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Cleveland Makers Alliance - Learn. Make. Grow. Message Board › The War on Cruft and a Home for Test Benches

The War on Cruft and a Home for Test Benches

A former member
Post #: 4

Proposal: "Cruft Busters!"

Cleveland Makers Alliance has a problem, and that problem is a kipple infestation. Cruft, doorstops, krutz, gonkulators, boat anchors, trash, e-waste, junk, whatever you call it, we're slowly drowning in it. Not only are members experiencing noticeable difficulty in finding useable work areas, they're also struggling with finding useable equipment. This is not a desirable condition. Clutter implies that most the items in the disorder are useable, and what we have right now isn't clutter.

This is the process we have to go through this spring and summer with everything currently in our workspace:
A) Does it work?
B) Can it be used?
C) Do we need it, and if not, would someone else want it?
D) Can we strip it for useful parts? Can we sell/donate some of the parts?
E) How do we junk it in a responsible manner, and how much is this going to cost Makers Alliance?

To reduce subsequent cruft generation:
1) Put stuff away when you're done so people can find it, especially tools.
2) Try to donate stuff that works or is practical to repair. Don't use Makers Alliance as a dump.
3) Complain about conditions that destroy functional gear, such as the water trickling down the back wall of our workspace or blocked floor drains so we can get projects in motion to repair it.
4) We have shop vacs somewhere under the kipple. If we clean up the plastic shavings, sawdust, and other leavings when we're done, everything stays cleaner and more pleasant to work with.
5) If you abandon a project, junk it.

Our work area needs to be functional and navigable. Without at least some pretense of presentability, it's going to scare off the public and prospective members.

Proposal: "Electronics Workspace"

We need to see about acquiring an indoor workspace for our electrical test bench and hardware. The dust, temperature swings, and water trickling down the back wall of the garage bay aren't healthy for the working electronics hardware that Makers Alliance has, and as equipment succumbs, the mountain of toxic cruft in need of disposal grows. In addition, there's not much comfortable workspace for sitting down and hacking away at gear for a few hours.

This workspace needs:
1) Climate Control. (Air conditioning in the summer, heating in the winter. Possibly a HEPA filter to help with dust.)
2) Soldering snorkels/fume hoods. (The rosin fumes and magic smoke can't be good for you.)
3) Suitable fittings and equipment (component bins, work benches, antistatic matting)
4) Test equipment (oscilloscopes, multimeters, function generators, etc.)
5) Tools (smaller tools suitable for electronics work, task lighting, etc.)
6) If needed, a closet or storage area for component bins and seldom-used equipment.

Ideally, this would involve the acquisition and conversion of an existing office and storage closet in the LaunchHouse itself, but if there are any other possible ideas, fire away. Luckily, we have most of the equipment needed to populate the lab. It's underneath the junk that "Cruft Busters!" is intended to clear out, and probably just needs cleaning and calibration.

Do you think these two goals (Cruft Busters! and Electronics Workspace) should be on the project tracker? I know that these proposals come off as a bit demanding from the mouth of a guest, but I'd be willing to donate my time and skills on weekends to help accomplish these projects.
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