[hackerspaces] And now for something completely different...

Arclight arclight at gmail.com
Wed Mar 11 17:08:02 CET 2015

I actually believe that car maintenance and repair falls under the
"waste not, want not" ethic and keeping your car running properly
keeps it out of a shredder and its embodied energy being lost.

That being said, I have also experienced non-running cars being a huge
drain on resources at our place and tend to put pretty stiff
restrictions on long car projects now.

The previous suggestions of requiring a "removal deposit" to be posted
if someone is going to leave a vehicle for an extended period of time
is a good one.  Depending on your local rules require it, you might
also want to have a signed form authorizing you to remove it.

On car forums, a common thing that comes up is that a Jeep or MG or
whatever comes up on Craigslist for cheap, but the person who wants it
lives far away. Usually, the more serious car people will arrange
something with a forum member nearby so that they can buy it and have
it towed over.

To make it work, they offer a deposit and sometimes even the title so
that there is no incentive for them to flake out and leave it there.
Putting the risk on the new owner rather than the storage person who
is doing a favor seems to work out well for the hardcore car


On Wed, Mar 11, 2015 at 7:36 AM, B F <bakmthiscl at gmail.com> wrote:
> Many many years ago, I joined a co-op garage.  Great idea.  But even there,
> the rules got abused.  Rules must be clear and strictly enforced.
> I left the group when I was called to task for doing something that I was
> told was perfectly legit when I joined -- parking my car outside and
> borrowing a couple tools from their stock to do a very simple repair, one
> that did not require a bay.  (I don't recall what job -- something like
> changing a spark plug back in the day when you didn't need to pull the
> engine to do that!)  It seems that SOMEbody thought I should have pulled the
> car  in and paid extra for use of the bay.  That was NOT what I'd been told
> when I joined.
> Nonetheless, the idea of a co-op garage is excellent, but I would suggest it
> be a separate space from a general hackerspace.  I think it would probably
> be best to make it a sister organization, with no legal connection to the
> hackerspace other than overlapping memberships, directors, etc.  Designing
> and developing new cars or modifying old ones could well be considered
> hacking, but keeping your old clunker running is really a different thing.
> Yes, I know people repair computers and monitors in a hackerspace, but
> that's usually incidental to using those for hackerspace projects.
> Judging by the space use/mess problems reported here, these could be a real
> issue for a garage.  A car is a rather big object to leave in the way.  And
> the mess that can be made with a disassembled car would be hard to simulate
> with "normal" hackerspace projects.
> If I were starting a co-op garage, the rules I'd set would be very much like
> those of a commercial garage:  Keys given to attendant so he can move the
> car; explicit understanding that cars left on the premises will be charged
> storage fees, and that cars left beyond X-many days may be hauled off at
> owner's expense.  (There are lots of towing/impoundment facilities around
> here that delight in doing this -- legal or otherwise!)
> And unlike most hackerspaces there would have to be a mechanic on duty at
> least some of the time.  Possibly this could be one or more volunteer
> members who have extensive knowledge of cars, but it might be well to pay
> someone to be there -- maybe minimum wage for being on site, with additional
> earning opportunities possible, up to and including full wage for his doing
> the job himself.  This same mechanic could administer the rules, move the
> cars in and out of bays as necessary, and could be called upon to clean up a
> mess left behind by a user of the space -- with the co-op paying for this
> work and billing the negligent user.  He might also deal with municipal
> inspectors, etc., handle disposal of oil and other wastes, and so forth.
> Just my 2c.
> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 6:56 PM, Bob Bownes <bownes at gmail.com> wrote:
>> As a firefighter, I'll second the notion of calling and asking questions.
>> It also doesn't hurt to let the fire marshal know if you have a firefighter
>> and/or EMTs on site, even occasionally.
>> It works with the building code inspector and electricians as well.
>> Bob
>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 6:32 PM, Sam Ley <sam.ley at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Never hurts to ask your local fire marshal. Some can be dicks, but my
>>> experience (working with 5 or 6 in different areas) is that most of them are
>>> reasonable people who just want everyone to be safe, and they very much
>>> appreciate it when people call with questions rather than wait for violation
>>> notices. We've gotten a lot of variances approved with our current fire
>>> marshal just by being proactive and working with him on creative solutions
>>> that might not meet the letter of the law, but achieve a safe working space.
>>> -Sam
>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 2:39 PM, Arclight <arclight at gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Good point - Some jurisdictions appear to call this sort of thing out
>>>> explicitly while others don't if your area is zoned for it.
>>>> Arclight
>>>> On Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 1:36 PM, Ron Bean
>>>> <makerspace at rbean.users.panix.com> wrote:
>>>> >>I think the fuel issues aren't as much an issue when your space has an
>>>> >>industrial roll-up door with parking lot on one side and concrete on
>>>> >>the other.
>>>> >
>>>> > It depends on the local laws.
>>>> >
>>>> >
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> --
> - BF
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