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The Central Library Wants to Help Promote Your Artwork

The Rochester Central Library wants to promote local art and artists by displaying pictures of their work on a large screen monitor. Please call Nanci Nugent in the Arts Division at 585-428-8145 if you’re interested.

Work Night this Wednesday (2/13), Dues & Founder’s Club

This Wednesday (02/13), starting at 6 PM, will be the first of many regular weekly work nights we’re going to have to make improvements to the space, fix tools, clean and organize, discuss issues and work on administrative and planning tasks. EVERYONE is welcome to come and help, although you will have to sign a liability waiver. You’ll also have to wear safety glasses. We’ll have some you can buy for $2 or $3 if you don’t have any.

Here are some things we may be working on:

  • Building workbenches
  • Installing security cameras
  • Cleaning, checking and tuning-up some of the tools
  • Buying wood and other materials at nearby stores
  • Searching online and calling about woodworking tools that are for sale
  • Planning classes and events
  • Working on the website, etc.

Although this is a work night, you are welcome to just come by to see the space and meet some of us. By the way, Saturday is also going to be a work day at the space, starting at 9:30 and going to at least 1 PM.

In case you haven’t heard, our furnace hasn’t been working. The maintenance man says a new one will probably be installed this week, but I can’t promise it will be ready by Wednesday. So it could be chilly in the space.

We also don’t have many small hand tools there yet or things like nails, screws, cleaning supplies, etc. So please bring along what you can.

We’re probably going to order pizza and put out a donation jar to help pay for it. It would be greatly appreciated it if you could bring and donate some soda, bottled water or other beverages so we have something to drink.

You won’t need a ticket, but we’d appreciate it if you would help test our Eventbrite pages by registering for this event and then giving us any feedback you think is important.

DUES

We still not sure how much we need to charge for dues. Plus, we want to grow our membership quickly instead slowly. So for the first two or three months we’re going to charge $40/month for an individual, family or student membership. And you can lock that amount in for as long as you want by paying in advance. We’re going to start collecting membership dues on March 1st.

We think that eventually a regular individual membership will cost about $65, a family membership about $75 and students will probably be $50.

Founder’s Club

In the meantime we need to pay March’s rent and buy all kinds of essential tools and supplies for the space. So I hope you will consider joining our Founder’s Club, which will be made up of the first 100 supporters who donate $100. You’ll get to brag that you’re a founder of the Rochester Makerspace, your name will be on a plaque that will be displayed in the space, and you’ll probably get some other kind of perk or reward (t-shirt, coffee mug?).

If you can help then please send a check to Rochester Makerspace, 850 St. Paul Street, Rochester NY 14605, or give your donation to one of the officers/directors (Rob, Wyatt, Jacob, Nick or Chuck) the next time you visit the space.

By the way, donations made right now may not be tax deductible, but our attorneys are preparing our 501c(3) application and they will be sometime soon. But please don’t wait, we really need your financial help and support right now!

Thank you, and as usual, please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions.

We’re going to have pizza and a 3D printer at our next meeting (12/18)

I just want let you know that we’re going to have pizza at tomorrow’s meeting.  We not sure how much to order.  If you can, we’d appreciate it if you’ll let us know if you’re going to be there.  We’re also not sure what kind of pizza to order other than pepperoni. So we’d also appreciate some suggestions, especially if you’re a vegetarian.

We’re also going to bring along our new Solidoodle 3D printer.

We have a lot to discuss and decide but we may be busy eating pizza, getting to know each other, and answering questions.  So we’re going to have second meeting this week, an informal one, on Thursday, December 20th, at 6:30.  

It’s going to be held at Rob Storms’ 2,000 square foot workshop located at 175 Norris Drive. It’s next to the Sound Source music store, near Cobbs Hill and Winton Rd. Rob is a “maker” who has a strong interest in bicycles, among other things. He’s been to every Burning Man Festival except for the last three, which he’s had to miss because he was caring for an elderly relative.

You’ll have two opportunities to eat free pizza this week because in addition to letting us meet in his workshop, Rob has generously offered to buy us pizza. He’s also become a strong supporter of the Rochester Makerspace and he has pledged to buy a year’s membership.

