Welcome to Cardiff Hackspace and thank you for joining our community! If you have not yet joined, details on how to do this are provided here. This document aims to help you understand who we are, what we stand for and get you acquainted with the space.
We are predominantly a community of people, so please:
- Always act with kindness and do not discriminate
- Be safe and work within your ability
- Share and help each other when you can
- Always ask for help, there are no silly questions – it’s very likely somebody will know how to use equipment or be able to answer your query
The Cardiff Hackspace is a not-for-profit organisation which aims to create a community of makers and enthusiasts focused around science, technology, engineering and art.
By sharing access to tools and equipment otherwise out of reach for hobbyists, we can offer the opportunity to experiment and discover new skills. We strive to maintain an open, sustainable atmosphere of discussion and knowledge sharing, and a place for our members to build amazing things.
Cardiff Hackspace lives at: Unit 6, Ely Brewery Workshops Station Terrace Ely Cardiff CF5 4AR
There are two sections of the Hackspace, which are largely broken down into the workshop area and the clean area. The workshop area is located through the doorway directly in front of you as you enter the building, the clean area is the door to its right.
When using the workshop area please keep in mind that large machines may be running, so wear eye and ear protection when necessary. Please be considerate of other members’ safety in the space, keep in mind that activities with increased risk to breathing, hearing, and eyes affect the other users of the space as well as yourself. If you are undertaking this form of work, please ensure that others are taking the necessary precautions as well. This area contains tools such as the milling machine, lathe and CNC, along with hand tools and sanding equipment.
The clean area should be reserved for computer work, electronics and as an area for discussion. Soldering stations and computers are available for use in this area. Please try to keep this tidy and refrain from doing work which would create lots of dust or mess. There is also a kitchen counter for making drinks and heating food, this should only be used for this purpose and no soldering, work or hazardous materials are allowed by these surfaces.
The primary channel for all Hackspace communication is Discord. It is recommended that all members join us there to keep up to date on issues, news and generally keep in touch with the community. Notices of General Meetings will be posted both in Discord and via email, all other official communication will be delivered via Discord only.
You can join the Discord server here: https://cutt.ly/cardiff-hackspace
All communication channels operate the same policies as physically being in the space – so be polite, open, helpful and do not discriminate. More information on our anti-discrimination policies can be found later in this document.
Cardiff Hackspace doesn’t currently hold specific open days, but we have made a point to try to ensure people are there on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons. If you wish to visit the space, please send us a post in the “request-a-visit” channel on Discord so that we know you are coming and can make sure someone is there to meet you. We recommend that people come along to see what we have to offer, experience the environment and get to know some of the members before they join.
While we don’t have an official policy limiting how often people can attend before becoming a member, we ask that if you are making use of the space – even in a social capacity – that you join us, as these memberships let us pay the bills and maintain the space, without them we would not be able to operate.
If you are visiting at any time, all of the rules still apply to you – this includes obeying our communication policy. If you do not follow these rules, or do anything which poses a danger to yourself or another member, you will be asked to leave. In addition, we ask that you do not use any of the equipment without explicit permission from a member to help guide you and ensure you are being safe.
Becoming a member of Cardiff Hackspace is a highly rewarding proposition, not only will you know that your contribution is helping to sustain us and keep the space running, but you will also gain the following:
- Access to the Hackspace on any day that a keyholder is present
- Your own box to store projects and supplies
- Access to members only communication channels for notifications and chat
- The ability to vote on issues that affect the Hackspace
- The ability to run for board positions to help shape the way we work
- The chance to apply to become a keyholder and gain access to the space at any time.
- A shiny Hackspace Membership card!
Becoming a member
We recommend that you come along to the space before you decide to become a member. We want to be sure that the space is what you expect and that you are happy with the atmosphere.
We operate a “pay what you can” policy for joining, as we recognize that monthly commitments are harder for some than others, and that our members can contribute in more ways than just cash. Most members pay around £25 per month, as this value allows us to keep the doors open and continue to enhance the space. We operate on a rolling basis so you can cancel or change your contribution at any time with no contract, but we would ask that you let us know beforehand so we can keep track.
