Looking Back - Moving Forward

Topics generally related to Twin Cities Maker activities
Judeling
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Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Judeling » Sat May 16, 2009 1:45 am

If you think about it, it is really quite extraordinary just how far we have come in such a short time.

We are not just an online chat group. We have a true community with an organizational structure and in the foreseeable future physical location.

It was only mid January that Paul put this site up. (Thanks again Paul). Whoosh bang we were meeting. (thanks Metris). Paul plants a seed, Michael adds some water and Pyrodog a touch of manure and I just watched it grow. There was and is a clear energy at these meets. There hasn't been one where I didn't hear some very exiting Idea or project discussed.

But that was then. We have taken the next big step and soon some things will change. We are about to explore our limits. This is both a perilous and exciting development. We should really think hard about where each of us is willing to go and what we need from each other to get there. The governing board is not the group and they will need our help and collective direction.

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wammie
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby wammie » Sat May 16, 2009 12:31 pm

Judeling wrote:If you think about it, it is really quite extraordinary just how far we have come in such a short time.

We are not just an online chat group. We have a true community with an organizational structure and in the foreseeable future physical location.

It was only mid January that Paul put this site up. (Thanks again Paul). Whoosh bang we were meeting. (thanks Metris). Paul plants a seed, Michael adds some water and Pyrodog a touch of manure and I just watched it grow. There was and is a clear energy at these meets. There hasn't been one where I didn't hear some very exiting Idea or project discussed.

But that was then. We have taken the next big step and soon some things will change. We are about to explore our limits. This is both a perilous and exciting development. We should really think hard about where each of us is willing to go and what we need from each other to get there. The governing board is not the group and they will need our help and collective direction.


Juleling, well said! Thank you for the message and your enthusiastic participation in TC Maker!

Judeling
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Judeling » Tue May 19, 2009 11:15 am

Looking Back: It would have been very easy for me to have missed the initial blurb at Make. I am not to sure if that happened that I would still know about this group. I'm sure that there are many more potential members who have yet to stumble upon us.

Moving Forward: While our search for space is extremely important for our long term viability. Expanding our base is probably as important. The raw economics of the organization argue for a much larger group. The twenty or fifty active members we have is to small a pool to support a space with any reasonable dues structure. $50 * 50 = $2500 which is barely enough to support a working space. 50 is 80sq feet of personal space in a 4000 sq foot shop or 14.4 hours of having the shop to yourself. It just isn't enough to justify the space or cost.

We need to be talking about hundreds of members. But not necessarily General members.

We are all just now General Members, but soon that definition has to change. Initially I see a break between General Members and Affiliate Members. General Members being those who pay dues and so can vote and Affiliate Members as basically on the mailing list or self identified. The initial dues should be enough to generate some cash flow but not set to high so as to discourage voting participation at this early development stage. I recommend $10-$20 a month as a staring point. I feel it is important for the community to define the space so the broadest possible voting participation should be encouraged.

Farther ahead: Any dues and membership structure must return value at each point. So a shop usage fee may possibly be over and above a General Membership.

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Theo
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Theo » Tue May 19, 2009 11:57 am

I'm a pretty critical guy, and I'll freely admit I'm very invested in making a good workshop right the first time. But Jude, I've just read your reply twice now, and I have to say I'm in agreement on all points.

A few things to bear in mind: The workshop membership won't be just us -- that is, the core Twin Cities Maker folks who show up at meetings. For starters, it'll be Leonardo's Basement / Studio Bricolage folks as well, and there's a bunch more of them than there are of us. I can say that with near certainty, even before having sat down together with Steve J. & crew formally to talk about what partership would mean, in detail. And we'd be able to pull in other groups as well, if only as workshop members, since we'd have the biggest & best generalized community-supported workspace in town.

Also, keep your fingers crossed about the possibility of adopting a former city park building. I understand we can't count on it at this stage, yes. But it's possible. And if it works out, it could make us, overnight. It'd be a mutual win for the city and for us Maker folks.

