Members meeting - Tuesday 18th April 2023 - 19:30

:loudspeaker: Member Meeting

Date: Tuesday 18th April 2023 19:30
Location: Hackspace Manchester, Wellington House, M40 7FS
Web link: Not being held online - proxy votes allowed as always

We’ve tried to host hybrid online meetings the past two times, unfortunately the reality is it’s not a great experience for anyone and is plagued by poor audio quality, internet connection loss and another layer of admin for those of us trying to run the meeting. For this reason we’re not going to be hosting online as we have been getting a good in person attendance recently.

Proxy votes are allowed, and items can be raised in your absence if you send along a bit of text or a video prompt. For proxy votes please email with the name of the person who will be voting on your behalf.


To add your own points, please reply to this thread. Items posted immediately before the meeting may not be included. Please leave at least 24h when adding an item. Time may run out - usually meetings last 1h30 but can end earlier or later.

Brief Team Updates

  • Board
    • Finance
    • Membership
    • Outreach
  • Subgroup Teams
    • Metal
    • Woodwork
    • Visual Arts
    • Electronics
    • 3D printer
    • Digital Infrastructure

Hackspace items

  • Consumables list - approval of existing list. The hope is for discussion and suggestions, where needed, to be had on the forum in advance - Consumables list development
  • Outstanding Purchase Proposals and general feedback on new system
  • Discussion on new open evening format.
  • Getting more engagement in the space.
    • Trello / To-do list
  • Reviewing/Simplifying Rules - to be voted on whether to adopt new set
  • Restructuring of Board of Directors
  • Next Hack-the-Space Day
  • AKT charity skill share - anyone interested?

Member submitted items

Items raised in this thread can be considered for AOB.

  • CCTV and Security
  • Discussion on the space having Staff
  • AOB


Minutes will be written up after the meeting, posted below this thread.

Hi we can also account for number of days the machine / equipment was down. Like most resin printers are down, Laser cutter down for over 15 days. at least once a month people should be available for induction. 3d printer did not have any induction. wood word last induction was on 20th of previous month and the next induction is on 28th. so it’s had for new members to get working on their projects. This should result in reduction in member fees. or small allowance for projects.

The sorts of things you’re describing are service level agreements
Given that we’re a hackspace and everything is done by volenteer’s and have no employee’s I can’t see that sort of thing being realistic

If you really need access to a laser cutter at the moment I believe there’s a laser cutting studio in a shop in the middle of manchester at Fred Aldous who also sell craft materials.
But I think you’ll find they charge a lot more than the membership to the space.

For the laser cutter typically in the past this has been the big money maker for the space so it’s always had priority.
But if we have to order parts for it there’s not much we can do.
Realistically this shouldn’t be a thing in the future after we get the 2nd laser setup.

For the resin printer I believe it works ok, but it generates a lot of fumes
so it needs some form of carbon filter, I’m not sure if it has a USB socket for one or if we need one with an external psu
but something similar to

We’re basically a do-ocracy, so the membership covers access to the space and the tools, but it’s up to the members themselves to look after it and try and improve it.

The laser studio in Fred Aldous is long gone, unfortunately. If you want laser cutting done as a service, there is, which I’ve used a few times and I find them very good - but it is much more expensive than our laser cutter hourly usage fee, because they are paying an hourly wage for someone to watch a cutter and guaranteeing results.

@garlicbread is correct in that we have no dedicated staff to ensure facilities are available. The membership fees pay for the building and basic services such as electricity and water. However, I do think we need to be careful about how the space is marketed. The front page of the website does appear to offer laser cutting and 3D printing in exchange for a membership fee at the moment.

I think this is a reasonable thing to add to the agenda. Since all the member meetings are held when I’m at work, this is all the contribution I can offer.

1 Like

@Ssshammi I think the others have covered your points in sufficient detail for the moment. Your points are to be covered under “getting more engagement in the space” as the root cause of 95% of Hackspaces problems can be put down to lack of members giving back.