Once you have visited the space and decided that it is for you, you can get in contact with either the membership officer or one of the directors to let them know that you wish to join. They will require the following information:
- Your full name
- Your current email
- What you are intending to pay
- Your emergency contact details
It may also be helpful to provide:
- Any medical details that are important to know incase of an accident at the space
These will be recorded in our membership logs so we know that you are a member. Your data is protected as per our data protection policy and is only accessible to board members when necessary for the running of the space.
In addition to providing that information, you will need to set up a standing order to the Hackspace account, this can be requested from the membership officer or any of the directors in person or on Discord.
Please include your full name as the reference so we can identify incoming payments.
Once we have received your first payment, you will be tagged in Discord as a member so you have access to the member’s only communication channels. You will also be given your Hackspace Box and Hackspace Membership Card! If any of these do not occur, please contact the membership officer or one of the directors to get this rectified.
It is worth saying hello in Discord so people can recognize you as a member and you can start to get to know people.
Becoming a key holder
Certain members of the Hackspace hold keys to the workshop and help us facilitate opening for other members. These members are also allowed access to the Hackspace at any time. Due to the nature of the equipment in the space, this is a position that is not automatic for members; it requires the existing keyholders to agree that you are trusted and well known enough to justify the additional risk. We want to foster a sense of belonging and commitment with members before they can be considered as a keyholder.
We have the following requirements for becoming a keyholder:
- You have been an active, paying Hackspace member for at least 3 months
- You have contributed to the space outside of your monthly donations, this could mean helping out building some equipment, doing some repairs, loaning expensive equipment or taking on other responsibilities to help the space. There is no minimum value, we just want to see that members are invested in the community.
These are minimum requirements and do not guarantee that you will be able to become a key holder.
When those requirements are met, and you have got to know people at the space, one of the existing key holders can nominate you to be considered, this should be done in the key-holders Discord channel. The key holders will then vote on if to approve this; we reserve the right to refuse a key holder request if we believe this is necessary.
If your nomination is successful, you will be given a key and added to the key holder channel, if you are not added here, please inform one of the board so this can be corrected.
Using the Space
Loaned tools – Many tools have been loaned by members, so please do not alter them without explicit permission. If you are unsure or want to modify a tool, post in the members channel on Discord and somebody will be able to help you figure out who owns it, or agree on the plan if it’s owned by the space.
Hot works – If you are using any tooling that may present a fire risk (angle grinding, welding etc), please ensure that you remain in the space for at least 1 hour the work is complete and check for fire risks before leaving.
Heavy machinery – Some of the tools in the space are more dangerous and unwieldy than others. Tools such as the lathe and milling machine are complex pieces of hardware and take skill to use safely. Only you understand your own skill level, so we ask that you only use these machines if you are totally confident in your ability to do so safely. We would also request that when you are first using these machines, you ask somebody with experience to watch over you in case you’re making mistakes you are not aware of. If you are offered advice, please do not take this as an attack on your ability, but do take knowledge from fresh eyes onboard, as we all have things to learn from one another. Note that guidance from Hackspace members does not constitute official training. Unless explicitly stated at designated events, no formal training is offered by the Hackspace at this time.
All other tools – In a workshop no tool is fundamentally totally safe; care must be taken with all tools. If you are unsure of how to properly use a tool, please ask – people are usually happy to help. If nobody is available, or you don’t feel totally confident, wait for another time or look for another way to solve the problem. Do not put yourself or others in danger.
Consumables – For tools with consumable parts, we ask that you contribute by either buying extras, or by providing a donation when using these machines, especially for large projects. Some tools such as the laser cutter also require expensive maintenance, so we ask that users of these machines always make a donation for each use – Machines with this requirement will be marked, and the requested donation stated alongside the donation box. The funds raised in this way will go towards the maintenance costs to keep these machines running efficiently.
