[NPO Tools] - Storage upgrades

In our member meeting last week, one of the big pieces we talked about (that members have constantly been asking for more of) is rentable storage spaces. With plans to move some areas in the space around and clean everything out, we’re looking to revamp all the loft spaces as storage spaces and create rolling bins under the workbenches for storage. The under workbench storage bins and at least one or two loft spaces would be locked space rentable on a monthly basis. We discussed some pretty solid ideas, but we need a more concrete plan/proposal for what this would look like and how much it would cost to put in place.

  • Rolling bins under workbenches – need to leave adequate kick room and spot for small vacuum, wheels should be as low profile as possible while still being capable of handling good amount of weight; 8-12 total
  • Storage lockers in loft – would be good to have varying sizes

Tagging a few people who have been involved in the conversation so far or who might be interested - @Mollie @jamesmcnees @JennChilds @cfstaley @stepho

I’m all for helping however I can. I believe the loft above the Metal shop area is pretty cleaned out, some sewing and misc stuff up there still. The other side has a large roll of insulation, not sure if it’s needed. I can dispose of it not.

The loft above the lasers seems like a much larger task. I’m not sure how the clean up should be addressed. Most of the stuff up there appears to have been untouched for a while. Is it stuff that needs to be gone through, or just straight disposed of?

I can also help start the lounge clean up as well. I believe we discussed disposing of the vending machines, I can start that this week if desired.


I believe that big roll is actually air filter media waiting to be cut into squares for the shop. @JoeN ?

The labeled banker’s boxes above the lasers could be correctly stored member property that we shouldn’t toss without giving people a chance to pick it up. Any box with an identifiable name on it should be set aside for now (to determine if the owner is still a member) and everything unlabeled I think can be dispositioned. @EricP do you agree?

I’m not sure how exactly we can dispose of the vending machines. It seems a waste to chuck 'em in the dumpster, even if they fit. Is anyone aware of a scrap service that’d pick 'em up? Would a vending company be able to reuse them?

I could transport them to a local metal salvage yard, and return any funds made from them. At my work int the past, we’ve tried selling old machines to people, and nobody wanted to give much for them. Didn’t seem worth the hassle and time.

If you have the means to transport them, that would be excellent!

Random thoughts and comments:

There is a tremendous amount of unutilized space. Much of it has filled with “stuff”. As makers / hackers, we all have future projects, or “I might need that someday” things that we set aside. It’s reflected in the hackerspace. If there are things stored “for the future”, schedules need to be set with execute dates or disposal dates. In perpetuity is not a good storage strategy for a shared space. Maybe a committee or team could manage inactive items taking up space. Right now, things just seem to sit forever.

Disposition of things that can be identified, great. But if they need to be picked up, people pick them up. Unidentified things get collected and set aside. Things not picked up get set aside. Then a garage sale / auction, with funds going to the space. Haul off or dumpster for what’s left.

Then there is “clean” space, and “workshop” space. Lasers, sewing, electronics, art stuff should arguably be in a clean space. Clean space with a separate air system, and doors in between. There already are different air systems, and some doors, but not everything is split up accordingly. I don’t know how the air systems are split, but adding another couple of doors to the shop between Red and Blue, and on the shop side of the hydroponics would physically block the shop off. That leaves Red in the dust zone, but it would be a start.

What is above the lounge? Is there room to loft up there?

It’s not all going to happen at once, but clearing things out and making a plan will allow it to start.

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Yes, the building ceiling is just as high over the lounge, classroom, and coworking as it is over the shop, but it’d be a non-trivial expense to build out more loft space. If we needed it that badly, it’d probably make more sense to find a new space to lease.

The carpeted front of the shop (including the bathroom and cleanroom) is on separate HVAC already; it would be well-isolated from dust if we installed shop doors. This is low-hanging fruit that’s in the short-term plan.