@jimmacarthur I completely agree about the marketing of the space. I’ve been slowly rewriting the website lunchtime by lunchtime over the past 2 months to correct this sort of thing, e.g. the front page used to say something along the lines of ‘Just like a gym you pay a monthly fee and get access to all of the following:…’. Our rules do discuss that we don’t offer service agreements, but the quantity of rules, guidelines, and other such documentation there is floating around is another topic i’m trying to solve entirely :smiley:


I’m currently drafting a rewrite of the rules page on the website. I’m hoping this will be ready to be presented and approved at the meeting. Here are the current rules for reference:
Rules — Hackspace Manchester
Health & Safety Policy - Hackspace Manchester Documentation
Citizen Hacman Commitment - Hackspace Manchester Documentation

I’d like to replace these with one set of rules in one location.

Board roles

I’m also trying to redraft the board roles so that they’re slightly more specific. If these are done in time, it’d be good to get any feedback so that we can (hopefully) sail it through at the actual AGM later in the year.


Two things I’d like to discuss:

CCTV & Security
There’s been an uptick in crime in the local area, and some members have raised security concerns either about themselves or the equipment. Security is generally pretty poor at the Hackspace, but CCTV has some consideration we need to discuss as a group before we can implement it.

A Full Time Employee
As already mentioned on this thread, maintenence and training are two areas where the hackspace is really struggling - especially as our membership rapidly grows, but the number of maintainers and trainers doesn’t grow at the same rate. We could solve this issue by hiring one member to work full time in the hackspace, where they could run regular training sessions, and be responsible for the maintenance of the hackspace and boost health and safety practices and policies. This could also help address the security issue, by having someone in the hackspace who can stop another member from taking or leaving an item that they shouldn’t (during 9-5 or whatever the working hours would be). There are considerations such as employee liability insurance, other paper work and hackspace dynamics that we should discuss before voting on the idea.

Thanks @SyntheticRabbit, I’ve added them both to the agenda. Just to clarify in advance, we wouldn’t be voting on whether to employ someone at this members meeting, but you are welcome to ask for a show of hands to gauge interest after some discussion.

Thanks for adding them to the agenda :slight_smile: Not sure I follow about the voting - I was under the impression that actions are agreed upon by majority vote at member’s meetings? Your original post mentions proxy votes so I just assumed based off that. So taking into account what you said, are actions agreed upon at members meetings later voted on at a Board meeting? @Josephxtian

Smaller, simpler and less complex topics can be agreed and voted on at a members meeting without too much hassle. Larger things require some level of preplanning and presentation to the members.

In this case we couldn’t have a formal vote on whether to take on a full time employee at the meeting as we don’t have an informed picture of what this looks like. We’d need to know the cost to the space, any changes to the constitution that would be required, changes in legal status, any other impacts that it might bring to us. This would then be presented to the membership, and then a formal vote would happen, probably at an AGM or EGM for something as large as taking on an employee.

1 Like

Gotcha @Josephxtian, thanks for clearing that up for me :smiley:

Can we talk about the internet issues and then solutions

Meeting minutes — 18 April 2023, 19:30

Vasilis Apostolakeas
Alex Bennett
Dominique Carroll
Joseph Christian
Mark Dale
Ben Dooks
Michael Hindley
Chris Hunter-John
Rob Jackson
Reiss Jones
Nathan Khadaroo-McCheyne
Samuel Miller
Luke Nolan
Periklis Petropoulos
Kevin Welton (left c. 9pm, proxy: Michael Hindley)
Richard Westwell
Jasmine Wheatfield

Jim Ratcliffe (Mark Dale)
Peter Roberts (Mark Dale)

Brief Team Updates

Some board members have been absent/uncontactable for a while, so no meeting has taken place since November. The board asks people to think about running for election in September. Joe will not be around after Xmas as he will be away. The board can begin handover soon, so please let Joe know your interest as it’s never too early to take tasks on.

Overall picture is healthy. We had c. £5k allocated to spend on updating aspects of the space (broken/missing/aging tools/equipment, etc.). There was a worry that this would be poorly/mis-spent spent, but to date only £3k has been requested through purchase proposals. Please ask if things need replacing — the money is there. If anyone has ideas, please let the board or workshop teams know. Our general bank balance is just under £25k. On average, we generate about £1.5k ‘spare’ money per month.