Tomorrow’s meeting is at 6:30 in the Brighton Memorial Library meeting room, 2300 Elmwood Avenue. We hope you can make it.

Status Update – December 2012

We’re not promising this, but it looks like we’ll be signing a lease and opening our makerspace in a few weeks. Many volunteers have helped get us to this point. But even so, we’re struggling to get some critical tasks done and the problem is about to get much worse.

We will soon have to quickly create the policies and procedures we’ll need to run our makerspace, organize and schedule classes, figure out where to put everything, build workbenches, tune-up tools and equipment, and much more.

Many of these things we’ll have to do only once. But we’re still going to have a continual need for more help than we’ve ever had and our makerspace will almost certainly fail if we don’t get it. I’ve been involved with many volunteer-run organizations and I’ve seen it happen.

What help do we need?

  • We need a treasurer and a secretary. These are officer positions. If you want to make a difference or have a strong say in how the makerspace is run, then volunteering for one of these two jobs will guarantee it.
  • Volunteers to manage and promote each major area of interest: woodworking, art, machining, welding, metal fabrication, kids programs, sewing, 3D printing, crafts, computers & electronics, and others. You’ll decide (hopeful with input from others), how to organize and run your work area, help choose equipment to buy or lease, safety and training procedures, and more. (BTW, we need to come up with a good title to give these volunteers.)
  • We’re going to need many work benches and tables. We’d like to build most of them ourselves from wood or welded steel because we think it will save us money and be a good opportunity for our members to learn new skills. And mostly importantly, because it will encourage teamwork and help us build a strong community. So we need volunteers to find good affordable designs and lead construction teams.
  • Volunteers to take charge of our marketing and fundraising efforts.
  • Volunteers to plan and promote our grand opening.
  • People with good writing skills who are willing to help create content for our web site, write training and safety materials, respond to letters and emails, apply for grants, be proofreaders, etc.
  • We need someone to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to buy a SawStop table saw for our woodworking shop, which will stop instantly if someone’s fingers touch the blade.
  • Leaders who can come up with group projects that will attract interest and help from both members and nonmembers. They can be anything, but we would like to have some that will use our talents and tools to benefit or enrich the Rochester community.
  • Finally, our greatest need is for people who are willing to try and do whatever needs to be done, even if they don’t know how to. Starting a business, or in our case a nonprofit, requires learning and doing a variety of things you’ve never done before.

In case I haven’t been clear enough, WE REALLY NEED MORE HELP RIGHT NOW! So please don’t hesitate to give me a call or send us an email if you willing to help in some way. And as always, we want to hear your input or suggestions about anything.

A surprise, private work areas & what a membership will cost

A large group of us recently looked at the 2,800 square foot space at 850 St. Paul Street I recently told you about. I think everybody liked it. I thought we had an easy decision to make but then we got a big surprise.

The landlord knows I’ve been worried about quickly outgrowing the space so he offered to put us in an 18,000 square foot space and just charge us for the amount of space we actually use. His generous offer will allow us to grow as quickly as we can, without having to worry about starting out in a space that might be much too small, or too big and unaffordable.

Private Work Areas

The extra space means we’ll be able to support more tools, activities and members. But there’s another reason why we’ve been worried about having enough space. We want to have enough room to be able to offer our members private work and storage areas at a low cost and without a long commitment. (Don’t worry, there will also be plenty of free workspace.)

We want to do so because we think there’s a strong need for it and it will benefit many in the Rochester community. We’ve already received inquires from people asking if they can rent space inside our makerspace. And we know that other makerspaces have had a strong demand for similar space.

Artisan’s Aslyum is a good example. They have 90 private spaces ranging in size from 25 to 250 square feet that are fully rented and have a waiting list. The extra revenue from those spaces has made financially stable and it has helped pay for some very impressive tools and programs. So we want to find out if their model will also work here in Rochester.

