Our current space and its limitations

I would like to get a discussion for a strategy for growth of the Hive, in regards to space and our current limitations. Sense I been a member, expansion and moving has been brought up nearly yearly if not up multiple times a year. Beyond the annex, the conversation normally fizzles before any plan or thought is put into it.

Our space has served us well, and continues to serve us well, but at our rate of growth (as a makerspace and its tools) how long will that last? We are currently limited on metal working activities without a major upgrade to our metal working area. We have now seen Plasma cutting and Forging become none-viable options due to this.

While we have organized amazingly, space is still limited for growth. With Wood floors we are limited from certain equipment (I was told this is a reason we couldnt get a waterjet, my knowledge is limited on this, so I am going to assume thats accurate.)

For growth our only option within the current location is to rent out another unit if it is available. Last I checked Player’s two old space was still available, in the basement. It is disconnected from the Hive, and I am not sure much else about it at this time. Beyond that I believe we would have to wait for one of our neighbors to move out, which personally I do not see happening.

The other option is to move. While looking for spaces for my business, I found there are some really good spots that would fit the hive well, but these would also increase our rent (if we dont buy out right, which is its own set of responsibilities.)

I dont want so much to get into an argument on location but more of a conversation on how we should try and plan for near future expansions. (I will respond to this with a location that I found when looking for my business, that i thought would be a good fit, but the conversation isnt meant to be about this one location.)

The link I am posting is an idea of a new location, by no means it meant to be the be all stay all of the conversation, just something to look at.
A few nice benefits: off street parking, near Cincinnati State, just under 10k sqft, both semi and van entrances, outdoor storage and was used for a glass company, the electric is in great condition, 240 and 110 already ran. It was used by (and is still owned) by a glass company. But the building is vacant. The current asking rent is around $2500+utilities for the full site. or could be rented in sections a 4600 sqft area (upstairs) and a 5061 sq ft area (Downstairs.)

This has been discussed ad nauseum in the board meetings. There is another space available within the anchor building that would lend itself well to the activities we currently have trouble fitting. Adding that space would be vastly easier than moving, but either way we need to build our membership a bit more before it makes sense.

Which is why now would be a great time for this conversation to get a plan in motion. We can get a plan of action so we can determine what that membership level is we are reaching for as well as what we do when we hit that point. This would also be a good time to have an idea of what to do if we hit that point and that extra space at the anchor building isn’t available.

Is that space player two’s old space in the basement? Do we know how much they want for it, what status its in, what we will need to do to it to get it to usable for our purposes.

The Last minutes that include things related to this conversation in the Board meetings was November and October 2018. (Minutes below.) In that 5 month period we have had at least two conversations pop up in the mailing list that directly brings this up again. From the minutes I cant figure out or find answers to “What might we do with more space?” or a list that justifies the move. (or list that justifies not moving.) or Membership Plans & Location Plans for the next 2 years.

Some other information that may help us understand where we stand:
It appears in the last year: (All data from Open Finance Data. and rounded down)
Our membership ranged from, 61 in November 2018 to 73 in March of 2018. (current is 69)
Our current gross income is $2,752 before expenses.
Fixed Monthly Income $1,563
Leaving us with a flexible fund of Around $1,188
We also currently have a bank/paypal account of $31,512.

November Minutes related to this:
Long Term Planning
Are we considering moving?
What might we do with more space? Need to compile a list that justifies the move.
Are we simply adding space and capabilites? Or opening other lines of business?
How many active members can the current space sustain?
We’ve had past nights, not super recently, with 30+ people active in the space. There’s still quite a bit of headroom.
Scheduling conflicts for machinery would be good to have.
Where do we focus growth?
Social Media, new member engagement.

October Minutes related to this:
Long Term Planning
Membership Plans for the next 2 years
Location Plans for the next 2 years
Where do we focus growth? Members? Member Engagement? Capability?

I asked about the basement too. To be made useable, it needed work… and well, that costs money. There was also objections in the disjointed nature, and also concern about separate spaces renting something different for the really heavy industry stuff.

So, my thought overall is the strength of the hive is not in machines, but in community. And my struggle has been that manual machining is almost in itself an entire separate hobby, and the hack so to speak is that cnc can blast out the parts without spending a few years turning handles. Sure machines are nice, but it is the people that make the difference.

I did look at the old steam boiler, I am fairly sure it is never going to be put back in use. Odds are, the landlord would love to have somebody pay to haul out and dispose of that asbestos laden monster. Sure it is not that much room, but the other option is attempting to reclaim the garage thing… every option in modifying the building space has costs and advantages and disadvantages. And every option involves work. Its probably best to make a multiyear plan, because the more people there are, the harder concensus is to get.

I disagree with the community being the selling point of the hive. It may have once been, but I dont think so any more. I believe the community is important, but I dont think the community as it is will show the growth we need to even combat the stagnation (and possible lose of members) that we may see if we keep having to shut down ideas because we dont have a space compatible for them.