Improving equipment – Much of the equipment at the Hackspace we have built or improved ourselves! We consider this to be an essential part of being a Hackspace. These projects offer us a way to come together as a group and learn new things, as well as improving the space.
If you see a way to improve some of our equipment or tooling, please feel free to raise this in the members Discord channel. Do keep in mind though, some of these projects take time and will cause machines to be offline – if people object to this, please do not take offense or feel that your help is not appreciated – it is probably just that those machines are needed at the moment. Try to work with others to find a good time to execute the plan, and if one cannot be found right now, maybe look to improve something else while you wait!
Reporting damage – Tools wear and break with use, there is no way around this, however, nothing is more frustrating than going to use a tool only to find out that the last person who used it broke something, stopping your plans. If you have broken something, we would ask that you replace it, but obviously some of the more expensive equipment undergoes wear and tear and we don’t expect people to buy a whole new laser cutter because it happened to fail when they used it! We just request that any damage or broken equipment is reported via Discord or directly to a director so that we can work to repair or replace as necessary. If any member notices damage which could be considered dangerous, please report this and stop use immediately.
Commercial use of the space
The space cannot be used as the primary place of operations for any commercial activity, however, the output of activities done in the space can be used commercially as long as doing so does not utilise equipment in a way that is detrimental to other members. This decision will have to be made on a case by case basis, if any member feels that the space is being utilised in a way that is unfair, it should be raised with the directors who will assess the situation. In situations where it is not obvious if this rule is being breached, it will be put to vote with the members.
Health and Safety
In a workshop there will always be risks but we can help to minimise these as much as possible. Please use common sense and remain well within your abilities when using tools and equipment. If you are in doubt please ask others or hold off until you are sure you can proceed safely.
At any point in the space, if you feel that you are being unsafe, stop and look for another approach. If you feel that others are being unsafe, please inform them. We embrace an open call out policy where it is acceptable and encouraged to directly tell people to wear PPE if you feel that it is appropriate, for example if a member is using a lathe without goggles, go and hand them a pair. We should all be working to keep the Hackspace safe and accident free. If a member is regularly being unsafe, please raise this with one of the directors so that we can work to resolve the issue.
Noise – We have hearing protection available on the right hand side in the workshop area as you enter. Please use this whenever machines are running to protect your ears. Tools such as the milling machine may produce volumes of up to 100dB, which can cause permanent hearing damage after just 10-15 minutes.
Vision – Next to the hearing protection is a range of eye protection which should always be worn when using the machinery or at any time where sparks or shards may be projected from the work you are currently performing. Eye protection should also be worn if anyone else in the area is performing such work, or you are observing another member.
First aid – In the unfortunate situation that first aid is required, there is a stocked first aid kit, along with a eye wash system on the shelf to the left just before you enter the workshop area. This is to be checked to ensure it is well stocked monthly by the health and safety officer. If the officer is unavailable, they should delegate this task to ensure it is completed.
Should you notice that supplies are running low, please inform one of the directors who will arrange to purchase more. If an emergency contact is required, all directors have access to the information provided when members signed up. If none are at the space or responding on Discord, there is an emergency number on the notice board.
Fire – Our evacuation point is in the car park across from the Hackspace. Should a fire alarm go off, please exit in a calm manner, leaving belongings behind and wait at this point. We have fire extinguishers placed around the Hackspace which should be clearly visible. If it is safe to do so, these can be used to help contain any fire that occurs. If you are unsure if it is safe, or unsure on their use – please evacuate the building instead. Your safety is a higher priority, so do not put yourself at risk. Please follow standard fire safety advice and keep exits clear at all times. Fire extinguishers are to be checked at least every two months by the health and safety officer. This check should ensure they are pressurised, in-date and not damaged. If the officer is unavailable, they should delegate this task to ensure it is completed.
