September 2022 - Board Meeting

9/7/2022 Area 515 Board Meeting

9/7/2022 Area 515 Board Meeting


  • President: Dave

  • Vice President: Jake

  • Secretary: Brad (remotely)

  • Director: Carlin

  • Director: Ryan


  • Secretary: Meg

  • Director: Tom

Also Attending:

  • Member: Cody H

  • Member: Troy M

Approval of Minutes from Previous Meeting

Vote to approve minutes from the August board meeting

Yes: 5

No: 0

Result: Passed


  • $1500 was paid for the new carpet in the classroom and laser room (This was submitted via email due to Treasurer's absence.)

  • The Investment Committee met and the notes from the meeting have been posted online. Meg is looking into getting everything arranged that the committee decided.

Next Member Meeting

  • Now scheduled for Saturday, October 1st at 4:00pm

  • After some discussion, the CEC's plan to hold a bridge building competition before the meeting was agreed upon. The bridge building, community building competition will start at 2:00pm the day of the member meeting.

Trello Review

  • This was skipped because the only the CEC has really been updating it.

SHR Renewal

  • Nobody felt the need to discuss this. One director praised this member for their contributions to the space.

Vote to renew this member's Starving Hacker Rate at $0 per month for 6 months

Yes: 5

No: 0

Result: Passed

Space Updates

  • In the Metal Shop, the blasting cabinet needs a dryer, and a modification to the drop tube to prevent jamming. The line of compressed air from the auto shop reaches just fine and does not need altering. However, before the the blasting cabinet can be used, the Metal Shop first needs to fix the exhaust fan.

  • Jason recently pulled the exhaust fan apart and oiled it. He indicated it could be repaired but didn't have time to reassemble or execute the repairs. When Jason could effect repairs is unknown. (In looking back through emails after the meeting, the exhaust fan stopped working sometime in June.)

    • It was speculated that the exhaust fan broke down because members didn't know to also open the door when it was running.

    • Dave suggested attaching an arduino with a temperature sensor to the exhaust fan in order to protect it from overheating in the future.

    • The idea of purchasing a new exhaust fan was briefly discussed as well, several directors said they would look into it.

  • The lock on the front door needs to get replaced. We still have the lock that Dave bought, but modifications need to be made to the door to get it to fit (aka. drill some holes). Jake mentioned having a jig that might work for the purpose and said he would check.

  • TIG Welder - No update on this.

  • Front Sign - This is currently waiting on Brad to dial in appropriate settings for the plexiglass to be milled on the CNC.

Community Engagement Committee (CEC)

  • Unfortunately the initial write up of the CEC's minutes disappeared from Trello before the Secretary went to post them online. Some of the committee members have back up copies so the minutes will be reconstructed. In the future they plan to use Google docs.

  • The CEC considered making a prize for the bridge-building activity. The idea of a $10 gift card was brought up.

  • Carlin knows a guy who makes t-shirts. The CEC would like to do an "In for $10" to raise money and buy a bulk order of shirts with the space's logo on them. In for $10 participants would get their shirt for $10, and extras could be sold for $15.

  • The CEC would like to make Area 515 stickers. Brad made a bunch of stickers using the vinyl cutter, but it was a complete pain in the patootie. Each sticker took at least 20 minutes of work.

    • The board gets lots of spam emails from a company called StickerYou. They made our training stickers. They were mentioned as a possibility by an apparently masochistic board member.

    • Carlin said he also knows a guy who makes stickers.

    • Ultimately the CEC will look into it.

  • Cody has survey that he would like to send out to all the members. He plans to start posting member spotlights online and would like to gather info from members. He plans to make new blog posts on our website once a month.

  • Dave created a CEC mailing group

  • The Science Center gave Cody and John positive feedback on their interaction with the girls science summer class. They said they're excited to work with them more in the future.

  • A method of sharing social media passwords with the CEC was briefly discussed, but it was decided that the board would simply retain all the login information, and Jake would create automation to post new content to the various social media sites.

CEC - Space Work Day / Space Reset Day

  • After some discussion, the CEC was given the go ahead to plan a Space Work Day or Space Reset Day. They'll schedule and promote an event where members are encouraged to come in and help out with a project that's decided in advance in conjunction with the Tool Stewards. The event might include a barbeque or something similar.

  • It was noted that Space Work days are held each month and were intended to be similar to this, however typically only a core group of 4 or 5 people show up and end up spending all their time just on cleaning.

CEC - Maker Kits

  • The CEC brought up the idea of introducing "Maker Kits." Some sort of kit that would have materials and that you could put together using the tools at the space. We could do wood kits of some kind or maybe 3D printer kits.

