2013/04/08

The Most Important Thing The DHMN Makerspace Needs: Personal Storage Space

The DHMN (Distributed Hacker/Maker Network) now has its own makerspace. Well, at least it's really close. Some painting, a bit of insurance paperwork and getting the Internet access installed, then we're there!

So what's the most important next decision to be made regarding the DHMN makerspace at 120 N. Morrison Street? In my mind, the top priority decision is to maximize personal storage space for the largest number of members. My recommendation is that a wall of storage spaces be built along the south wall of the main workspace, four spaces high by twelve spaces wide by either two or three feet deep.

Having a back wall of storage spaces would give a total of 48 spaces that could be used for personal storage of tools, supplies and projects. If you pick an optimal number of 30 for how many Full DHMN members will be using the space and 10 to 20 Limited members, the 48 spaces could be divided up as follows:
  1. 30 spaces are allocated to the Full members, with each Full member having one dedicated space for their personal tools, supplies and projects.
  2. 10 spaces are allocated as available for Full members to rent as a second storage unit.
  3. 8 spaces are allocated as available for Limited members to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are, of course, many other ways to look at storage. You could say no personal storage space is needed (although storage units are written into the DHMN guidelines, and personal storage space has been talked about as one of the primary advantages of a DHMN makerspace over using someplace like Harmony Cafe for make sessions).

Or you could say each member doesn't need as much space as a two or three foot deep storage unit along the south wall would provide. You could put personal storage space in the basement storage room that DHMN shares with The Avenue HQ. Having the personal storage there would provide much less room for each Full member. If I'm working on building a 24" long model rocket, I'd love to be able to leave the unfinished rocket and all the supplies and tools for rocket building in my storage space until the next time I could work on it. (Erin Q-L suggested making eight of the storage units on one end four feet deep rather than three feet deep -- that way members with extra long projects or equipment could rent one of those to fit their unusual needs.)

You could also say we need enough storage space for 100 Full members, or we only need enough space for 20 Full members. The makerspace at Morrison Street needs between 20 and 25 Full DHMN members to be self-sustaining. It would be good to have more than the minimum for those time when members leave or decide to change status to Limited. So 30 members was picked as a good compromise between the space planning for 100 Full members and 20 Full members. If we did get more than 30 Full members, we could easily change the storage rules so all 48 storage units along the back wall would be allocated one per each Full member on a first-come, first-served basis. And if we have more than 40 Full members, it's probably time to be looking for the second DHMN makerspace!

Although having a bank of storage units along the south wall in the main room means there is less space for tables and chairs, and it means less space for workbenches or large pieces of equipment, it seems to me that a wall of storage units is one of the primary needs for the new DHMN makerspace.

Time will tell what twists and turns the development of the makerspace at Morrison Street takes and what priority personal storage space has with the DHMN officers and general membership...

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