Reporting accidents – If any accident or injury occurs on the Hackspace site, it is required that this is noted down in the book by the first aid kit. This is not used to punish members who make mistakes, but so we can keep a track of any hot points and work to eliminate them. It also provides traceability from a legal perspective. Please note down the accident, the date and time it occurred and any actions that were required. We would also encourage members to note down near misses or anything that they feel is a potential risk so these can be identified and actioned.
Donating or Loaning to the space
Donating equipment – Donated equipment is always appreciated by the space, and helps us to improve and expand. Once you donate something to the Hackspace, we will use it in the way that we consider best benefits the space; sometimes this will mean that the item takes spot in our workshop for all to use, but sometimes it will go into the “hackable pile” for people to use as parts, or be broken down to take useful pieces before scrapping the rest. In some situations we may also sell equipment to make room or funds for something else. If this would offend you, please consider loaning the equipment to us instead.
Loaning equipment – When you loan an item to the space, it becomes usable by all of our members, but will remain owned by you. Note that we do not discriminate on the use of equipment, so if you have loaned it to the space, please do not try to control which of our members is “allowed” to use it, if you are not happy for all members to use your loaned item, we will not be able to accept this equipment into the space.
Please do be aware that equipment does sometimes get damaged, and while all of our members will take as much care as they can, accidents do happen. We are unable to offer any sort of guarantee or protection for items, nor offer any form of compensation if the worst does occur. Please keep this in mind before you make the decision to loan equipment so that there are no hard feelings or misunderstandings should the worst occur.
What do we want? – This is a complex question; many times we wouldn’t have thought of an item until somebody offers it to us, so usually the answer is to just ask in the members only channel to make sure there is a demand. The exception to this is if the item is on our “wish list” which can be found in the member’s google drive folder. Anything on that list will be happily accepted so just bring it in!
If there is no demand, but the item has useful parts inside, you are welcome to donate it, but it will likely end up in the “hackable pile” to be broken down by other members. For especially large items, please check with one of the directors before bringing it in. Space is always at a premium and we do not want unused items taking up space we could otherwise use. Please do not be offended if an item is not wanted, if we had unlimited room, we would accept anything, but sadly we do not, so choices have to be made.
Money – If you wish to donate money, this is always appreciated! This can be done by transferring to our bank account. It is probably worth getting in contact with one of the directors to let us know that this is planned so we are not confused when going through accounts – this will be considered completely private, informing others of your donation is totally up to you.
The “Hackable Pile”
Sometimes items that are donated are not useful in their current form, but as a Hackspace, we are often in need of parts! Thus, the “hackable pile” was born. Items placed in this area are free for any member to take and use however they see fit. If you need a power supply, go pull one out of something, if you need a case, there may be something else you can hack to use. Anything in this pile is fair game. The aim of this pile is to reuse and recycle, so go ahead and take a look if there are things you can benefit from. We ask that members only take what they need, and don’t go and collect all the “good” things whenever they come in. There is also an element of courtesy and common sense here, for example, if you just need a power cable, don’t take it from an otherwise working piece of equipment if there is a totally broken one with a suitable cable next to it.
Over time, some items in the hackable pile will have had their bones picked dry of anything useful, so if you see something that looks like it is probably no longer of use and just taking up space, feel free to place it in “the bin” as discussed below.
Tidiness and “The Bin”
We all have projects that we want to complete, some are small and easy to manage, others may take up more space due to their nature. We must all remember that this is a communal space, and we need to be highly considerate of others. As a member, you will have been provided with a box to keep your items in, anything in a member’s box is theirs and should not be touched without permission. Please try to keep everything you are working on inside your box or take it home with you. We accept that sometimes, this is not possible and it is necessary to keep things out because of size or work in progress (eg, glue drying) – in these situations, please let others know and consider putting a label on them so that people know who to ask if things are getting in the way.
Items that are not labelled, or that have been left out for long periods of time even with labels on will be sent to “The Bin”, this is a members only channel on Discord where photos of items are posted to check that they are still wanted. Members have 7 days from the point where something is posted in this channel to claim and move the item, or make arrangements to clear the space. If they do not respond in this time frame, the item will be disposed of by either adding it to the hackable pile, or being thrown out. Do not see this as an excuse to let somebody else dispose of your unwanted items, this will not be tolerated and will be noticed.
