MakerSpace Name

The group who are working on the communication/online component are wanting to be able to register a domain name (website name) so that we can do some final pre-production testing and start working on building something for use by the group.

In order to do this, we need to know what name the group is wanting to go with (so that we can register a domain name to reflect it). Please head on over to the dudle poll ( and throw your vote (even if you have already – there have been some additional submissions).

In order to facilitate this, we’re going to be taking the poll results on Friday 29th November (this Friday) unless anyone has any opposition to that date.

The current top three are “Newcastle Makerspace”, “Hunter Hackerspace”, and “Newcastle Hackerspace” with an additional 14 names having been submitted.

Head on over and throw your vote!


Newcastle MakerSpace Open Day

1pm-5pm, Sunday the 1st of December
Casablanca, 21 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton East
(Go round the back!)

The Newcastle MakerSpace is having an open day, where anyone can bring in projects they’re working on, or have built, and show them off, or get help. If you’re interested in robots, 3D printing, things that make noise and light, or just generally making stuff that does stuff, this is for you.

You don’t need to have a project on the go to come along. Feel free to just rock up and check out what other people are doing.

RSVP: If you’re bringing a project and you need table space and/or a power point, or any other requirements that you can’t provide yourself, it would be REALLY good to know in advance.  Please send an E-Mail to the mailing list – (the sooner, the better, just so we can make sure we have everything organized).

Minutes – Wednesday 6 November 2013

Newcastle Makerspace
Meeting #1
6th November, 2013

Attendees: Ned, Steve, Felix, Remy, Martin, Pete, Dave, Sam, Toby, BJ, Josh, Graham, Michael, Sam, Jmac, Dillon, Adrian, Simon, Michael, Alex, Tony.

1. Future Meetings:

  • 2nd Wednesday of the month (monthly meetings)
  • 11th December, 2013 at Casablanca.

2. Intro to Space

Jmac provided an overview of Casablanca. The meeting space is available for use until the structure of the group is worked out. There is a space that could be used as a home for the Makerspace if the group wants it. More info on Casablanca at:

Adrian from the Roost provided some insight into to managing community space, emphasizing the need for a pricing structure that covers costs and provides scope for future contingency.

Questions raised:

  • What sort of space do we need?
  • Do we require 24/7 access? Is it possible to create a keycard/access system that enables access but provides security for the group?
  • What sort of use for the space do we envisage? Suggestions included a communal workshop, storing tools, access to tools, and access to specific resources such as a 3D Printer
  • What are the requirements for insurance? It was noted that Linux Australia provides insurance – could we become a sub-group?
  • Can we develop a risk profile for the space that covers different work/tools in use, particularly any high risk equipment?

There was a proposal that members of the group investigate the requirements for risk management and workplace safety, including induction processes, establishing a safe work package, due diligence, hazard assessment, appropriate documentation, collaborative risk assessment and a safety management process.

It was noted that many other groups, including existing Makerspaces and ‘Men’s Sheds’ are likely to have developed similar procedures and protocols, and that it might be possible to explore these as templates.

3. Group Structure

Two broad options were considered: to establish a loose collective or to formalize the group as a structured organisation.

It was noted that to fulfil requirements for insurance, rent/leasing, and maintaining a space, a legal entity would be required. In terms of an organisational structure, there are a range of options available. It may be sufficient at this stage to exist as an unincorporated association, whilst other options are investigated.

Other considerations for legal structures related to ensuring a critical mass of people: for example, how many people do we want in the group? What is the minimum number to ensure viability?

Graham offered to discuss options with his advisor, and to report back on email/next meeting.

Michael, Graham, Pete, Steve, Dillon, Simon offered to investigate different components of group structures and WHS/Insurance requirements, and to report to the group via email/next meeting.

4. Funding/Membership

A number of funding options were proposed:

  • Crowdfunding: e.g. Kickstarter, IndieGoGo, Pozible, Startsomegood.
  • Potential commercial sponsorship: e.g. Jaycar
  • Fundraising through stalls at public events: e.g. A 3d printer demonstratimakerspaceon
  • Outsourcing our skills, providing services, holding workshops (how to fix your computer)

It was noted that some of the initial formation can be done via sharing and group donations, there is a need for fundraising upfront for equipment that cannot be supplied via this approach.