I agree we need a multiyear plan, which is why I bring this up now to get that ball rolling.

I am not sure what steam boiler you are talking about or the garage thing, can you elaborate?

I believe the reason you don’t think the community is important is because you haven’t been part of the active community for a while.

I don’t mean this in a mean way. But I have not seen you at a meeting in a long time. I’ve not seen you at any of the Saturday cleanup events. I’ve not noticed your name on any of the meetup RSVPs. I haven’t seen you for any of the build events either.

So if you don’t see the active community that we have been working hard to build, I think that is because you have not made yourself part of that community.

I too am also confused about the boiler though...

I think when they got a tour of the basement they saw a massive nonfunctional boiler.

You’re right I am not part of the “Hive-13 community” because of toxic people who have been part of the community in the past made it not worth it for me. It made others leave the hive all together. I use to be extremely active. I ran a board game night monthly, for example, until i got blamed for other people’s messes. Was threaten to be kicked out by the board because I told someone on the public message list to stop messaging me at that time, when they wouldn’t intervene. And the “community” hasn’t proved to me to be worth coming back to compared to my other obligations and interests.

I just have a board member tell me today there was only up to 10 people active in upkeep in the hive. “Currently there are only 5-10 members who do the vast majority of the actual work to maintain and improve the Hive” was the exact quote. So based off that and a little wiggle room the “community” its up to 20% of our numbers. That still leave ~80% who isnt part of the community. So between that and what you said on slack “While we had the laser down for several months and the CNC we did have a major (for us) loss of membership.” It all points to that it’s the equipment that is the draw. But if I am wrong on the numbers (I dont even see meetup RSVP lists) beyond meetings(which for the longest time I had to deal with medical appointments and training a new service dog when mine passed away, most of them appointments were Tuesdays.) You listed clean up and maintenance days, which goes back to what I was told via slack.

Either way, if it is Community or equipment being the draw, Our membership is stagnant. The Hive-13 community isnt publicly active enough to draw in more numbers, people are wanting to see new equipment that we cant provide because of our current space. So do we stay stagnant or do we push for a plan to grow?

@Brad Thanks for that clarification.

It is quite fair to suggest Hive13 needs a plan. And we have one. The current plan is to devote efforts to:

  1. Increase membership through social media presence offering events and classes. These events then serve to build community.

  2. Build and improve portable equipment maximizing capability in the space available rather than modify the space.

  3. Organize group projects which promote collaboration and community.

These efforts appear to be working as membership is increasing. As the Hive13 community grows we must all remember to Be Excellent to Each Other.
Can we do more? Can we do better? Of course yes.

We come to Hive13 for many different reasons but need to recognize that members exist in a community that needs not only our monthly dues but also our personal efforts and participation to improve Hive13.

One way to do more better is to be contributing members of the community. Clean up more mess than you made. Fix something that is broken. Teach a class. Support an event.

As the Hive13 community grows space is/will become an issue. Within 2) above is the implicit assumption that Hive13 may eventually choose to move to another location. However that time is not now.
a) We can’t afford the space. At the suggested $3.00/ sq ft rate for 5061 sq ft = $1265 / month rent. Utilities > $135 / month would increase the monthly nut. We need the membership income to support the space and add equipment.

b) There would be considerable amounts of infrastructure to build out in the new location. Lighting, power, air, exhaust, kitchen, classroom, screens…

c) There needs to be a detailed plan for move which establishes a place for everything and the order of move along with the budgeted money to pay for the move.
Note: Based on my 40 years of moving factories and warehouses around, our $30K bank balance is chump change when it comes to a move.

The comment was made that members were lost while equipment was down. Without debating that issue, what would the impact of a move be on Hive13 membership?
The move from one site to the other is not trivial. Equipment rigging and movement will take considerable time. For example, the big laser does not fit through the fab lab door.
Unless Santa’s elves are moonlighting all the move tasks are on Hive13 members. That means it won’t happen overnight.

I’d say the current focus of community building is right on target.
Remember, we all have limits on our time. Having said that, I’m done for this subject until membership breaks 100.


Let me correct and Earlier Mistake:
Our current gross income is $2,752 before expenses.
Fixed Monthly EXPENSES $1,563 (I said income earlier.)

That generic 3 plan effort:1) Increase membership through social media presence offering events and classes. These events then serve to build community.
the facebook page hasnt been updated in over a month. Events and classes? The classes we do host arent advertised well at all.

  1. Build and improve portable equipment maximizing capability in the space available rather than modify the space.
    Some equipment just isnt meant to be portable. So I really dont find this a viable option for the issues we have seen. Like plasma cutting and forges.
  2. Organize group projects which promote collaboration and community.
    This just isnt want everyone want.

“These efforts appear to be working as membership is increasing”
Our membership is up by 2 from March last year… Which is lower than last year’s growth of 3 From March to March. . Thats minimal and a slower pace than last year. I would say " community building" is not building a larger membership.