A lot of those concerns were addressed Wed last week, including moving lasers and certain crafts out of the woodshop, and into clean spaces, and also re purposing the clean spaces. But your ideas sound right on point with the overall idea of moving forward. I also 100% agree with the storage issues.

I do. If I remember correctly, there are 2 vending machines that need removing??

We should make a template and cut up all the filter material so it can be stored more easily and be ready to install

I own two of the vending machines. The third food vending machine does not work and was donated to the space. Mine is the soda and the one next to it.

Yes, for the lounge we talked about getting rid of vending machine (I think specifically the one with consumables) and the arcade box. For any items that could have value to another member (especially big items) we should set those aside for disposition with encouragement to make a donation to the fundraiser. We definitely need to start cleaning out, but let’s make sure we only throw away things that are not useful. Whatever we can’t get people to take, we’ll find somewhere to donate/recycle.

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In terms of loft storage area, I think it would be good for us to start with lockers in the lofts above the Tormach and were sewing has been. The one that is mostly cleared out would be the best one to start. Can someone spec that room out to start?

Good to know. I’ll leave those be. If you have a chance, can you post the 2 that are yours to avoid any confusion.

Is this something we would be interested in as far as locker storage goes?

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I’m inclined to think for tall lockers people probably want something that they could fit some nice wood slabs in or that sort of thing. I’d like to hear more from members on what kind of locked storage space they would want and be willing to pay for.

I have a Milwaukee Packout that I use to haul stuff around:

It would be great if I could store that on site. That’s about 2’ x 1.5’ x 3-4’ tall.

Storage for wood presumably needs to be able to accommodate 4’x8’ plywood and 2x4s that are 10’-14’ long.

Presumably that means that a single storage thing should be a little larger than 2’ x 4’ (footprint) x 10-14’(vertical).

That’s the minimum I would like to see.

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Latest rentable storage idea from small group meeting this week – which I think is really smart to get us started – Close off the loft spaces above Tormach and exemption E storage area (aka sewing loft which is moving to the classroom) and add key card access. We set a rate for renting the space and cap the number of members that can rent at a time. Room stays as is internally and is only accessible by a select few who have paid for it (i.e. the people who are renting it together at any given time will need to be respectful with each other about how they use the space together).

Benefits to this approach:

  • Less restriction on the size/shape of items stored
  • Less construction for making custom sized lockers to fit our needs == quicker to implement
  • Simpler accountability for use (we can see all access swipes in the system)
  • Easy to address any issues that arise since small group renting at any given time


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Just curious but why would the storage lockers need to be large enough to house materials such as wood in, especially large pieces? Have there been instances where these things have come up missing in the past? Not trying to stir up any type of fear in members that things are going missing, but if its not happening and there are cameras at vital locations in the shop to see who comes and goes with items should it ever happen, then theres no reason for there to be a separate storage than the ones we already have for those type of items.

I thought that the reason members were wanting storage, for the most part was to not have to carry their tools from their vehicles to the shop and back and forth. I have the cheaper Ridgid version of the Milwaukee Packout and I have individual locks for it but I cant see out of my back window in my SUV sometimes. Not to mention i pretty much lose all cargo space when hauling it around and can forget about transporting materials for the most part. I would much rather be able to leave it at the space somewhere secured.

Has anyone thought about possibly implementing rolling shelves in one of the loft areas? you know the kind like at hospitals, large doctors offices, and courthouses. They sell many different versions online however this guy actually made his own and documented it which seems pretty easy to follow. Just an idea though.

In the past, members (namely ones doing high production who have limited home space) have wanted to store more materials at the space than reasonable for available areas and for longer periods of time. I’m not sure whether there is still a high demand for that (speak up if you are one of those people!).

Closing in the loft area and securing it seems like it would well accommodate the packout tool boxes. Those rollout shelves look really cool, but I’m not sure it would get us more what we’re wanting out of that space and would be more costly and labor intensive to implement.