Questions were raised regarding structure of membership:

  • What is an equitable approach to membership?
  • How can we ensure our membership structures allow us to collaborate?
  • Could our membership pricing structure be based on how much people can afford?
  • Who do we perceive as our membership base? Many people would be interested if they knew about it?

Suggestions for increasing the membership base included approaching engineering students at the university, and potentially collaborating with the university space. It was also noted that the current level of interest may be sufficient to establish a working space.

Also noted that the upcoming Maker Faire could provide an opportunity to identify new members and to promote the group.

Alex to send information about the upcoming Maker Faire to the list.

Everyone to consider and suggest a pricing scheme at the meeting. This could be done anonymously if desired. Suggestions to be sent to the elist or raised at the next meeting.

Anyone familiar with the membership/pricing structures of local Men’s Sheds to provide information to the list/next meeting.

5. Online Presence

Noted that our current online presence consists of the Facebook group, elist, and wordpress site.

Other suggestions:

  • Dropbox? Key documents could be shared through the group, such as safety sheet samples, OH&S information etc.
  • A communal Wiki? A Wiki could include individual profiles – no personal details – but focused on skills and interests.
  • Joomla/Drupal? These platforms create greater flexibility and relatively easy to establish and maintain.


  • There is a risk that we rush to establish a unified communications platform that does not anticipate future needs/requirements. Succession planning should be considered.
  • We need to decide how open the communication of the group is. Do we need security and privacy in our communications?
  • Do we want our own server?

Sam, Ned, Sam, Felix to form a working group to consider the online communication and presence of the group.

6. Group Names

A range of names were suggested: Newcastle Makerspace, Novaspace, Stuff, Newcastle Makers, Make:NCL, Newcastle HackersSpace, Hunter Hackerspace, Hackernova at Casablanca, HackersLab.


  • We need to recognize the future potential of the ‘brand’ of the makerspace, particularly if it generates commercial products in the future.
  • Recognise trademark and IP issues around the choice of name
  • Ease of web search (ie. It might be good to have Makerspace and Newcastle/Hunter in the name)
  • Consider the value of hackerspace vs makerspace. Noted that it may be desirable to reclaim the term ‘hacker’, but that it also has negative connotations in the wider public.

Ned to establish a doodle poll, with the option to propose new names. The top options to be presented to the next meeting for a vote.

7. Marketing/Media

Some options for promotion considered, for example the Newcastle Airforce Newspaper – “Radar” – as a potential advertising location.

Graham to send a proposal for Radar to the list for consideration at next meeting.

We will need logo/graphics etc. as we develop. Provides opportunities for branding, merchandise and fundraising opportunities (eg. Tshirts).

Everyone to identify ideas for logos. Proposals to be put to the group for the next meeting and a doodle poll established (noting that we should have a name finalized by then).

8. Going Forward

Ned to set up a doodle poll for a weekend day at Casablanca (with an emphasis on sharing projects rather than group formation)

May be an opportunity for a group visit to the Sydney Makerspace Robots and Dinosaurs

Results of the Meeting

Firstly, sorry it’s taken so long to post this update – I’ve been buried with work and then had an Internet outage (yay me!).

I thought personally that our initial meeting went quite well, and that sentiment was echoed to me by a few people there.  We ended up having about 23-24 attendees (I know someone did a count) which was both impressive and promising; and quite a mix of people too!  From tinkerers to physicists, it’s going to be an interesting bunch!

Our agenda proved to be a solid guideline for what we needed to work out, and we now have some clear direction as to how to proceed with cementing the interest everyone has shown into a functioning community group.  We now have a bit more of an understanding on the scope of the decisions that need to be made, and even have small task forces to research and present information on each subject back to the group with the next meeting.  It’s a good first step, and I think the enthusiasm of everyone there shows how much this group is needed within the community!

