Maker Nexus Makerspace

From makernexuswiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Maker Nexus, Sunnyvale, California

(Information about the Maker Nexus organization's makerspace will be provided here. If you register with this wiki you can click the star at the top right to "watch" this page. If you do this then you will get an email whenever this page is updated.)

New members go to the MN New Member page to get started.

The Takeaway

For those who need the quick summary:

  • Non-profit organization
  • Makerspace: 1330 Orleans Drive, Sunnyvale, CA 94089 / 408.685.2500
  • Open
    • Monday - Tuesday 10 AM - 5 PM
    • Wednesday - Sunday 10 AM - 10 PM
  • A few paid staff members for support & maintenance, but a very lean organization
  • Rely heavily on volunteers
  • $150/month membership
  • Everyone has to pitch in to make this work

We hope that you, the reader, will join us in growing a healthy makerspace for everyone.

Our Mission

We believe that everyone sees opportunities to improve their world but most people lack the tools and skills to make those improvements. For some people it's a better Halloween costume; for others it's a way to provide clean water to remote villages. Maker Nexus helps everyone to gain the skills and use the tools they need to realize their dreams.

Maker Nexus is a non-profit with a mission to provide education in woodworking, textiles, metalworking, and other vocational skills and hobby crafts, and promote the same in the community. We do this by providing a community makerspace and training that serves all experience levels from hobbyists to professionals. Our goal is to help each person improve their skills whether as STEAM/STEM teen, life enrichment, job skill acquisition, or new entrepreneur.

We also work to help other non-profit makerspaces. Our classes, project sheets, governance documents, tool research, etc are all available to others under a Creative Commons license Makernexuswiki:Copyrights.

It's our hope that through Maker Nexus a plethora of good things will happen to our world.

Sometimes government officials ask how a makerspace can help their community at large. In response, we have a list of businesses that have been developed in a makerspace.

The Organization

Become a member, pledge your support, and track our progress on our website:

We are a California non-profit and classified by the IRS as a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Read our by laws. We are classified by the IRS as a public charity. You can view our tax returns by asking one of our general managers.

Read our officers' biographies.

Read our team history.

Position Plans for board members, volunteers, contractors, and employees.

Become part of the team

The Makerspace


1330 Orleans  Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94089

Current Status

Woodshop is open and running fully! Metal shop tools are being brought online as we're able. Manual lathe and mill are available now. Sheet metal equipment is available.

Regular hours of

  • Monday - Tuesday, 10 am - 5 pm
  • Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 10 pm

We welcome everyone to stop by and tour the makerspace. See the machines, look at the media room, feel the carpet under your feet. To book a tour on our website:

Need a place to hold your maker oriented meetup? Come see our facility and consider holding it here.

  • Other resources
    • large tables where you can work on your project
    • computers with design software (Adobe suite, Corel Draw end more) - our internet speed is very, very limited at this time
    • 10 person conference room
    • 12 person computer lab
    • 30 person event room

Members may reserve equipment.

In the clean area, projects are limited to things you can do over carpet. No sanding, no wet work, etc. Other work must be done in the cement floor areas. If you have a question about a project, ask any of our staff or volunteers.

Getting certified to use equipment

If you know how to use a piece of equipment, we offer a short checkoff test with a proctor. You may arrange for a test by talking with any staff members or by posting on the appropriate Slack channel (e.g. #lasercutters, #textiles, #3dprinters)

If you need to learn to use a piece of equipment, no problem - we'll teach you! We offer Basic Operation and Safety Standard (BOSS) classes for all our equipment. These short seminars will take you from a no-nothing to a user of the machine in just an hour or two. BOSS classes are posted on Activity Hero. You can also arrange an ad hoc BOSS class by posting on the #class-requests Slack channel. Just post "I'd like to arrange for a BOSS class on <<put the machine name here>>"

Next Steps

We are continuing to work on getting more metalworking tools online (such as our old Milwaukee mills) to complement the tools already up and running in our Metalshop.

We are also working on better dust collection in the woodshop, and running more HVAC ducts throughout the space.

Important Information

Maker Memberships

We offer Maker Memberships that give access to the shop. (Different than a non-profit "membership" where you are really just donating to support the mission.) Maker Memberships are not tax-deductible.

