Budget for future purchases?

So, to avoid this derailing the vacuum former thread, I wanted to bring this up here.

First, it appears we’ve had a discussion of a budget among leadership, not having been involved, I’m not sure what’s gone on before. I’m not opposed to a budget, seems like a decent idea as we move forward as a more professional organization.

However, at present we’ve been hovering around $25-30K since September of 2014 w/o any such restrain, so it doesn’t appear that we’re living outside our means. A budget could be a good thing, by imposing some discipline to make sure we’re not being spend thrifts. However, any spending must go through a regular vote, which already acts as a regulator. It forces anybody making a proposal to defend it, and gives transparency to the rational to any buying decisions. It also reduces frivolous requests, since any such request is exposed to public condemnation.

A budget potentially imposes artificial constrains on any spending without an increase in preventing spend thrifty habits. For example, if we split the monthly income exactly among the various departments it’s going to easier for some areas to work under that, while others are going to struggle. The requirements of the various areas are never going to be equal due to the nature of the tools and equipment they require. As a general rule of thumb, woodworking tools are less expensive than their metal equivalents, because they do different things. (Compare a $600 wood lathe to a $4000 metal lathe) Moving outside of wood v metal it becomes even harder to draw comparisons.

It’s also difficult because a majority of the purchase that require a vote are capital improvements, not ongoing expenses. Once you have a metal lathe, table saw, or other tools you’re not going to be making a similar purchase for years if not decades. Attempting to determine what the budget should be based on past purchases is only really possible with consistent, ongoing expenses. It makes a lot of sense for the sorts of things that are already covered by the Warden budget.

The only real advantage I see to a budget would be that it would prevent all of the existing money from being spent in one or two areas. However, even in that case, the areas that are getting a lion’s share of the money appear to be those areas that people have interest in, and are willing to do the leg work of buying the equipment or making the necessary improvements. While there’s an argument to be made for having a well balanced environment to draw in new members, there’s little preventing new members from joining and improving things to the point that the meet their needs.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts.

I’m mixed on this.

I do think the idea of proposing something and letting the members decide on direction feels good, but I can also envision things getting crazy with totally nutty proposals. (Nothing so far seems nutty)

I know we don’t want to just squander our bank balance but I also think it is silly to act like we can’t afford to do anything that costs money. We should have an open discussion about the finances, the website is awesome for this.

We have been talking about upgrading our internet to more modern speeds. This will probably incur a new ongoing expense, which we should vote on. This will decrease our net income per month and we should plan accordingly.

Perhaps a reserve should be agreed upon as “untouchable” for emergencies. (Like sudden relocation if Anchor kicks us out). I can picture having $10K in reserves. I don’t know of some master plan to save up $100K and buy an abandoned warehouse (would be interesting), so that leaves the question of what do we want to do with the rest.

The wishlist is a nice place for people to write down what they would like to get, but if things are never acted on then they will probably not happen.

I do think the idea of proposing something and letting the members decide on direction feels good, but I can also envision things getting crazy with totally nutty proposals. (Nothing so far seems nutty)

I think that the membership keeps this in check. If they do not, then I don’t think there is any mechanism that would prevent this from happening. Worst case is that somebody brings in several friends, and then proceeds to proposal a vote that gives out flat cash to all his buddies. Either membership can prevent this via a vote, or the problem member can change bylaws, vote out leadership, etc until it’s possible.

Further I feel a budget would either be so simple as to be unfair. For example, all areas get X% of the budget divided evenly, which is unfair because not all needs are the same. I can’t see the kitchen or lounge spending as much money as metal working. Most adjustment processes would allow whoever was in charge of making the budget to effectively control the spending, rather than membership. It would also act as a large barrier to further capital improvements. For example, I don’t think that most allocations of the budget would have allowed the 4K metal Lathe through, since it effectively represented about 1/3 of the budget for one year.

We have been talking about upgrading our internet to more modern speeds. This will probably incur a new ongoing expense, which we should vote on. This will decrease our net income per month and we should plan accordingly.

I think Will is still looking into this, but isn’t at the phase of being able to offer any real information. With remotely viewed meetings, better cameras (someday), and the improved server storage a nice internet connect makes sense. I’m not so sure that it will substantially increase spending, at least not in the same way the annex has. (Say ~$50 vs $300 per month).

Perhaps a reserve should be agreed upon as “untouchable” for emergencies. (Like sudden relocation if Anchor kicks us out). I can picture having $10K in reserves.

I think this is a good idea. Further I’d suggest that it be an amendment to the bylaws, so that it can’t be simply overturned via a simple membership vote. I’ll try to remember to bring it up when the annual special meeting comes up.

Okay, if I have this right, yearly budget is rental, consumables, insurance, etc… essentially non discretionary funding. Wardens have some discretionary funding, but this is a fixed and controlled amount. The next category is discretionary proposals, and the worry is that these will exceed comfortable reserves.

On large purchases? What if the plan was to return the outlay to the treasury by users fees or fundraisers until the purchase cost/interest was recovered? Lets look at the metal lathe… lets say it is 6k all told. In your typical 2000 hr year, 3 bucks an hr would pay that off. You don’t even have to mandate it, it could be voluntary. Takes three years… the metal guys are slacking :slight_smile:

2k for a vacuum former? 5 bucks a day… 400 days use pays it off.

It’s a trade off… something I don’t have/can’t afford individually/don’t have room for vs a usage fee to help acquire said items. Sure, some usage will not be constant… but hey, if the principle sticks, part of the budgetary objection falls to the wayside.