I think a special thanks should go out to Ned for leading the meeting (and a difficult job it would have been, keeping us on track with everyone contributing so many good ideas)!  I also think a special thanks should go to John for hosting the meeting, allowing us to have a look around Casablanca, and acting as representative for the owners and their intentions.  Thank you, Ned and John, on behalf of everyone!

Also, I know there were a couple of people who sent the ‘HANGOUT’ E-mail, wanting to participate in the meeting in spite of not being able to be there physically.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be some sort of hiccup with this, because these E-mail’s were only received on the following Thursday (though their timestamps still said they were sent before the meeting).  To those people: I’m sorry you weren’t able to join us.  Perhaps, next time, we can either organize remote attendance earlier, or maybe set up some sort of webcast or other opt-in system.

There were a few decisions that we elected to put to the vote of the wider audience.  These were the choice of naming of the MakerSpace, and an ad-hoc meetup for people to bring some projects in and show off (over the coarse of an afternoon, rather than a one-and-a-half hour meeting).  Both have had a dudle poll created (linked just below) and there’s discussion in the comment section of each – please contribute any thought’s you’d like to share.

I know, too, there was a comment made about wanting to contribute suggestions (particularly around financing and membership) without being labelled with that suggestion.  For the moment, there are two things that I will say:

  • If you do feel self-conscious about making a suggestion, than please note it down somewhere (a file on your computer, a note in the wallet; somewhere).  No firm decisions are being made on financial-related issues until we have more information, after which we can have a clearer understanding of what may be required.  Ideas are more than welcome, but you’ll just have to hold on to it until we’re ready to start working on it fully and have the infrastructure available to take all the suggestions appropriately;
  • Secondly, regardless of a person’s financial status, wanting to make this group accessible to all members of the community – including those who have financial difficulties – without discrimination or prejudice is something that I believe should be a founding principle of the group.  Discretion and confidentiality of people’s situations – financial, personal, emotional, or otherwise – is something that I hold dear and hope that others do to.  I certainly wouldn’t see someone suggesting a method of making this accessible to those who are less financially secure as any indication of the suggester’s own financial status.

Lastly, with regard to the choice of communication platforms, it was decided that, for the moment, we’re going to set up a Wiki-style web site which will allow people to contribute and interact in an easy web-based system.  The mailing list will still be around, but the main information consolidation point will be the Wiki once it’s set up (I only intended this WordPress site to be a temporary place).  Until that is set up, any future announcements will be made as they have so far, but most will be redirected to the Wiki once it’s available.

If you have any queries or comments, then please either use the comment box below, or send something out to the mailing list (

Initial Meeting Details

It’s getting close – not long till we’ll finally have this meeting!

I put it out to the mailing list and haven’t had any further suggestions or modifications, so I think it’s safe to say that the details below are final!  I’m not sure what, if anything, is going to be decided at this meeting, but the platform for where information is disseminated is likely to change shortly afterwards (though I’m pretty sure the mailing list will be unaffected), so if you can’t make it to the meeting, keep an ear to the ground for where we’ll be setting up. :-)

Lastly, as is mentioned below, there has been a request for a Google Hangout to be run during the meeting, so that people who would like to attend but cannot physically be present can do so.  I’ve questioned the available connectivity at Casablanca, so I’m not sure if it will be possible (I may have to use my work phone’s hotspot :-/ ) but we’ll see what we can do.

If people would like to be included in this, send an email to the makerspace list ( with the subject HANGOUT so we know to include you!

Time: 1800-1930
Date: 06/11/2013 (sorry, 2103) 
Location: Casablanca - 21 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton East

 Time | Item                       |  Duration (approx)
 1800 | Introductions              | 10 min
 1810 | Future Meeting Schedule    |  5 min
 1815 | Introduction to Casablanca | 10 min
 1825 | Group Structure            | 10 min
 1835 | Group Funding/Membership   | 15 min
 1850 | Online Presence            | 10 min
 1900 | Group Naming               |  5 min
 1905 | Marketing/Media            |  5 min
 1910 | Projects/Wishes            | 20 min
 1930 | Close                      |

There are 15 confirmed attendees, one tentative and one unavailable according
to the availability poll.  There may also be online/remote attendees via a
Google Hangout (will be advertised once set up, so watch the mailing list!).