Equipment Use

Some equipment is available to use immediately - the electronics lab or cordless hand tools. More dangerous or complex equipment (woodshop, 3D printers, laser cutters, as a few examples) require that you complete our associated BOSS class (Basic Operation and Safety Standard). There is a cost for each BOSS class; members get a discounted price. You can take BOSS classes before becoming a member.

Some equipment is shared in real time. For example, the table saw is not reservable. When using the table saw for an extended period of time, please allow other members to work in their needs.

Some equipment is reservable. For example, the laser cutters. On most of these pieces of equipment we allow members to reserve three sessions per week. If you do not have a reservation and the equipment is available, you may use it. However, you must be prepared to leave the equipment if a member arrives with a reservation. We may change the number of reservations allowed per week at any time.

Our overall objective is to equitably and fairly share our equipment and space among all our members. If you have a need for extensive, extended use of some equipment, then you might need to find a facility other than Maker Nexus to accomplish your work.

See a list of our equipment

What if I already know how to use the equipment?

For some equipment we allow a member to take a test with a volunteer proctor. For example, on the laser cutter the proctor might say, "cut a one inch square out of this material," and then step back to observe. If the member can demonstrate the ability to safely and effectively use that laser cutter without ANY further input from the proctor, then they are given permission to use the machine. Arranging a test-out like this can require some patience as we don't have a lot of proctors on each piece of equipment. These sessions are arranged through Slack.

Woodshop is one exception to the rule. All members have to take at least BOSS Woodshop 1. In that class we cover more than just the major tools, we also spend significant time on woodshop etiquette, the peculiarities of our set up, and our general woodshop policies.

Age Limitations

  • Anyone aged 16 or older can hold a membership and use the shop.
  • Under 16 a child must be in direct supervision of a parent. The parent must have a valid membership and the child must have a Family Add-On membership. The parent must successfully complete the BOSS class for any equipment they will use with their child.
  • Clean shop
    • Under the age of 10 may not be in the makerspace except on a tour or as part of a scheduled class.
    • Ages 10-15 may be in the clean shop if they are in the care of a parent. They may not operate machines alone.
    • Ages 16 and over may use the clean shop.
  • Woodshop
    • Under the age of 12 may be in the woodshop ONLY if they are accompanied by a Maker Nexus instructor.
    • Under the age of 12 may NOT accompany a parent in the woodshop.
    • Ages 12-15 may only be in the woodshop if they are under the constant supervision of a parent.
    • Age 16 and over may use the woodshop.

Membership Types


  • $150 / month
  • Access to all machines with some time limits per week
    • Woodshop, Laser Cutters, 3D Printers, Electronics, vinyl cutter, Build Tables
    • Textiles: sewing, CNC embroidery, direct to fabric printer
  • May rent storage as available
  • This is the most popular level, 95% of our members are at the Hobbyist level

How to do it:

  1. Create an account at our self service portal.
  2. Use the left hand menu to navigate to Buy / Membership
  3. Buy a membership. We will send you a welcome package with a lot of details within 2 days.

Family Add-on

  • Requires one person with a Hobbyist membership
  • Additional children between the ages of 10 and 21: $50 / month each
  • Second adult: $50 / month (second adult should be living in the same household)

The process to set up a family add-on membership:

  1. Have the family member who will have the Family Add-On register at our self service portal. We need each person to register.
  2. Send an email to giving us the person's name
  3. We will set up a family add-on membership and send them a welcome package
  4. Log back in to the self service portal and use the left menu to go to Invoices / Open Invoices. Supply a credit card to pay the invoice. (Unfortunately our current CRM system requires each account to have a credit card associated - it can be the same credit card as another account. We are unable to have one member's account automatically pay for another.)

On a side note... When we talk about needing a number of members to become self sustaining, that assumes members paying $150 a month each. The family membership is a deal. If it is within your means, families might like to consider making a regular monthly tax deductible donation to Maker Nexus.