Judeling
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Judeling » Tue May 19, 2009 1:31 pm

Theo

If I win the lottery tomorrow I'll endow the shop.

How the group develops is how it develops. Counting on outside groups at this stage is not what I would do.

I agree that a shop/clubhouse will be essential. I do not want to imply that it should not be a major goal. Having other organizations involved in a shop is entirely consistent with our mission to Make Share and Learn.

The question is "Is it our shop?". Or is it a shop we use as part of a larger community of communities. I argue that it should be our shop!

If it is to be our shop we need to create and run it out of our resources. It may not work out that way. But in my opinion that should be the goal.

Expanding membership is a step towards that goal. Simple things like signs for the backroom at CR can help in that effort.

Judeling
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Judeling » Mon May 25, 2009 11:36 am

Looking Back: One of the early defining elements of a least part of the community was the Spoonapult. It generated a lots of talk and at least one additional project (the foam cutter).

Moving forward: We should have one or two ongoing group projects. These are different then events. What I mean is a project that would take a couple of months to finish if we just use weekends. They would need to include as many as possible areas of interest that can bring most members of the group into the planning and execution of the project.

Maybe a milk carton submarine? The Milk Carton Boat Race will be held around July 18th. There are money prizes.

Some info to think about:
A pint displaces enough water to float about 1lb
1 cubic foot = 7.48051945 US gallons
A scuba tank with a 50 cu ft capacity would displace around a ton. And would add only 14lbs full and 6lbs empty if it is below the waterline.

The biggest problem may be getting the water ballast into the buoyancy tanks.

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wammie
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby wammie » Tue May 26, 2009 4:32 pm

Judeling wrote:Moving forward: We should have one or two ongoing group projects. These are different then events. What I mean is a project that would take a couple of months to finish if we just use weekends. They would need to include as many as possible areas of interest that can bring most members of the group into the planning and execution of the project.

Maybe a milk carton submarine?

Yes! We need to have some group projects! I don't know about a milk carton boat/submarine though. Personally, I wouldn't be able to contribute many milk cartons. Could we really garner enough cartons before the Aquatennial?

Gosh, there are a lot of cool things we could do! Since "going green" is a big thing right now, how about some sort of passive or active solar collector? Something simple enough that individuals could replicate? Someone suggested an art car. Once we have a car, that would be fun and doable in a short time. Personally, I'd love to do a robot or band organ.

Anyone have other suggestions?

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paulsobczak
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby paulsobczak » Wed May 27, 2009 12:06 pm

I also agree that we need to do some group projects, perhaps we should start a thread or something on the wiki where people can post project ideas and we can start work on them.

Back at university we had a similar thing for our senior design projects, and I was thinking, because I have been brainstorming a bunch of ideas lately, that I would start something like that. It might be nice to start something like that for the whole Hacker Space collective.

I know at the beginning of Twin Cities maker there was a lot of talk about making kits, perhaps we should start talking about different types of kids that we could make and produce for sale.

Judeling
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Judeling » Wed May 27, 2009 2:02 pm

There are lots of possibilities, we just need to start some.

I suggested the milk carton submersible because it contains many of the elements I think are important in a group project.

It is cool.
It allows lots of brainstorming.
It has lots of little details.
It can be constructed in parts independently.
It can be worked on by varying numbers of people.
It is cheap.

It also would have two other benefits. A success would be great PR. (A failure would never make it outside the group). And there are money prizes.

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Theo
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Re: Looking Back - Moving Forward

Postby Theo » Wed May 27, 2009 2:21 pm

Why would it need to be submersible? That's hard enough to do with a single-chambered vessel, never mind a craft taped/glued together out of milk cartons. And one of the fundamental reasons it's called the Milk Carton Boat Race is that it's easy to make boats that don't sink, because milk cartons float.

I did the Milk Carton Boat Race three times; on our team's third shot, we actually won a trophy and some prize money, with a big two-piece dragon.


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