Discussion Thread: Member donations of equipment and materials to VHS

Maybe talking out my ass here, but shifting focus to the more key community values might be rewarded with the kind of space that allows to keep the potential resources around i.e. not have to do the difficult trade-off analysis, conflicts of opinion etc.
Im not sure what it would take to attract a potential donor of space. Maybe look at what kinds of tax write-off are available to a donor ? Aside from that hacking is antithetical to urban society which makes it hard to sell I’d think. Maybe the toastmasters concept has something to offer ?

@Janet TLDR; make space for donations, keep accepting them, continue using
our current system of purging stuff.

what system? Actually scratch that question. I don’t want to distract from a discussion of donation handling. :smile:

I say no “donations” at all unless directors approve.

@Janet three-week-bin system.

I don’t see any problem with the way we are doing things and I don’t see it
problematic or time consuming.

The three week bin is great. I totally agree with you Toma.

I’m talking about random dumpings/donations that don’t seem to be managed by that system. i.e…they’re just left at the space in a corner.


Toss it in the three week bin?

Did someone leave a bunch of stuff in the corner recently that I am not aware of?

Yes a few things, but they have been sorted out with the owners.

Presuming the answer is ‘no’:

At VHS we really try to not make the Board of Directors a dumping ground for random administrative tasks. Ideally the BoD pays the rent and other bills, tracks the bank account, manages the relationship with the landlord, and gets to spend the rest of their time hacking stuff like everyone else.

If you want a designated group to handle donation processing, feel free to convene such a group and invite others to join. If you think it needs official VHS buy-in, propose a new committee at a QGM. Or you could do what anyone else has done who has ever managed donations, and just do it.

The donations tend to be of relatively little value. Same thing at VCL: about a dozen arc welders, many of them antiquated or non-functional. There for not a donation but a liability once disposal costs factor in.

I didnt say the directors have to do anything.

Wait, what?

I say no “donations” at all unless directors approve.

I’m confused.

No… If I understand the gist of what you said, it’s Do-ocracy ie You leave stuff at your own risk, unless you want to administer a safekeeping program. Directors identities are public so nobody can be be prevented from asking you anything anyway… I wouldn’t expect a response necessarily, but…

Thanks everyone for taking the time to add to this discussion.

What I’ve heard so far is:

  • 3 Week Bin system is working fine
  • Keeping stuff is great too as this stuff can be hacked
  • Leave the BOD out of this cause they already have enough to do :slight_smile:

VHS has gotten along fine to date so changes are not “needed” or “urgent”.

Spending some time sorting through and documenting some of the piles at VHS has been interesting. It’s like going through a time capsule in some ways. If nothing else someone else may take an interest in some of these pieces.

My intention for this discussion was to think a bit about future donations that come into the space from current members of Equipment that is intended to be used in the space or for the space.

Take the Reflow Oven as an example. @TomKeddie and @packetbob talked about getting one. I helped organize a fundraiser for it and packetbob built it. There have been SMD reflow workshops given, it is documented on the Wiki. @xquared has stepped in to learn how to trouble shoot it. So this donated tool now has a group of “Champions”. It is documented and it is being used. This same goes for the 3D printers, the laser cutter. The CNC machines etc.

So I guess rather than just dropping off some useful equipment or material at VHS and hoping it’s of use I was thinking about how increase the odds of that thing being used.

One recent example of equipment that came in and consumed a bunch of time, took up space, never went anywhere and then was finally disposed of is the Carvewright CNC. It is an interesting thread to review.

This is what I would like to avoid.


But in that case the donor did exactly what you suggested which was to get member buy-in, which he did.
Sorry, I read your posts as meaning that you were NOT volunteering to administer a donation program.

I think what you actually did recently though is a perfect example of what a donor should have to establish.
(Adding to @Janet suggestion) i.e. some evidence beforehand that the thing is of value. i.e. part numbers and links to ebay showing it’s value. OR maybe making the creation of a wiki a precondition to making the donation.

I would like to propose the following fast, simple, and easy to remember test. Coincidentally it spelled out a highly memorable word. :slight_smile::

The C.R.A.P test for offers of donations outside the 3-week bin system.

C - Condition, does it work?
R - Room, do we have any for it?
A - Agreement, on talk that members want it?
P - Person who will own it exists?

So next time someone brings in an item to VHS for donation (including yourself), ask:

"Does it pass the C.R.A.P test?" :slight_smile:

If it does - keep that crap!!!


Crapocracy ! Like that even better.:grin:

1 Like

@Majicj I am preoccupied right now, but maybe I can help with updating the
wiki when I come back?


Along the same line as Janet’s CRAP test, is London’s Hackspace’s guide for donated items:

Before donating use the following points as a guide:

  • Is it on our wishlist? - if the item is not on our wishlist then check on IRC or the mailing list before bringing it into the space. If it is on the wishlist then bring it in - thank you!
  • Is it on our List of Unwanted Donations? - If the item is on this list, we already have so many of them that we don't need any more.
  • Will you be upset if it is thrown away? - If it would be difficult for the average hacker to comprehend the intrinstic hack-value of the item then it may end up in our 3 week disposal process. Large items that will not fit through the disposal process could get thrown out without warning. If this does not appeal then it might be better not to donate the item.
  • Does it meet any of the following criteria? - If it doesn't then we probably do not want or need it currently - but thanks for thinking of us!:
    • Item is a tool useful for the types of hacking that take place at the space.
    • Item is a common part/component that is not scrap.
    • Item is in working order and has a reasonable resale value.
    • Item can be easily stripped for high value parts.
  • Also of interest is their remedy to people bringing in unwieldy or potentially dangerous items:

  • Will the Hackspace accept the donation? - if you bring items to the space with the intention of donating them without first making sure that the organisation is willing to accept the donation (as decided by consensus on the mailing list) then the items are still in your ownership, and it is your personal responsibility to dispose of them once you're asked to do so. This is especially true for large items, or items that require unusual means of disposal (e.g. toxic materials.)
  • I believe our wiki used to have a link to it.


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