in the shop, not the front where possible). Sweep up the work surfaces, tools, and floor around you when you’re done.

  • Welding masks are required for anyone using or observing a welder. You are also required to place a UV blocking curtain or solid objects between welding and other shop users to protect them from UV exposure. Let others present know you are welding and inform them how to safely avoid dangerous exposure.

  • Spray painting (and other materials) must be done outside to avoid overspray damaging tools and equipment and to minimize health and flammability issues. (*If we want to be able to paint inside, we need an area dedicated to this, and a paint spray fan/filter system constructed).

  • The equipment and power tools are not storage locations, workbenches, ladders, chairs, etc. Do not place drinks, food, works in progress, excess materials, etc on any piece of equipment. Do not use equipment to support projects being painted, sanded, or for any other task unrelated to that tool.

  • Read manuals, signs, and wiki pages for tool and machine specific rules.

  • The shop is for use by Freeside members. Guests may use the shop only under the direct supervision of a member, who is responsible for ensuring that all safety rules are observed.

  • Tools and equipment can not be removed from Freeside without the prior approval of an Officer or Director. 

  • Do not hack Freeside infrastructure, or any tool or equipment without prior approval.

  • Respect the space and its resources.

  • Respect your fellow members, their projects and property.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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