If items from the hackable pile have ended up in “The Bin”, then members have 7 days to let us know that they wish to have it, or it will be disposed of.
Hacking the space
Our space is a part of who we are as a group, so we encourage our members to “hack” it to improve the environment and add their touch of individuality. Members should feel free to propose changes to the space, from physical layout, to painting, organising, adding art to the walls. All of these changes make the space nicer to be in, and encourage more members to join us.
If you have an idea for how we can make it better, or wish to offer up some effort to improve things, have a chat on the members’ Discord channel to get a feel for how the group responds. Assuming that there is agreement, make it happen! Of course, some larger changes or proposals will need to be voted on, so if there are lots of conflicting ideas on how to approach a problem, hold off until we can make that decision as a group. We can either cast a written vote in the members Discord or raise it at an AGM. If you’re not sure if the idea is large enough to require formal discussion, feel free to ask one of the directors who can point you in the right direction.
Policies and how we are run
Equality and Diversity
Cardiff Hackspace is committed to treating all people equally and with respect – irrespective of their age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs, or sexual orientation.
Discrimination of any form will not be tolerated in or around the Hackspace. If you experience anyone discriminating or creating an unwelcoming atmosphere in our Hackspace or on any of our communication channels; please speak up and either raise it with the person or speak to one of the directors so we can ensure we maintain our atmosphere of openness and knowledge sharing. If issues continue to occur, please see the complaints procedure below so we can put a stop to it as soon as possible.
We like to think that everybody will continue to act awesomely, but we accept that there are times when this is not the case. We aim to maintain an atmosphere of openness, welcoming and knowledge sharing. If any member feels that something is getting in the way of that, please raise it with one of the directors who will attempt to resolve the problem. Issues raised with any director will be relayed to the other directors to ensure that it is dealt with quickly and impartially. Rest assured that you will not be judged for trying to make the space a better place for all. If issues continue to occur, it may be necessary to revoke membership in order to keep an acceptable atmosphere in the space – but this action will only be taken as a last resort when other approaches have been ignored.
Voting and AGMs
Calling a meeting – General meetings can be called whenever it is seen as necessary, but the Hackspace aims to have at least one per year, the Annual General Meeting. There should be 21 days notice for an AGM or GM where a special resolution is intended to be passed, and 14 days notice for all other GMs. This can be reduced if more than 50% of the members agree.
Who can vote – All members have 1 equal vote, board or directors positions do not increase this. The only exception to this is that in the case of a tie vote, the chair can choose to cast an extra deciding vote for the motion.
Proxy Votes – If you are unable to attend a GM, you can nominate a proxy to vote on your behalf, this should be done in writing via Discord or email to the directors.
Resolutions and Voting – Any member of the Hackspace can propose a motion to vote on, this must be seconded by another member and will at that point go to a vote, which will be performed with a show of hands by all members present. There must be at least 50% of members present or having nominated proxies for voting to be valid.
Written Votes – Occasionally issues may be raised that we feel will be voted on fairly unanimously, these can be put to vote in writing through the Discord members channel. If a vote receives more than 75% support in this channel, it shall be passed, otherwise the issue will be raised at the next GM.
Minutes – Minutes should be recorded at all meetings by the secretary, if for some reason the secretary cannot make it, it must be arranged for somebody else to take their place. Discussion points in the meeting should be noted down, along with the results of any vote taken for record going forward. These minutes should be uploaded to the member’s Google Drive folder so others who could not attend can see what was decided.
Roles and responsibilities
Directors – The responsibility of the directors is to make sure that things happen at the space, official practicalities are dealt with, that problems are resolved and that member’s voices are heard. They have the same voting rights as any other member. Their job is to maintain the day-to-day and not to make changes that will fundamentally change the use or environment of the space. Such changes should always be the result of votes at a GM. Our current directors are Kieran Moore, Ben Havell, Neil Monteiro and Mark Hayward
They may be contacted using Discord or in person at the space for any issues or questions.