Initial Meeting

The results of the polls are in:

With 17 respondents, the date and time of the initial meetup is 18:00 Wednesday 6th November, 2103 (better late than never :-P), with 15 confirmed available, one tentative and one unavailable.

The location of the meet is Casablanca, 21 Gordon Avenue, Hamilton East by a landslide (though only seven people responded to that one).  As a potential permanent residence for the MakerSpace, it will be interesting to see this place!

I think we’ve all agreed that, as the initial meet-and-greet, there’s not going to be anything too formal or final discussed or decided here, but the proposed agenda (in no particular order) is:

  • Future meeting schedule/events
  • Location
  • Membership
  • Funding
  • Hosting/network/website/communiation/announcements
  • Advertising (logo, other assorted)
  • Leadership/Structure
  • Naming
  • Future projects

If anyone has any other ideas or suggestions, comment below or send something out on the mailing list – ideas are always welcome, and anything that doesn’t get discussed the first time can always remain for the next!

For reference, if you’re not signed up for the mailing list (and want to be), you can head on over to this site and sign yourself up.


Okay, I think a bit of a recap is in order.  I thought a new page might be easiest to try and keep it clean.

So far, we have four platforms of communication:

In addition to this, we have a poll (available at to clarify which days are available to whom.  In this poll, there is a total of 15 respondents at the time of writing, with the most-available date being Wednesday 6th October at 18:00 with 14 people available.

Update: Tentative deadline for this poll is Saturday 26/10/2013.  An additional poll for venue is listed below.

There are (from what I can gather) two possible venues we can use for this initial meetup:


Casablanca is almost entirely unfurnished, as it was part of the hostpital, and they took all their stuff with them. There are an unlimited supply of large plastic school chairs, and I can get a whiteboard (I live next door). There is nothing much on the walls, but there are tonnes of unclaimed rooms, and a lockable garage that I think are potential candidates for a future permanent makerspace, which is the main reason I suggested the space. If we don’t choose there for the meeting, we can always visit individually or in groups later.

The Roost

The Roost is far better furnished, as it mostly an open plan office, where freelance designers and others work during the day (on a rent-a-desk basis). There is a lounge area that would be quite comfortably fit a meeting of about 10 people, maybe 15 with some added office chairs. I beleive there is also a large meeting table, although I can’t remember well (Adrian)? There’s a projector and I guess there’s probably a whiteboard. There’s lots of cool art and stuff on the walls. I guess there could be people still working late there weeknights, but that’s probably ok.

Update: A poll has been created here with these two options.  If this changes, notifications will be made.  Tentative deadline for this poll is Saturday 26/10/2013.

We have a range of suggested items to discuss at this initial meeting, ranging from possible/desired projects to membership/funding and advertising.  I won’t replicate it here (it’s in the previous post).

I think that’s about all I have.

My Personal Thoughts:

I think the things we need to focus on are these:

  • Time and Date for initial meeting
  • Venue for initial meeting
  • Broad topics to be discussed.

Time and Date:

As mentioned, there are 15 respondents so far with 14 being available on 06/10/2013 @ 18:00.  I am reluctant at this stage to call that a determination, as it’s only been one day.  I think we should set a deadline for when the poll will be counted.


Two have been submitted so far, both of which seem equally eligible.  This, I would imagine, should be put to the vote.  I don’t think numbers will be an issue at either venue, given the responses so far.


I appreciate there are a lot of things to be organised for a fully-fledged community MakerSpace, however I think the key thing to keep in mind is that this is, among other things, an initial meet-and-greet.  I would like to have a short list of things to be discussed, such as a primary communication platform, possible future schedules (nothing particularly solid, but things like monthly, weekends, etc), and above all, get to know each other a little better.  Things such as financial considerations, advertising and management, I think, should be discussed once we’re a little more familiar with each other and have a better understanding of what each of us is looking for.

Now that I’m off my soap box, let me know your thoughts – either through here or the mail list (above)!