Membership Cost

To rent a space you’ll need to be a member and we haven’t talked much about how much that will cost. We’re not sure yet, but a monthly membership will probably be $65 and we may offer a very substantial discount to those who are willing to take a chance on us and pay for a year’s membership in advance. We may not do it right away but we’ve also considering daily, student, and family memberships, along with scholarships.

Getting back to private work areas, the huge space we’ve been offered comes with many details that haven’t been worked out yet and maybe some problems. For example, it’s a great space but it’s nowhere near as bright and inviting as the smaller one. So we would really like to know how much interest there is in private work areas before we accept the landlord offer. And unfortunately, we can’t tell you a lot of details yet. Even basic information like how much it’s going to cost. Although, I can tell you that we will keep the cost as affordable as possible.

A Decision Will Be Made Soon

Although it may seem like it, renting space at 850 St. Paul is not a done deal. The building and spaces are great, it’s centrally located and easy to get to from 490, we really like the landlord, and the rent is extremely affordable. And the neighborhood is not bad, although it’s not a great one either.

But we learned at TEDxRochester about some other locations that need to be considered and a commercial real estate agent began helping us for free. So our already very overloaded group of volunteers is responsibly looking at other possibilities. But we are not going to keep looking indefinitely and we are probably going to choose a space to rent within the next couple of weeks. We’d really like to get your input before we do that. So there will probably be a meeting and you can always contact us or leave a comment.

Come see the space we may rent at 850 St. Paul Street

Sorry, I know this is short notice, but we want to invite everyone to join us at 5:15 PM tomorrow (Thursday, November 8th), at a space that we may rent. It’s 2,800 square feet in a huge old factory building that is being renovated at 850 St. Paul Street. It’s at the corner of Scrantom Street, about a half-mile north of the Genesee Brewery, and about a mile from the inner loop and easy access to Rt. 490 east and west.

If you come, please drive down Scrantom Street to the rear parking lot and meet us near the loading docks. Call 585.210.0075 if you have any problems finding the building or us.

The space is being completely renovated. It will be clean, bright and inviting. There will be new bathrooms just outside our door and the landlord has agreed to install a key card system for the main outside door and our space.

The building has a large parking lot and the entire property is surrounded by a fence with an electrically operated gate that is usually closed after 6 PM. You’ll be able to drive up to it in your car and enter an access code to open it or you can buy an inexpensive remote control for it.

We like this building because the rent is very affordable and it includes heat. There is also room in the building where can expand if we grow, and we expect to grow rapidly. We’ve also been offered reasonable terms that will allow us to break our lease if we need to.

This location and space is the best one we’ve been able to find so far in our price range. There is a high probability that we may rent it. So, now is the time to speak up if you have any objections or concerns.

On Monday, at TEDxRochester, we learned about other properties that may meet our needs. And some people even offered to help us find a space to rent. We’re going to follow up on those leads and take advantage of the help. But we’re not going to keep looking indefinitely. Our goal last May was to open a Makerspace by the end of the year and we’re going to try and keep to that time table.

We’ve been invited to TEDxRochester

We’ve been honored with an invitation to set up a display about the Rochester Makerspace at this year’s TEDxRochester, which will be held at the Geva Theater on Monday, November 5th.

You may have heard about TED which is about “Ideas worth spreading.” TEDxRochester is a local annual event that “showcases speakers from in and around Rochester, with ideas or missions that are worth sharing, spreading and growing; ideas that could or do impact Rochester and her citizens.” Tickets for it are so much in demand that to get one you have to fill out an application and hope they choose you.

We’re still new and almost no one in Rochester knows our name or what a makerspace is. This event is an enormous opportunity for us to change that. But to do so we’ll need to work hard to create the best display we can in just three weeks.

If you’re willing to help us then please sign up for our Google “Volunteer Discussion” group, which will make it easier for us communicate.

We’ve already started work and one of the things we need is information about our supporters, their interests and projects that we put into a photo essay / PowerPoint presentation.  So please send us a short introduction and photos or videos.

Thursday’s Meeting and 2 Spaces We Can Rent

Our next informal weekly meeting is going to be this Thursday, October 4th, at the McGregor’s in Penfield at 1129 Empire Blvd. We’re going to meet a little later this time, at 7 PM, and we’re going to have an important discussion about renting one of the two “starter” spaces we just found.

