Tool Steward Guide

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Official Tool Steward Duties


  • Training members on the use of whichever tools in your area require it. The decision for what tools require training is up to the Tool Stewards for each area. (Note: Tool Stewards are NOT required to be able to train on all the tools in their area. For instance, right now Ryan Renze is the only person who can train people on the Atlas metal lathe. The other metal shop stewards haven't trained on that yet, and that's okay.  Of course, the more of your tools you can train people on, the happier all our members will be.) 
  • Keeping track of which members have been trained on what tools, when they were trained, and whether or not they require retraining. You should have access to the "Tools" spreadsheet which has been set up for this purpose. How you keep track of the link to this spreadsheet is up to you. It is also up to you to notify members when they require retraining. (As an aside: I fully acknowledge that using this spreadsheet is a bit of a PITA. If anyone has ideas or suggestions for a better way to track this stuff please let me know.)
  • Tracking which members have paid their Tool Use fee for your area, when they paid it, and cajoling any members who have not paid but are using the area (more on this below).
  • Keeping the tools in your area up and running. Exactly how this responsibility is handled/divided up can be decided on by the Tool Stewards of that area. (Note: Tools are not guaranteed to be operational for our members, some down time is to be expected, but the longer tools are down the more upset members are likely to become.)
  • Replenishing consumables for your area as needed and as you see fit. (For example, I believe Ray recently replenished some of the supplies in the electronics area, but there are some consumable items, like the little servo motors, that he and Bailey aren't planning to replace when they're used up.)

Training Members

    New members are told the two best ways to schedule trainings are to either:

    Don't worry, the Tools email list doesn't usually carry a lot of traffic. By far the most common way that members request training is the Google Group. If you don't at least check it every once in awhile, please start now. Anyone can always read anything posted there, but in order to respond you'll have to be a member of the group first.

Tool Use Fees

    Tool Use fees are paid annually by the members who use the area, though each member pays at a different time. Right now only the following areas charge a Tool Use fee:

  • Laser Cutters - $20
  • 3D Printers - $15
  • Wood Shop - $20
  • CNC Machines - $20
  • The Automotive area charges a fee for use of the lift.

    Payments for these fees normally come in either by PayPal or check. Often the Secretary or Treasurer will be the first one to see them, and will record the payment in the "Tools" spreadsheet along with the date. It is the responsibility of the Tools Stewards to know who has paid, who has not, and to notify/pester/cajole members who haven't paid.

    If other tool areas wish to establish a Tool Use fee, please notify the board ( along with how much the fee should be, and we will set up a method for people to pay through the website here under "Yearly Tool Use/Certification Fee".  The money from every Tool Use fee goes into a fund that is for use only by and for that tool area. 

Spending Money From Your Tool Fund

    Every Tool Steward has the authority to make purchases from their area's tool fund. Every steward has equal status.

    If you and the other Tool Stewards for your area wish to change this (and make only 1 person in charge of spending money for example) then you will need to decide as a group and then notify the board ( of your new arrangement.

    You have 2 ways to make a purchase from your Tool Fund.

1. If you know you have sufficient funds in your Tool Account, you can purchase any item yourself and then...

  • email your receipt to Meg (either by scanning or taking a picture with your phone)
  • please cc your fellow Tool Stewards
  • tell her what you are a Tool Steward of,
  • what Tool fund the money should come out of, and
  • what the item is.

2. You email Meg, (, and...

  • cc all your fellow Tool Stewards
  • tell Meg what you are a Tool Steward of
  • tell Meg what Tool fund the money should come from
  • tell Meg exactly what you are wanting to buy - preferably in the form of a web link.

    Meg will be able to take it from there.

''''Purchasing New Tools & Maintaining Old Ones

    When it come to spending money for your area, your first source should be the Tool fund for your area, though sometimes you may incur expenses that go beyond that.

    The Pop Money fund is also used by the space as a way of replacing consumables. Email the board before you purchase anything and ask if they will approve reimbursing the item specifically out of the Pop Money fund.

    Another way to raise money - especially for new tools - is to create an "In for $10" campaign. Make a post on the google group saying you're doing an "In for $10," include a link to the exact item you're intending to purchase, and make your case for why members should donate. Then send an email to Meg ( and let her know that you're doing an "In for $10," include a link to the item, and request that she create a PayPal button for our website that members can use to donate.  Creating a website button allows all the funds to be tracked by the Treasurer, instead of having people send money directly to you via PayPal. For a successful example of an "In for $10" please see this thread on the Google Group where Ray raised money for a new oscilloscope.

    BONUS: For purchases under $500, if you get at least 10 members to donate and you raise at least half the funds for the item, the board will pay for the other half of cost!

    If you at least come close, email the board and they may consider funding over half.

    For purchases over $500, email the board and decisions will be made on a case by case basis.

Thank you all for agreeing to take up this responsibility! It is because of you that we have been, and continue to be, an awesome, kick-ass maker space!