“a) We can’t afford the space. At the suggested $3.00/ sq ft rate for 5061 sq ft = $1265 / month rent. Utilities > $135 / month would increase the monthly nut. We need the membership income to support the space and add equipment.”
Still leaves $1087 if we calculate $400 for other expenses expenses (thats the 165 for internet and insurance+235 for gas and electric). But again this was just one location I thought looked good. There is also growth within the building.
" b) There would be considerable amounts of infrastructure to build out in the new location. Lighting, power, air, exhaust, kitchen, classroom, screens… "
This is why we work on a plan. (Also if you want to stick with that one location it has multiple of these already installed. Including 3 or 4 areas made for offices and meeting areas, depending on which floor you pick, one has 2 and the other had like 1 or 2)
" c) There needs to be a detailed plan for move which establishes a place for everything and the order of move along with the budgeted money to pay for the move. "
Thats kinda why I am made this post…
" Remember, we all have limits on our time. Having said that, I’m done for this subject until membership breaks 100. "
If you dont want to be part of the community that looks at the hive’s future, thats fine. But it doesnt mean this conversation doesnt need to happen before we hit 100 members.

I feel like I can remember when we had 50 or 60k in the bank and we pretty much said no way would we consider moving until we had at least 100k in the bank.

Seeing as we continually purchase large equipment, it’s going to be a while until we have enough capital to even consider. When we get to 75 or 80k in the bank, let’s revisit. Until then, this is silly to discuss.

So why not get a plan together for when we we have 100 members or 100k in the bank… seriously what’s with all the excuses not to make a plan?

Yeah, in the basement there is a gigantic non functioning steam boiler, that is like one step away from a giant steam engine of yore, next to a modernish boiler with like cracked and broken pipes. Its got a concrete floor, and due to the cost of asbestos removal and cutting apart mr gigantor boiler is likely to be little loved or wanted by the owner. Several good spots for tools could be salvaged, however the cost and obligations are unknown, and likely major. The garageish space is nearby, but is being used as storage for somebody. Needs a lot of work too. There is a loading dock that could be looked at enclosing… but… there are going to be some serious discussions on scope and budget.

I’d like to respectfully submit that re engaging prior members is a subset of the membership drive, and an excellent idea. A newsletter has been suggested, and would be ideal to send to prior members who are no longer active. Personality conflicts happen, and are natural. After some time, people move past them. I am willing to bet a large number of folks would like a newsletter, and a social visit. I’ve been abscent a year, and the layout and organizational changes are massive and impressive.

Sounds like a good horror movie set.

Maybe we can make a viral video about a group of makers that encounter a horror from beyond. :ghost:

I’m living proof that prior members can come back after enough bullshit is settled. :slight_smile:

Bigger is not always better. One way to view the issues that drove me away and caused me to cancel my membership would be “growing pains” in the form of ineffective governance/discipline. I would argue that growth for the sake of growth / more income is a little shortsighted. Makerspace life isn’t for everyone. Getting the right kind of people involved (and conversely scaring the wrong kind of people away) is critical. One member that doesn’t respect the rules of the space can cause thousands of dollars of physical damage to tools and things at the space. Even beyond the material expenses, the frustrations and discontent sewed by a bad apple that doesn’t understand the concept of community as it applies to a shared space is priceless. If we’re going to grow, we need to grow in the right way. I, for one, am content to grow slowly without trying to force it.

$30K in the bank isn’t really shit when it comes to real estate. Property sucks. It’s a neverending moneypit. Property that doesn’t cost much needs lots of work which costs money. Property that doesn’t need lots of work costs lots of money. Pick your poison. Our current situation is pretty unique and focusing on ways to maximize what we can do in the Anchor building will get my vote. Utilities like whoa!

The hive’s appeal (IMHO) has always been the people. While there are some cool things to use that I don’t have at home, I have a bad habit of buying whatever I really need/want eventually. Hahahah.

To this end, I’m going to be starting a monthly electronics meetup to bring what I can to the community. (look for announce in next day or two)

-Dave B.

Yea I feel ya Dave on buying what you want/need, but how many people can afford a $10k laser cutter or a $15k CNC router. I am all for expanding inside the Anchor Building IF we can. right now there are only a few spots that could be expanded to, Player Two’s basement spot, Fronk’s, the stained glass spot across from the new fab lab, and the boxing ring.

My question is do we see Fronk, the stained glass lady, or the boxing group moving out anytime in our expandable future and if they do, should we try and scoop in to grab that spot before its rented back out, even if we are not fully ready for it. In the right now thats the basement spot, but this could also apply to the future for the other locations, It is why I feel a space expansion plan, should be setup. Like I mentioned I am fine staying in the Anchor building but I feel we are outgrowing the space we have currently within that space we have at our disposal…

Daniel, next time I see you at Hive I'll show you the empty space we have been seeing as the next expansion opportunity, it is connected to the rest of our space by a stairwell, so would be no more disconnected than the annex/fablab

that would be great Kevin.