At a recent members meeting, I said I’d write something about being a new member, with a view to it going on the website to help others.
Here it is:
You’ve joined Hacman, but now what? Here’s my experience of being a newcomer.
People are friendly and helpful, but Hacman can be difficult to navigate at first.
It consists of several physical areas such as woodworking, metalworking, electronics, visual arts. Woodworking, for example, has a group of people that run it. However Visual Arts is a collection of equipment located in the same space, but different groups run different equipment - the laser cutter and the sewing machines are run by different groups.
After joining, you need inductions before you can use most of the equipment. This is for good reasons (legal, insurance, protecting you and Hacman). There is a place on the website, under “Tools and Equipment” where you can say which equipment you’d like an induction. However this isn’t usually enough to get one. It’s better to go to the relevant Telegram group and ask there. If you don’t get a response (Hacman is volunteer run, so people can be busy, or leave Hacman, resulting in gaps in teams) it’s fine to ask again after a few days. It may take a few weeks to get the inductions you want.
You should set up Telegram on your smartphone or tablet. It’s not a requirement, but a lot of discussion and communication takes place on Telegram. There’s a Hacman group, called “Hackspace Manchester”, and there are also groups for the different areas, like “WeldyGrindy” for metalworking, “Got Wood?” for woodworking, “Laser Training” for the laser cutter. If you ask for something in the wrong group, someone will generally point you to the right one. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Telegram has a feature called “Pinned Messages” which group admins can use to pin a message so it’s always visible. Pinned to the “Hackspace Manchester” group is a list of all the Telegram groups we use. As I write this, “Got Wood?” has one about upcoming induction sessions, “WeldyGrindy” has one about risk assessments, “Laser Training” has one about buying a new laser cutter.
Hacman is a fantastic place. As well as the equipment there are also lots of people with all kinds of knowledge and expertise. Come along to an open evening. If you’ve joined already, come to a members meeting, announced on Telegram. Hope to see you there.