Officers – These are members who have taken on a responsibility for running a specific aspect of the space, note that there may be more than one person with a given role, or multiple roles to a single person. These, plus the directors constitute our “board”.
- Membership Officer – This person deals with ensuring that new members can join and onboarding new members. They should record all details of new members in the appropriate document on Google Drive. Our current membership officer is: Neil Monterio
- Chair – This member has the responsibility for managing GMs, they should ensure all issues are addressed and voting is done fairly. They will arrange for GMs to be held and control the flow though the agenda during them. The chair can vote on issues and in the case of a tie, may choose to cast a second deciding vote. Our current chair is: Kieran Moore
- Social Media Officer – This person deals with maintaining our social media presence, posting updates and responding to queries through social media channels. Access to these platforms will be provided when a member takes this position. This role is not currently filled
- Health and Safety Officer – This person is responsible for maintaining the checks on safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid. Note that it is not their responsibility to ensure all members act in a safe manner, that is a job all members share. Our current Health and Safety Officer is: This role is not currently filled
- Secretary – This person is responsible for taking minutes at all meetings and sending out copies to all members. Our current secretary is: Ben Havell
- Treasurer – This person is responsible for ensuring that we are paying our bills and updating our records with Companies House. If you have purchased something on behalf of the Hackspace (with prior approval!), talk to the treasurer to get your money back. Our current treasurer is Mark Hayward.
Our primary form of communication is Discord, which contains many channels for various conversions, as well as membership only channels for discussions which affect the space. Other resources that are occasionally used are:
- The Hackspace website! https://cardiffhackspace.co.uk/
- The Hackspace Email group https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/hackspacecardiff – This is not used very often, but is sometimes contacted by outside individuals who are looking for people of a “Hackspace” mindset, it has also been a source of people from outside the space donating equipment, so is worth keeping an eye on
- The Hackspace Member’s Google Drive folder, members will have to be invited to this, which requires you to have an active Google account. It contains this document and records of our GM meetings. You may request access to this folder via Discord if you do not have this already.
- The Hackspace Management Google Drive folder, this contains member details and copies of important documents for the running of the Hackspace, you will not have access to this unless there is a specific need. If you believe you require access to this, please contact a director.
- The Hackspace email account – this is only to be used for official Hackspace business, and answering requests. Access to this will only be provided where required, please speak to a director if you believe you need it.
Information Access Control
Creating accounts – There are often times when members help by setting up or managing different parts of our virtual presence, via social media or other services. We request that any time this is done, either a minimum of 1 director is granted full administrator access, or in cases without individual access control, that the administration password is shared with one of the directors who will add this to our repository of credentials. It is important that this is always followed to prevent any single person becoming a point of failure which could prevent Hackspace maintaining access to certain systems.
Password security – All passwords which are not tied to an individual account should be changed and the repository updated at least once per year, and always after a GM occurs which changes any position on the board. This will ensure that only members who should have access do and keep us protected from attacks.
Access Control – When board positions or requirements for access change, we should always ensure that old permissions are removed and records kept up to date. If there are situations where members outside of the board are given access to a specific system to help perform a task, this should be noted in the password repository so we can keep these members up to date when the passwords are changed, and ensure that passwords are rotated when this access is no longer required.
If any member leaves, or has any rights removed for any reason, they should be removed immediately from any channels no longer appropriate for them in Discord, and all records checked to ensure that they no longer have access to any of our systems.
Acceptable Use – The use of Hackspace accounts should always be limited to Hackspace specific business. All data should be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner. Data is only to be maintained for the explicit purpose for which it was collected, and is to be deleted when no longer necessary.
This document acts as a description of policy and day-to-day running of the Cardiff Hackspace and was agreed on by vote at an AGM, any change suggestions are welcome, but will require member agreement to be added.