MN New Member

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Welcome to team Maker Nexus! You have joined us in a great adventure with our new makerspace in Sunnyvale. You are now one of us! There is so much going on it's often hard for a new member to know where to start. Well, this page is the place. As you come up to speed we're sure you'll have one of those "I wish I'd known this last week" moments. When you do, please either update this page or put a note in the discussion section and another wiki editor will incorporate your idea into this page. We all need to do what we can to help the next person to join us.

(If you have not yet joined, please do at our web site).

Member Dashboard

Our member dashboard has links to all the important online systems that come with being a member. You don't have to bookmark all the sites, just bookmark the member dashboard.

Manager on Duty

Whenever we are open someone is the designated Manager on Duty (MoD). You will find this person's name in the middle of the MoD sign behind the reception desk.

The MoD is your friend. If you have any concern at all - about anything - find the MoD and talk to them.


When we are open we may also have Consulting Makers and Consulting Volunteers in the makerspace. They are always available to help you in any way they can. Feel free to walk up to them and ask for help. Consulting Volunteers help offload our one paid staff by answering the phone, greeting guests, giving tours, chatting with members, and helping members when they can. You can sign up to take a 3-hour shift as a CV by using the Space Keepers calendar you will find in you new Google account.

I've joined, now what?

  1. First, thank you.
  2. Fill out a liability waiver at the front desk. Everyone must have a signed waiver on file.
  3. We will make you an RFID badge.
  4. Send us an appropriate head and shoulders photo for a picture ID badge, or ask the MoD to take a photo of you.
  5. You will be provided an email The invite will be sent to the email you provided us when you joined. We don't plan to send information to this email address, but it gets you access to several key resources.
  6. Once you have your email
    • Read the Member Handbook that is on the team drive. (Instead of the link you could go to MN Group Drive / Business Documents / Policies and Forms / Member Handbook ) The handbook has information on our hours, our policies, your responsibilities, our anti-harassment policy, and much more.
    • Slack is an online chat app. It's a way to get help and schedule classes. You can access Slack from your computer or smart phone. Install the app or use the website. Use your email to join our Slack server:
    • GSuite is our online office provider. Log in using your email and you will see our team drive: MN Group Drive. This is a place to find a lot of information about the organization. Also look at our GSuite calendar - it lists events and volunteer opportunities.
  1. At this point you can come in to the makerspace any time we are open and work on any project you want.

We have a number of maker challenges - you could start with this one.

RFID Badges

Your RFID badge opens the front door to the makerspace. It is crucial that you bring it with you each time you visit the makerspace. If you forget your RFID badge you can ring the doorbell, but the staff may take several minutes to get to the door; please be patient.

The RFID badge system also lets us know who is in the shop, that they are a member, and that they have been checked-off on the equipment they are using.

It is important that you tap your badge on the front desk station when you enter and leave the facility. If you forget your badge, you must sign in/out on the paper sheet at the front desk. Please try to remember to bring your badge with you.

You will also find RFID stations in other areas of the makerspace. When you use equipment in one of these stations, please tap your badge. There is no need to tap out of these other stations.

Read more details on the system.

I want to use the <fill in the blank>

Before you can use one of the more sophisticated or dangerous tools at Maker Nexus you need to complete a Basic Operation and Safety Standard class (BOSS Class). These classes typically last 1.5 hours; woodshop classes cover a number of different machines at once and could be 3 hours long. There is no pre-requisite to these classes. Even if you have experience in using some device, we think you will find value in our BOSS Classes. Each class covers safe and effective use of the equipment and any quirks or policies of our equipment in particular. Each class aims to provide you knowledge on how to use the equipment without harming others, harming yourself, or hurting the equipment.

  • Boss Classes - our course schedule. If you don't see a class that you want to take then:
    1. Go to the appropriate Slack channel and post, "I'd like to have a class on <the equipment>".
    2. An instructor will respond and get a class set up.
    3. Once you successfully complete the class we will update our system to allow you to reserve the equipment.
  • If you really know how to use the equipment well, you can arrange for a proctor to do a check-off with you.
    1. Go to the appropriate channel in Slack (ex, #3dprinters or #lasercutters or #textiles, etc) and post a comment, "I'd like to arrange for a check-off on <the equipment>".
    2. A proctor will respond and set up a time to do it. It should only take a few days.
    3. The proctor will give you a task to complete on the equipment and observe you. If you are not fully competent with the equipment, you will be referred back to a BOSS class.
    4. Once you are checked off we will update our system to allow you to reserve the equipment; this can take several days.
  • Note ... If you took a BOSS class before you became a member, your profile might not be up to date in our system. Please send an email to to remind us of the BOSS classes you took. We will check our records and update your profile.

I'm checked off and ready to use <fill in the blank>


You must make a reservation via the self service portal before coming in to the makerspace. Best to get their from our members dashboard. We use this reservation system to allow us to maintain proper social distancing.

What should I make now?

We have a number of Maker Challenges on the team share drive that will stretch you to learn different machines and software around the makerspace. You could work you way through these.

You might also get inspiration from projects that other members have made. And when you have made something you're proud of, send a photo to and we'll add it to the projects page.

Collaboration Tools

We have several tools that serve different needs. We have standardized on the following tools at this time. As you work with us, we do not want to splinter into a plethora of other tools. Please use one of these or engage the larger group on Slack to discuss a new tool before starting to use it.

