Cleaning Up The Hive: A Call to Action

This email is long, and for that I apologize. I'd ask that you read
it in full, as it may impact items you own or have left at the Hive.

Two weeks ago, when the producer from Channel 9 was visiting the space
to interview us and take video, one thing he said to me struck home a
bit. He said, "This place looks like where old hardware goes to die."

I looked around the space on Tuesday night after the meeting, and I
realized how right he is. A significant portion of our work areas and
our storage areas are filled with old, broken, inoperable stuff. Some
of it is old PCs, some of it is half-working projects, some of it is
stuff where our imaginations and hearts are bigger than our willpower
and time. (As a member of this glass house, do not mistake me as I
throw no stones.)

We need a change. We need more usable space for our members to
complete projects. We need old projects cleared out. We need larger
personal storage space for ongoing projects than old school lockers.
We need more work tables and better organization.

As such, we have formed a plan:

1) It's garbage month. On the eve of our 1st anniversary, it's time
for a reckoning and a serious cleaning. Room by room, we need to
assess what needs to stay and what needs to go. To that end, we have
marked the left hand side of the open area with tape on the floor (see
attached image.)

Between now and the 15th, items should be moved to this area that are
to be disposed. After the 15th, there will be a ~1 week time period
where we won't put anything new here, to give everyone a time to check
it over and ensure that something they value isn't slated for the
trash. I will work with the City to schedule a large and/or hazardous
item pickup for anything moved into this area.

2) Ed will be building (with some assistance) some 3x3x3 cubbies on
the wall outside the dirty room by the double doors. These cubbies
will be designated for members to use to store ongoing projects or
other personal items so as to leave work areas and tools clear of
projects that are in progress. This will allow us easier access to
tools and collective work areas.

3) We will be building a long workbench along the wall left of the
double doors. Under this bench will be shorter work tables that can
be slid out and used for projects or for temporary work space. The
remainder of the large workspace will be used for a combination of
larger tools (lathe, saws, etc).

4) We're going to hold a breakdown day, I believe on a Saturday (I
can't remember if we said the 19th? - Dave or Ed or Paul please chime
in) wherein the trash pile and other items will be stripped for their
usable parts and everything else thrown away the following day. If
you want some wrench time tearing down some electronics and other
stuff, I'd encourage you all to help out!

In order for this to work, we need everyone's help. Nobody wants to
throw away something that is useful to another member, but the
situation has become untenable. If you have brought items to the Hive
in the past year and you know they're still sitting around, please
make the time to come and and determine if they're usable or not and
if not move them to the trash pile yourself.

Between the 8th and the breakdown day, you are welcome to remove your
own items from the trash zone and take them home with you if you don't
want them thrown away, but unless they are slated for use in an active
or ongoing project, we ask that they be removed from the Hive
altogeher. If you feel there needs to be an exception for a
particular object, please ask and we'll handle that on a case by case
basis. (I am sure there are things that will come up.)

The goal of this entire project is a spring cleaning, a fresh start,
and a new way of looking at how we share our work areas and how we
keep stagnated projects and just plain trash (I'm looking at you, pile
of Pentium 2s) from overtaking our valuable work space.

Here's to a cleaner 2nd year!


2010-06-01 22.11.45.jpg

This is an awesome. I for one will be putting 3 arcade cabinets in
this area. They need TLC if you wan to take them home (and lots of
parts) but that will free up a lot of space. What about
non-functioning laptops/ they go in this area in
preparation for breakdown day?


Yes, non-functioning computers should be put in this area. I would
think we should move many of the computers from the Makerbot room to
the trash zone, as well as any non-functional laptops from the
workbench area. There are 10+ laptops sitting around of dubious
working order that probably have very usable parts but no one is doing
anything with them...

Ok, I will try to reserve some time this weekend to help out with this
effort. Organizing how to do the breakdown will be more challenging.
A list of what is good and what we want to keep would be really
useful. And bins to put these things in...

I need to find the name of the company again, but there is a local plastic company that makes pretty much anything that is plastic. We recently got their catalog at our house and I was drooling over some of the things in it. The nice thing is that since they are the manufacturer of most of what they are selling the prices were pretty good.

As for their products we are talking everything from DVD cases to large plastic barrels to lab tubing to little plastic washers and more. They had an entire section for plastic storage containers and drawers. They are located apparently somewhere up 75 between Cincinnati and Dayton (I believe)

I actually found good clear, plastic storage bins at Target. For under $10, you can get a bin with a snapping lid. I use them for storage of the kid’s clothes and other stuff that we swap out each spring/fall. It’s nice because you can see what’s in them so it’s easier to find things. We can discuss options as we spec out what we are going to do and see what bins we want to purchase. (and from what sources)

Along those lines, I have been thinking a lot about the “cubbies” and in the process of designing, them, I think I have come up with something better that is more functional for what we want to do. I will spec out everything before the next meeting to share it with the group. The concept stemmed from some ideas that Dave, Paul and I were discussing after the last meeting and some thoughts I shared with them a few days later.