It’s a different way of looking at purchases and shared funding. Some are always going to contribute more than others… but it’s worth a thought… because I like big ticket items, and Brad needs to get the Tormach CNC mill with toolchanger before the cnc lathe anyway because the mill can do everything (with accesories) the lathe can to a large extent. Not that I am hitting the hint hammer, nope nope nope. Then we can talk cnc plasma cutters… and a cnc grinder… and a large inspection plate, yup… need that too :slight_smile:

The other thing is to ratchet up the % required for approval… either x dollars or x% mandate a 3/4 vote. (might be current practice) 3/4 is a pretty high bar… 75 percent. Given in social organizations 20 percent is always very vocally opposed most all the time just because, that is just 5% to sway to kill a motion. 90% is darn near consensus based… Full consensus… whew… one no vote and no go… I’d rather try for 3/4 in a fight to the death of theoretical principles than craft a consensus proposal…

I think they tried that with laser minutes, which are easy to track since the laser requires a computer anyway. From looking at the open finance charts it appears that there was a large block bought in 2015, and one month with $30, and otherwise nothing. Either people aren’t using the laser, or they’re not bothering to buy the laser minutes.

Further, I think this shifts a lot of burden onto the older members, same as with passing the hat around. Everybody gets to benefit, a few people have to actually pay for it. If I’m going to pay for it, AND put in the the time and effort I’ve got a place for such tools, it’s my garage. :wink:

I believe this has inevitably discouraged users from being interested in or considering to use the laser cutters.
Which may have further led to the lack of classes and training for the laser when newer more interested members present themselves.

I've cracked quite a few jokes about this in the past but to be honest on more than one occasion, I have considered to propose votes that either removed the cost and / or removing the certification.

I haven't ever followed through with this mostly because I know there are still members that have large quantities of minutes that were purchased for the original delivery of the large laser and I'm not quite sure how or what I could propose that would make it fair and to please them as well.

I think a major issue to people being certified for the laser is that it has only been functional for about 30days of the entire tenure of my membership.

I think that’s the big laser, but yes down time seems like a larger issue.

The smaller laser has likely been functional the entire term of your membership but then again I don't know how long you've been a member. I just don't think it's been down anytime recently.

to be fair, you get like 16 free minutes a month with your membership to use on the laser. and most of the time, you can usually easily get your cuts done within that amount

Yes, and a lot of folks made laser minute purchases during that price change cut over which resulted in that big spike. Some of us still have lots and lots of unused minutes.


as far as large purchases and budgets…one thing that has been thrown out is to purchase a couple large dollar items, get the stuff on our wishlist and then keep the reserves.

if that were the case, the large $ items that could improve the hive include:
vacuum former
nice tig-welder
decent resin printer or powder printer

Any other large budget purchases that would be great for the hive? I mean if we are talking about large dollar purchases, we might as well throw them out and get a feel for what membership wants.

Define “large $”, are we talking above 1K, 500, etc?
If it’s above $1K:

  • Professional thickness planer ~$2K

If it’s ~$500-$1K range then some things I’d like, and have heard other people say they want:

  • Sliding Compound miter saw ~$300-500
  • Panel Saw ~$800-1000
  • More Clamps
  • Nicer router and router table $500-1000
  • Mortiser $500

As for what membership wants, it seems like that gets resolved via the voting process. A lot of the stuff on the wish list appears to be exactly that, with nobody really caring enough to go through the process of putting together a vote.

i was thinking above $1k

It’s a fair point, but the laser bulb is a consumable, not the machine itself.

Yeah, I’d feel the bite of bucks/hr to use the lathe, but the reason I am comfortable proposing it, is it enables the next big purchase :slight_smile: Or accessories purchases… Collet chuck, milling attachment, tool post grinder… all are pricey.

As far as me and the laser… I’d have to have a project I needed laser cutting. If I go back to making rcwarships… that would be precut 1/4 ply wood ribs and decking. Tempting… Back foul demons of hobbies past!

Or, say balsa glider bodies for those thick cardstock winged flyers,

Or frosting glasses…

Crud, when was that class again??

i believe Dustin was going to try and do a class next saturday…

I’d like to just suggest that we are also behind on replacing, maintaining, upgrading small items like hand tools, chisels, socket sets, dremel, etc. At present this adds up to a fair amount. So, we should take this opportunity to consider devoting a chunk of surplus to upgrading and maintaining everyday hand tools and basic power tools as well.


Could you be a bit more exact? We’ve got a dremel and bits for it, but I’ve never used it. I am opposed to buying anything that needs to be sharpened, which includes chisels of all shapes and sizes. Same with hand planes. For socket sets, we have a few floating around, I’ve yet to not be able to find one. So I’m not seeing a glaring deficiency.

We did have a lack of tin snips which I fixed on my last trip to the hw store.


I know what ya mean with the general items and yes we will have to check that out. With all of this big stuff hitting now and the atmosphere changing a lot at the hive putting up the proposal for the right tig for the space will be about 3,500 to 4k installed for a quality unit that Dave B and I talked about the year before. I’m looking at a miller syncrowave 210 that is posted in the welding thread or an equivalent with same output features. Everything seems to be just chaotic on the list with threads and votes getting all mixed up. If there is going yo be an upcoming day or meeting yo look at things I would love to help if possible.

I did a large hand tools purchase (~$450) a while ago.
Mostly screwdrivers, pliers, etc.
I’d be happy to take a look again and see what is missing.
I didn’t organize the sockets. There a few sets around, maybe we can combine them into one that actually has everything. :slight_smile:

I think we are at a point where the warden budget could handle small tools.

If we are interested in getting a Dremel that might push into a vote.