Entry Level

  • $75 / month.
  • Access to workspace, textiles, computers, 3D printers
  • No machine reservation
  • No access to
    • CNC machines
    • lasers
    • woodshop
    • metal shop
    • heatpress/vinyl cutter
    • Direct to Fabric printer
  • No storage

How to do it:

  1. Create a user at the self service portal (
  2. Send an email to with your name and ask to be set up with an Entry Level Membership
  3. Log back in to the portal, find the open invoice, arrange to pay the invoice with your credit card


  • $100 / month
  • Requires proof of current full time enrollment
  • Must be at least 16 years old
  • Largely the same as Hobbyist
  • Age restrictions on some equipment

How to do it:

  1. Create a user at the self service portal (
  2. Send an email to with your name and ask to be set up with a Student Membership
  3. Log back in to the portal, find the open invoice, arrange to pay the invoice with your credit card

Day Passes

At this time we do not offer day passes to the makerspace. We discourage joining for just one month. We have considered short term memberships but we have several concerns. Many of our members only use the shop one or two days a month so our financial model would require a day pass to be so expensive that we feel no one would actually buy them. Secondly, if a person were to "save up" a number of projects and then buy a day pass we think they would expect a lot of machine access in that one day, which could block regular members from using the equipment. Imagine a person who buys an expensive day pass to use the laser cutters - how much time should we give them on our busy lasers? Would a day pass user expect six hours of laser time that one day? Or a day pass user comes into the woodshop - would they monopolize the space making it uncomfortable for regular members?

Much of this is also true for one-month memberships. Memberships renew every month. Members can stop their membership at any time. We charge a restart fee for members who do this more than once a year (see above).

For these reasons we do not offer short term memberships.

Other Levels

We have considered other Maker Membership levels that would cost more and give access to more equipment hours per week, or access to specialized equipment. We have called these levels "Pro" and "Start Up" but we have not come to any hard decisions. Your feedback will help us design these to suit the community best.

Trade Work or Donate Equipment for a Membership?

Thank you for thinking of this and asking, but we are unable to do so at this time.

We have a large cadre of dedicated volunteers who put in a tremendous amount of their time into the makerspace, and all of those volunteers also pay their monthly membership dues.

It is fair to say that if a person spent 10 hours painting a wall we should give them a free month's membership. Unfortunately if we do that we will go out of business. Instead we will leave the wall unpainted until we find a volunteer willing to do it.

Similar thinking applies to donated equipment - there is a lot of expense in siting, maintaining, and creating education for members in order for an expensive piece of equipment to be useful. And that equipment is valued to the point that it brings in additional memberships to the organization. We certainly consider all donations, and we are happy to provide a 501(c)(3) tax receipt to you, but free membership months can put us into a financial down spiral that ends with closing the doors.

If we were cash flow positive or had a huge endowment to fund operations, then we might consider barter for a membership. But to be transparent and honest (which is our policy) our revenue has to fund operations and we don't have enough revenue yet.

We hope you understand our thinking. We must keep the doors open.

How to Cancel or Pause

If you need to cancel or "freeze" your membership for a few months, send an email to and we will process it asap. Don't worry if it takes a few days, we will not delay just to charge you for another month. We'll do the right thing.

If a member stops or freezes their membership and restarts, we charge a $150 start-up fee. However, we will waive that fee once in a 12 month period. If you stop/restart a second time within 12 months then we will charge you the start-up fee.

Please note that the makerspace depends on recurring membership fees to pay for operations. Without that dependable revenue we would not be able to keep the doors open. As a non-profit our financials are open - no one is making a fortune off your membership fees.

New Members

If you are new to Maker Nexus, welcome. All the communication tools can seem a bit overwhelming at first. Please visit our new member page.

Member Dashboard

We have a number of systems that members need to access. It can be hard to keep all the URLs sorted out. Use the MN Member Dashboard page.

Clubs and Groups

We have a number of groups running within our organization. Read about them on the MN Clubs and Groups page.

Event space & meet ups

We are making our Event room available for use to non-profit organisation - if you want to have a meet-up, conference, presentation - you can book it for free:

How to Help

We have a flier you can put up anywhere you think potential members will see it.

Thank You

A number of people have made significant contributions to Maker Nexus. We have some MN Thanks You to read.

More Details


If you are into finance details, our member reports have info on the last month's income and expenses. If you want a peek at the more full financial model for the year, ask and we'll supply it to you. It changes periodically and we will want to get you the latest version.

Organization's History

Maker Nexus History