Speaking of cubbies and workbenches, we need to make sure the artist gets his stuff off the walls in the next few days. If things are still on the walls by the double doors on Tuesday, I am going to be taking them down and stacking them in the area outside of our space. (with the other art that’s down the hall in the back) If they are that precious/valuable to him, then he needs to get serious and move them. (If I move them and something gets damaged, I take no responsibility for it since he’s had PLENTY of time to move them) Many of my projects have been in holding patterns because I can’t build the work areas I need over there. That all changes this Tuesday…

Here’s to a productive second year at HIVE13!


OK. I just got back from HIVE13 and spent some time cleaning out the Makerbot room. (with Hodapp’s help) I moved all the computers that were stacked up against the wall into the “trash” area. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are trash (although most probably are) but they just shouldn’t be taking up valuable real-estate that should be a work area.

I will try and get by again tomorrow to get a few more things cleaned up.


Would anyone be opposed to, say, a policy of:
- keeping labels of some sort on/near items, containing the name of
the person who's responsible for it, the date it was spoken for, and
whether said item is claimed for a project, inoperational and mostly
for scrap or repair, or functioning
- sending any items that are unlabeled, or labeled but unclaimed,
into some sort of hardware purgatory where it has N weeks to redeem
itself or else go out as garbage
It doesn't need to be complex or perfect, but we would benefit from
something that causes hardware that no one wants to use to migrate out
the door, rather than hide in the corners until the corners are
hidden. They're not children. It's okay to throw them away. We're not
a hardware orphanage.

I think you should label the “purgutaroy” area with an adorable sign that says “St. Hodapp’s Orphanage for Hardware”

Ok, the sign idea has to happen now.

As for a “purgatory” area, I think that is a great plan. I was thinking something like a 4’x4’ area to the right of the rear double doors where the ‘rocket’ sculpture is currently located.

On Tuesday evening after the meeting we discussed the following method for regular emptying of the hive:

  1. First Saturday of every month is known to be “Disassemble Day” People can come down to the hackerspace and work on tearing the stuff apart to salvage any components that they wish to keep. This however raises the question of someone putting something in the “Purgatory” zone friday evening without giving people a chance to claim it. I have been stumped with coming up with a simple solution to this problem.
  2. Either the day of the disassemble day, or shortly after (as in one to two days), we properly dispose of the trash generated from the disassembly day either in the garbage, computer recycling plant, or hazardous waste site.

Great ideas.

BTW: I don't know if it was brought up at the meeting last week, but a
BIG thank you to Paul for cleaning out the bathroom. It REALLY looked
bad after the roof repair and he did a fantastic job - it is spotless.

We need to add that to our monthly tasks, a regular cleaning if the


I now have images in my head of old women coming in and tearfully
begging on their knees for us to just give a home to this poor,
unloved, dusty little computer they found sitting on the street with
all its RAM and hard drives removed, and us having to explain that we
just don't have room for it.
See, if we label it "purgatory," we can feel less bad about sending
the hardware to its demise.

Well, sometimes you need to euthanize the orphan hardware when it has been in the orphanage for too long. Think of it like a PETA pet shelter.

I love the label idea. I will be at the Hive tomorrow to move more stuff. Should we design a basic label that would work with some kind of set Avery label that is cheap?

That would probably be best.
What fields do we need on it? I was thinking:
1. Name - Whoever is responsible for the hardware
2. Date - What day said responsibility was claimed
3. Working - Fully working, non-working, or any of the various in-
between states
4. Status - circle/highlight any of the following:
"Scrap" meaning: Up for grabs, and destined for garbage in N weeks
from (Date).
"In Use" meaning: Currently being used for some function, if it's not
self-evident (e.g. I don't think the fridge, table, toilet, or
Makerbot are going to need a label)
"Mine" meaning: (Name) owns it and will likely want it back, or has
claimed it from the "Scrap" category.
"Project ___" meaning: It's claimed for the specified project.
"Wiki ___" meaning: See the specified Wiki page for some other

Suggestions? Sure, it's ripe for abuse, but I think we trust each
other enough that that won't be an issue.

Hey all.

I guess I had always assumed that we'd follow the processes of Free
Geek and properly dispose of or recycle any tech we weren't going to
use. I'm happy to offer the use of P2's box truck and had imagined
we'd just fill the back of it with all the excess computers & whatnot
and haul them down to CCC (http:// or another similar

I use CCC but just note that monitors, printers and a few other things cost money to drop off. Not sure if they take scrap from salvaged goods. We should call them to see if they can take a box truck worth of stuff.

I don’t think anyone’s suggesting we don’t use best efforts to dispose of everything properly when possible. I think the underlying message is that we aren’t the CCC and we need to set up proper processes to accept and quickly utilize any equipment we receive. (and draw the line on what equipment we can’t use) Anything we get and isn’t needed for a project, (whether in whole or stripped for parts) we need to dispose of in a timely fashion. That means we need to identify who will accept what equipment. (and in what condition)


maybe we should determine the cost of having stuff disposed of and do
a kickstarter/pledgie/fundraiser of sorts to raise the funds?

also, if anyone is a hardcore ebay/craigslist type, perhaps we could
sell off some finished products to raise funds for disposal?

I was just at the hive and moved the mame cabinets around. The 2 that was up for projects is currently in the “trash” area if somebody wants to come and get them.

Processing donations will be huge for the hive and I’m very excited about how the hive is already starting to look. I can’t wait until the space is better utilized. Tons of potential. And there is a huge need to start making labels. Can staples churn out a bunch cheaply?