We now have an iZettle (card payment machine for Snackspace). This seems to be well used and is bringing in money each month, but it’s hard to calculate exactly how much money is being taken in between cash, membership system and card reader. Taking a rough average, it looks like a fair amount of stuff isn’t being paid for. A reminder for members to ensure they’re paying for things from the tuckshop.

Rent has gone up 20% in April 2023, which is the first rise since our lease began in 2019. This is in line with the conditions of the lease.

Insurance has been renewed. There is some concern that we may be in breach of fire regulations because some of the illuminated fire exit signs are missing the plaques, and our fire extinguishers need an annual audit at a cost of around £7-£9 per unit. @Josephxtian is looking into this. If anyone can help, please speak up.

Around 240 members. This has remained steady for about 4 months, despite new sign-ups, which indicates some turnover.

Were contacted by an LGBTQ+ charity for young homeless and house-vulnerable people about running activities. Tom Hall (member) has volunteered to run it. The activities were going to be DIY related, but we are considering something more crafty/fun. Please get in touch with Tom on the forum post if you’re interested. It would be good to have other LGBTQ+ people involved to serve as role models.

Subgroup Teams

We have updated/are updating a few pieces of equipment in line with recent risk assessments, and have organised some areas following the recent Hack the Space Day. We also have two new trainers on the large tools. Bandsaw remains temperamental, and we are working to find out what the issues are with that machine. We have also put through several successful purchase proposals for new/better equipment.

We have lots of new machine trainers added, so thanks to those people for coming forward.

The table saw is now fixed, so we are just waiting for dust extraction to be finalised before putting it back into use.

Other small tools (pillar drill, larger belt sander, bobbin sander) are now working again. The Evolution mitre saw is broken, which we believe to be an issue with the speed controller.

A member reported an incident with the lathe where a workpiece exploded and flew across the workshop. Nobody was hurt, but the team looked into it and concluded that it was a freak occurrence that is accounted for in training and the risk assessment. However, this serves as a reminder that people should report incidents using the QR codes around the space or Telegram. This allows the teams to have a full picture of how equipment is used and lets the teams put adequate safeguards in place. Thanks to the member in question for reporting the incident.

Visual Arts
The team is rearranging the space to accommodate the new large blue laser cutter (Bluey). They have also updated risk assessments for the big sewing machine.

Some small tweaks need making to some equipment based on the risk assessments done in March.

Work is progressing on the new laser cutter. Extraction is a major consideration, as is construction of a wooden cabinet. The team believes Emerge can do this. There is no specific ETA on this work to be complete; it depends on people’s availability.

An expensive soldering iron went missing, but the team did not know if it was an historic anonymous donation that was reclaimed by its owner. We now have two new soldering stations in place, but please don’t use leaded solder with these. A reminder to all members that equipment is not to be borrowed or taken outside the space, even temporarily.

3D printers
Operation and inductions are going well.

Resin printers are still offline because of issues with the extraction. We can buy the carbon filters required, and some proposals may be coming in for that.

It has been decided that existing trained users will not have to be retrained under the new process due to the low risks involved.

Digital Infrastructure
The biggest change has been acting on feedback on usability for newcomers. The team has made some changes about information provided when people sign up. New users are now clearly signposted to relevant areas.

Training procedures and usage procedures need updating, but this is dependent on two people’s time, and these members are also active in other areas of the space.

Hackspace items

Consumables list — approval of existing list

Joe (and Chris Hilliard and others) have created an updated consumables list.

It was previously not clear to many members how consumables could be purchased. We had list(s), but this wasn’t complete or widely known about, and the mechanism for reimbursement wasn’t clear. Desire was to bring consumable purchases in line with the purchase proposal system for one-offs.

List was adopted by unanimous vote. Any members can now buy items from this list as needed and claim money back using the claim form.

Outstanding Purchase Proposals and general feedback on new system
Feedback was very positive on the purchase proposal system. There was a request that we lower the board requirement for a microproposal to 1 board member. This was unanimously approved by vote.

There was a question about a purchase proposal being put towards a service (e.g. printer repair by a technician). Board response was that it can.

There was a request for a quicker payment method for snackspace. This would be improved with more defined board roles (e.g. treasurer — see below).

