I would like to undertake a project for the Makerspace to increase awareness of all the tools, and create communication aids of said tools for all current and potential members.
What does that mean? The goal is to make it easy for anyone to tell what equipment is working, how it works, and if there is a problem make it more straight forward to get a fix.
There have been several occurrences lately of equipment being labeled “broken” or left non-functional with no explanation as to how, why, or what the problem might be. Personally, I’ve had a few challenges in identifying who to talk to for equipment support, or simply trying to identify if a machine works or doesn’t.
This project would be to create paper documentation and labels to go with each machine to address the 4 w’s (and one H): What, Why, Who, and How.
These are my ideas for some methods to
A simple placard to accompany each machine labeling what it is. Beside this label would be a brightly coloured reversible status indicator Operational or Not Operational.
The labels are there to answer the simple question for new members “What is this?”
The status indicator is there to first answer the question “Does this work?”.
The second function of the status indicator is to make it visually apparent to anyone walking by that there is a problem with a machine, so the problem log can be checked.
Manuals Each piece of (major) equipment would have a binder nearby (preferably secured to the machine so it doesn’t get lost). The manuals would have the following sections (more or less as needed depending on the equipment).
- Maintenance & Problem Logs A template form would have fields to fill out the what the issues or problem was, the date, how it happened, and who it happened to. The who is important so that member can help for any questions and be informed when its fixed, not so anyone can get out the tar and feathers Alongside that log, is a field so someone can mark it as fixed, what they did to fix it, etc. This would be useful for recurring problems so that a solution is already in the book.
The main goal of these logs is to make it quick, and easy for anyone to write down Why something is broken, or What a tool needs to get working.
- Equipment Description A short page at the front to answer some more questions like "How does this work?" and “**Why **would I use this, and what for?”
- Operating Manual A quick rundown of how to use something, depending on complexity. What software does this equipment use if its CNC? Any online resources one should look at to learn more about it?
- Service Manual & Troubleshooting For something like the Prusa 3D Printer this is pretty easy, just print outs of the existing manuals. For some of the other equipment it might be a little more involved.
- Contact Information for Support An aid to help a member figure out who they should talk to in order to learn more about that equipment.
The idea for all this isn’t to replace the forum, but to build on it, allowing multiple ways for new members to engage with the Makerspace community.
I welcome any feedback or other ideas on this please, and if you have tools or information to help it would be greatly appreciated!
I’ll be hosting my templates and what I am working on in Google Drive for the time being, here is a link:
Digital copies of all this should also be useful.