The first is at 250 Cumberland Street, in the old downtown post office. It is being rented by Sean, who restores and customizes motorcycles. He has much more room than he needs and we would be taking over all but about 400 of his 2,000 square foot workshop. In addition to the workspace, we would be able to use (with the proper training or experience) his Bridgeport mill, Rockwell industrial lathe, TIG welder and a foundry capable of pouring 20-pounds of aluminum. It’s a pleasant space with high ceilings and large windows at one end. The cost would be about $500/month plus utilities and insurance.

We would need to reach an agreement with Sean about sharing his space that we all can be happy with, and get the landlord’s OK.

I just learned about a second possibility last Friday. We haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, although I did talk about it with another tenant in the building. It’s 1,700 square feet in the Fedder Industrial Park at 1327 East Main Street, which is near the Hungerford Building and Village Gate. The rent is $540 per month which includes all the utilities. We would have a month-to-month lease which would allow us to quickly move to a larger location if we outgrow it.

There is a problem with it. The building’s outside doors are locked at 4:15 PM each day and the landlord doesn’t want to provide dozens of keys for our members. So we’ll probably only have about 4 keys to work with unless we can talk him into letting us install a keycard system or find another solution.

There was almost no interest or discussion when we suggested renting a space on Industrial Street a couple of months ago. We don’t know if it’s because many of you are unwilling to come downtown, if it’s because you want to leave the decision to just a few of us, or if we’ve badly misjudged the amount of interest and support we have. Quite frankly, we need to see a lot more discussion and support this time or we’re probably going to stop and reevaluate what we’re doing.

If you can’t make Thursday’s meeting then please leave a comment or join our volunteer’s email list. And by the way, we do want to know if you don’t like either location, think we should wait awhile or have other suggestions.

We’re going to need all the help we can get if we do rent one of them because we’re going to have to decide, in a very short time, how we’re going to organize and run our space. We’re also going to have to quickly create a membership agreement, a liability waiver, operating rules and bylaws. And we’ll need to build workbenches and walls, do some painting, and some other chores.

Now’s the time to speak up and pledge your support if want to see a makerspace open soon in Rochester. With your help and support we can open our doors this month.

And one thing. We’re stretched a bit thin right now. Would anyone be willing to get some insurance quotes for us? It can be done over the phone and it probably won’t take long.

Informal Meeting – Thursday 09/27 @ 6 PM

We’re going to have a very informal “burger” meeting this Thursday night at 6 PM.  It will be at Peppermints Family Restaurant, which is located at 4870 West Henrietta Rd.  It’s just south of McDonalds and not far from the Lehigh Station Road exit of Rt 390.

You’ll be able to meet some of the other members of our group and have your questions answered. We’d also like to get your ideas and input on a number of topics, especially about where we should locate our makerspace and how much space we need to get started.

We still have a lot to discuss, decide and do before we can open our doors.  So we’re going to another informal meeting on Thursday, October 4th.  We’re open to suggestions about where to have it and we’re also willing to change the time if 6 PM is not convenient for many of you.

Volunteer Opportunities – September 2012

  • We’re getting close to renting a space so we really need to find a treasurer. PLEASE contact us if you are interested or know someone who might be.
  • There are numerous services (Amazon, Eventbrite, PayPal, Amazon, WePay and others) that make it easy to collect online donations. We need someone to research them and choose one for us. We also need someone with WordPress or web experience to put a donation button on our web site. There are numerous WordPress plugins to chose from.
  • We need someone to find and install better software for our Wiki. WikiMedia is widely used but it’s very difficult to learn and use because it doesn’t have a WYSIWYG editor. And the WordPress plug-in we’re using now is buggy and it’s not being actively supported by its developer. There are WYSIWYG plugins available for MediaWiki and there are many other free Wiki programs we can chose from. We need someone to pick a good one and set it up and test it for us.

Keep checking if you don’t see something here that you want to help with. We’ll be regularly updating this post.

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