There was a question on the maximum amount for reimbursement. There is not one specifically, but the board will query large expenses, and these should probably be run past the board before submitting in any case to ensure a balanced budget each month.

Discussion on new open evening format
Open evening tours are now at set times (18:30, 19:30, 20:30) and tour guides are organised on a rota. This works well enough, but some people have been missing their slots.

There was a request to set slots up in the space’s Google Calendar and automate reminders for volunteers.

ACTION: @rjackson and @SyntheticRabbit to look into that. @mikeh can assist connecting the right people into the right comms groups etc.

Getting more engagement in the space.
There is a constant need for volunteers, but some members find it difficult to understand what jobs need doing. Joe has created a space-wide Trello / To-do list, which is linked on the main page

@DominiqueTink noted that it would be good to refresh the notice board area for those members who don’t use Telegram/the Forum and has volunteered to do this.

Reviewing/Simplifying Rules - to be voted on whether to adopt new set 1
We had several sets of Hackspace rules, which all differed slightly. Joe has consolidated these into one document and made some slight changes. The original rules had four headings with a long descriptive paragraph underneath. They were written in quite fun, colloquial English, but could be difficult to navigate and may not be clear to people whose first language is not English.

There was debate about the inclusion of Rule 0 (Do not be on fire). Those for said it was a tradition in Hackspaces, was fun(ny), and made it clear that members should use common sense. Those against said it was unclear and could put new members off as a result.

The rules (minus Rule 0) were voted on and adopted. All voted for this, bar two, plus two abstentions.

Rule 0 was voted on separately. 5 voted for it, 7 against, and 4 abstained.

Restructuring of Board of Directors
Currently, board members do not have explicit roles. Tasks are shared out based on who can do them.

One current problem is that it’s easy for board members to go quiet because they don’t have specific roles, yet there is always plenty to do. This can result in major to-dos not getting done.

In 2020, a (then) board member proposed a new structure at a meeting, which outlined roles for the board with defined responsibilities, like chair, treasurer, etc. Defining roles also makes it easier for members to run for board because they know where their skills will fit in.

Mark Dale noted that he was on board when this proposed structure was adopted, but the roles were not fulfilled in practice.

ACTION: @Josephxtian will draft a proposal along these lines to be voted on at the AGM.

Next Hack-the-Space Day
Opinion was that a summer event would be good, and the VA team also mentioned a “Hack the VA Day”.

There was a desire to construct an area for spray painting or other messy/fume-producing activities, which raised further questions about other equipment needing extraction (laser, resin printers, welding). Members are encouraged to make proposals about this, either on the forum or at members meetings.

ACTION: @mikeh to set date for summer HTS day

AKT charity skill share - anyone interested?
Already mentioned above. If interested, there is a forum post.

Member submitted items

CCTV and Security (Reiss Jones)
There have been some recent incidents of crime nearby. Can we install CCTV to monitor the area directly outside the main door? The idea would be to improve CCTV coverage of Pollard St. E as the area outside the space is currently not covered.

We currently have a camera installed there, which was relaying footage to a monitor inside the entranceway acting as a peephole to check who was ringing the door. The monitor was removed at some point. @Ben_Dooks1 volunteered to reinstate this during upcoming wiring work. Note this setup only provides a live feed to the monitor. No footage is recorded.

If we want to record footage, GDPR and other legal issues are a consideration. These would need working through. We might need a data protection officer (DPO) which the space currently does not have (and does not need to have). It was raised that CCTV footage might fall into ‘special category’ data (ethnicity).

A vote was taken about whether people are in principle (and without comprehensive legal research) in agreement with recording CCTV footage of the area directly outside the Hacksapce front door? All voted for, with 2 abstentions. This does not constitute a decision to install CCTV recording equipment.

ACTION: @SyntheticRabbit (and any volunteers?) to look into legal ramifications of CCTV recording.

Discussion on the space having Staff
Reiss suggested it would be a good idea for the space to employ someone, but withdrew the item after having seen the space finances earlier in the meeting. Private conversations ensued.

Meeting ended 21:37.


Rules have now been updated on the website as per my action.