  • It was brought up that the space has offered kits in the past, but only a very few were ever sold. In response, the CEC pointed out they have the bandwidth to promote the kits as well.

  • One director pointed out the difficulty with making kits would be the economics of it. If things like pre-cut wood pieces were ordered, the organization would have to sell the kits and make their return on investment before ordering different parts for a different kit.

  • The idea of a kits webpage was brought up. It would be a page on our website with all the plans needed to create different things. This way no money would have to be invested in materials.

  • If the CEC decides to offer these kits in conjunction with a class, it was strongly recommended that they make people pay for the kits when they sign up. Past experience has shown that if the space waits to charge people at the door, most people don't show up.

  • Another idea was that the CEC could work in conjunction with the Tool Stewards to come up with training kits. Kits that would be useful for members when they're being trained on a tool. This would have the added benefit of getting more tool documentation posted online.

  • One director took issue with the word "training" as they felt that Tools Stewards don't so much "train" as "offer an experience."

  • The board emphasized its wish that the CEC get involved in holding more classes at the space. We've had a lot of success holding a learn to solder class. Dave would still be willing to lead it, but if there are more than say 5 people he'd want help with it. It was also suggested that the max class size be 8 people.

CEC - Separate Discussion Area

  • The CEC would like to set up a new online discussion area or forum, something like Slack or Discord. Something that would provide more real-time, informal communication.

  • The board quickly decided the new area couldn't be an official way to communicate with members since not all members would join. Although it was later pointed out that automation could be set up to copy official communications into the new area.

  • Dave expressed a preference for Slack instead of Discord.

  • (It should be noted that Dave also expressed a preference for BBS instead of Discord or Slack so there's a very real chance that he's old.)

  • Some discussion took place of public vs private channels in Slack.

  • Ultimately the CEC got the go ahead to set up Slack for the space


  • The space recieved an email from Best Buy. They're planning to set up a Teen Tech Center in Des Moines and are looking to partner with local organizations. Currently the nearest Teen Tech Center is in Minneapolis.

  • At one time the space set up a partnership with Krieg to host some classes. Ultimately the Krieg classes became so successful they moved to a new location.

  • A long time ago the board approved an offer to Mainframe studios that would let their members sign up with us at a reduced rate. We never heard back from them.

  • Although the Secretary never heard it discussed at the meeting. The Current Member count stands at 84.

Metal Shop Direction

  • One of the directors expressed frustration that there are a lot of items in the Metal Shop that aren't being used. Several people are now regularly using the Metal Shop for knife making, and this director wanted to get rid of anything that's not used for knife making purposes.

  • In particular, the Spectralight CNC mill was highlighted as an inefficient use of space. It hasn't worked for years, despite Caroline's work on it and Ryan's purchases of new parts. But it takes up a whole table of space in the Metal Shop where space is already at a premium. Ultimately it belongs to Ryan R.

  • It was generally agreed that the Metal Shop needs to be reorganized. And it was suggested that a date be set for reorganization.

  • After some consultation about specs, it was decided that the Metal Shop would purchase a 1 horsepower buffer unit (not from Harbor Freight).

Metal Shop - Heat Treat Oven

  • Carlin expressed frustration with the lack of a heat treat oven. We have a grinder, but no heat treat oven.

  • Jake said that the original plan had been that we would get the new grinder, and then we'd ask Facebook for a grant later in the year to cover both a new (electric) heat treat oven and a benchtop metal mill. We have a good use case for those items that we could bring to Facebook. If the Facebook grant didn't come through, we planned to purchase the approximately $250 in materials it would take for Carlin to build a new gas-powered heat treat oven.

  • Carlin lamented that he may have underestimated the cost of materials, and that his time now is much more restricted than when this plan was made.

Metal Shop - Security Concerns

  • Carlin estimates that around $2,000 worth of his personally-owned raw materials have gone missing from the Metal Shop. The security camera system hasn't been very helpful because videos segments are short and difficult to search through. He would like to get a lock box at the space to store his stuff. He also plans to setup a baby video monitor to guard his stuff in the meantime.

  • The Metal Shop's band saw has been going through blades like crazy and although the Stewards have suspicions about who is mistreating it. They haven't been able to be sure. The inconvenience of the security cameras was mentioned in connection with this.

  • Dave said he would work on the security camera settings to make it record longer videos and thus be easier to search.

Meeting Adjourned

  • "Oh S#^%! I'm a robot! I can't create this!" - Dave, when setting up the new CEC email list

  • "Do we have a TikTok account?" - Cody "Can anybody dance?" - Dave

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