Starting a Hacklab...How to??

Well for some time now i’ve been toying with the idea of starting a hacklab… however not sure where to start… So I would love to hear from all those who have started something similar on how you started and what you had when you started?

I’m looking to know more as to how it works - for now i have a few programmers & hardware guys to start with, a space to accommodate 20-25 people and a few systems.

How do you agree on who brings what? how open to do you keep it (like who takes part and who doesn’t? ) what kind of costs do you see?

My plan is to keep it free and open to anyone with an interest but i’m a bit scared that we might end up with too many people or too many variations(like people with no working knowledge to people with loads of experience) how do you manage this?

The idea is a place to explore, experiment, help and share… Most people seem to be working on their own and stop when they run into problems…i was thinking an informal forum can help overcome this…

Looking for some replies…

Cheers,
Pracas

I’ve seen there are a few in San Francisco Bay area, and in NYC. I think the big reason they haven’t caught on like wildfire is because you need major insurance. If all you’re doing is running a MakerBot and a soldering station, you may have less injury risk, but you’ll need insurance for any common space you rent and store tools. If you have CNC, lathe, or even a drill press, you have to cover liability. And then that implies that you have to train everyone in the use of tools. And train the staff in first aid. And charge people for the space, power, tools, and insurance. It’s sounding less and less like a fun garage environment and more like a for-profit enterprise… which is why I think there are so few of them.

It always comes down to lawyers… Why can’t there be implied release of liabilities when it comes to stuff like this? Yeah you don’t want to provide an unsafe environment, but why should you have to pay a lot of money for the off chance some asshole will sue you.

[edit]hmm I didn’t know they filtered for language… Its just opportunists really anger me[/edit]

I agree there are some people who will just sue for the heck of it. But sometimes a very nice person will sue you, with arguably a very good reason. A widow and children of an industrial accident victim makes for a very sympathetic plaintiff. Even if you have the best of intentions, your facility may cause grievous injury. Insurance is worth the peace of mind knowing that you won’t be ruined by a mistake or oversight.

lol… i wasn’t thinking of insurance or anything…now perhaps we should restrict it to computers/laptops + boards + soldering irons + cardboards only… does that how it works?

if someone on your property gets harmed then its generally your problem

lets say someone grabs the wrong end of a soldering iron, and has severe burns, causing them to miss work etc

a) did you get them to sign a release form?
if not, who would you rather pay them, you or your insurance

Just inviting a friend over to your house and he slips and falls and somehow has a serious injury or even death (it can and has happened) makes you liable. That is why most home insurance carries liability coverage for your property and house.

Yes, it is sad that a group of people can’t gather to work on stuff without having such overhead costs get in the way. I got an E-mail to a Bay Area club that offers instruction, open access to great power tools and other great sounding activities.

However to cover all the costs it has to be a membership thing with pretty high monthly dues. It would be OK if you had a hugh project that required all their facilites and you could work on it several days a week, but for just a once a week project it seemed pretty steep in cost to me.

Lefty

its not impossible, its just YOU need to cover your butt

ask around the local electronics wd’s (warehouse distributor) see if they or their sales reps would be interested to help a hobby group, part of that help might be funding for legal consulting, which is generally not that expensive in comparison to someone chopping off a thumb in your barn on beer + ps3 is bricked night

[edit]Legal Consulting [/edit] :-?

Well we’ve had people step on Soldering Iron, Blow up batteries, Caps, Get cut with blades, everything… but never thought of the legal angle or insurance… I think the west/east or the developed/developing comes into play here in the thought process…

perhaps i should get an indemnity form signed from all participants…

Cheers,
Pracas

Is the legal angle as bad in India as here in USA? In USA there are folks and lawyers who make a living looking for someone to sue for something. Doesn’t cost much to sue even - heck, here if you are mad at someone and wish to cause them grief - sue.

Here in USueA, a buglar can break into your home to steal things, slip and fall while carrying a load of YOUR stuff down the stairs suffering injury and sue you. It has happened.

Ken H>

Here in USueA, a buglar can break into your home to steal things, slip and fall while carrying a load of YOUR stuff down the stairs suffering injury and sue you. It has happened.

Lol!

Well here we don’t care… it would take 15 -20 yrs for something to be settled…and the system is corrupt… on top of it all we are very accommodating…

I would also suggest seeking advice from these additional resources:

hackerspaces general discussion list
open manufacturing discussion group

Hope this helps. Also, this is my first post, so I can’t seem to post links- yay.

edit: fixed

actually, this is quite interesting to read - im planning to set one up in the uk - there doesnt seem to be anything of the sort around where i am - so figured id give it a shot!

actually, this is quite interesting to read - im planning to set one up in the uk - there doesnt seem to be anything of the sort around where i am

Were would that be?

Mowcius

Im up in Dundee, UK - the best we have around here seems to be a Linux group!

Hmm, here in N Yorks there doesn’t even seem to be anything like that close enough…