Read more about the collaboration tools that we use in our community.


We do use Google Docs for collaborative document creation. When something needs to be heavily edited, reviewed, and rewritten by a group then Google Docs is the place to do it. We DO NOT send spreadsheets, presentations, or documents around via email for comments. Using email this way causes a complete loss of control and the work is often not collaborative. Please use Google Docs for this kind of work.

Once a document is stable then consider migrating it to a page in this wiki. If we need to leave the document in Google Docs, then try to find an appropriate place in this wiki to link to the GDoc.

Where To Look for Info

Suppose you want to know something but don't know where to find it. Here's a set of steps.

Google Share Drive

  • The GDrive has a powerful search function. Try using it like you would a Google search.
  • The Shared Folder is organized into Project areas. Each Project will be titled and include a description of its purpose. For example, “Marketing” is our resource location for all outbound collateral. In that folder is a "Photos" sub-folder that holds all the photos we might use for outreach, marketing and social media posting. 
  • If you think we should have a new high level folder, please talk about it on Slack so we can all agree. 

This Wiki

  • Use the search box at the top left. There is a lot in this wiki. When you do find what you are looking for, consider editing the wiki to make it easier for others.


  • Use the search function to find previous mentions of important topics
  • Avoid posting pictures or documents here unless you don’t intend to refer back to them later -- important things should be in the wiki or Google Docs
  • Post a question to #general and someone will give you advice on where to look

Best Practices

Keeping Your Topics In The Right Place

Currently, our main sources of passing information are Slack, the Wiki, Google Docs, and direct messaging (email, Slack DM, texting, etc). Slack is primarily used for general contemporaneous information sharing (chatting), the Wiki holds public information about us and our programs, Google Docs is for collaboration in pulling together a significant new piece of material, and direct messaging is for private correspondence with each other. Knowing what channel to use is super important for making sure the key information stays at the forefront and doesn’t get lost in a sea of messages.

We Have To Manage Ourselves

​ This whole system only works if we’re disciplined and consistent. If you see someone going off topic, direct them to the right place to take that conversation. If ideas get too developed in Slack, start a Google Doc. Upload any important files or documents to the right place so everyone knows where to find them. At the same time, do not take offense if someone suggests you move your conversation to another place. We’re all responsible for staying on target to make our work easier for everyone!


Within Slack, there are numerous channels for each topic we discuss. In Slack you can see a list of channels and add yourself to any that interest you. If you think there’s a Slack channel we could use, make sure to check if one already exists, if not, create it! These channels are for chatting about current issues, and for getting and sharing ideas for tasks. If these discussions become more concrete and turn into ideas for tasks or projects, you then have two options: 1) If it’s a short-term task, create a new Slack channel for the people involved and keep the conversation there, then archive the channel when your task is completed, 2) create a Google Doc and share it with your team.  ​


The wiki is a crowd sourced repository of knowledge. It is not the place to have a running discussion of some topic or to organize a project team. It is a good place to publish our shop guidelines, public links to our financial plans, our privacy policy, links to Google Docs. The wiki also has areas for general maker information on using tools, materials, tips and tricks.  ​

Direct Messaging

Email, texting, Slack DM, etc is best for corresponding directly with a few others so your conversation with a few does not overwhelm the many.

Stay On Topic

​ In any tool a casual conversation can easily go off topic and cause unnecessary backlog of information and notifications to everyone else. Try to keep your conversations on topic. If a particular discussion grows, start another discussion just for that. If you want to discuss something with one or two people, or just chat, move that to a direct message with those people and keep the main conversation as streamlined as possible for everyone else.

Slack, in particular, can get very noisy, so if you find you are discussing a topic with just a few people, or that several discussions are going on in one channel, then consider creating a new channel for your discussion. Channels are free and easy to create/delete. Use #general for questions of a, well, general nature.

If wiki pages become long, consider splitting off some information into one or more other pages and linking to them.

If you are having an email discussion with two or three people, do not drift into other topics - start a new email chain.

Know Where To Check For Information

Important information you are looking for may already exist somewhere within our network. Knowing where to look or who to ask will prevent repetition of information and make it easier for people to find answers. For basic questions about our organization, check our website and wiki. For specific subcommittees, see if a channel exists in Slack. And if you have questions about something specific, ask in the correct Slack channel. If one doesn't exist, post a question in #general or just reach out directly to the head of your committee or any of the board members. ​

Balance Communication With Taking Initiative

​ In order for projects and tasks to be completed, someone has to take charge. Maybe you?

If you come up with an idea, it’s your job to either take on a leadership role or find someone who will oversee that project. Maybe you have a good idea but this just isn't the time to do it - everyone is busy doing higher priority tasks (including you). In this case put it somewhere in the wiki as a good idea. Remember it and look at it again in a month. Maybe then someone else will be interested in leading the charge, or maybe you'll have time then to do it yourself. If you can't find someone who wants to take on your idea, then it won't get done unless you do it!

If you are the leader of a project, it’s your job to find out what needs to be done and take initiative for it to be done. This doesn’t mean do anything you want without consulting the board or other committee members - it means knowing what you’re supposed to be accomplishing, and taking steps to do it without feeling like you need to ask for permission every step of the way. Ask for feedback, but we trust you to do what you need to do to get to an end point. ​