Eugene Makerspace Newsletter
Dear Friends and Fellow Makers,
Posh new banner, eh? I was bored. Anywho, it’s been a while since we did one of these ‘newsletter’ type messages, and we’ve got a lot to tell you about! So grab a cup of your beverage of choice, and let’s get on with the show!
President, Board of Directors, Editor/Writer of whatever this is.
|TL;DR … you’re welcome|
EMS turns 10 – Marking the tenth anniversary of our grand opening
While digging through the website archives (more about that later), I discovered a post announcing our very first grand opening, on February 18, 2012. I even found this cool time lapse video of that historical event!
It’s natural to feel discouraged as we’ve weathered the last couple of years, the shop’s seen some dust settle as folks have stayed home to stay safe. And yet it’s important to remember that we’ve been here a long time, and we’re still here! Even from home, that’s something worth celebrating!
As we begin to shift out of hibernation mode, it’s my hope that we can begin to rekindle that sense of community that prevailed in those earlier days. I know I miss hanging out with all the fun folks down at the shop. So.. here’s to the next 10!
Mask Mandates Ending March 12
Announcements from the state level in recent days have indicated that the statewide masking mandates are due to be lifted as of 12:01am March 12. There has (at the time of this writing) been no additional guidance from County or City level health departments.
There’s a lot we could say on this matter, and we spent a great deal of time at the last board meeting, discussing how best to proceed as an organization. Some local businesses will be keeping mask mandates in place, some facilities like medical services, public transit, etc will likely continue requiring masks for some time. We considered examples from Makerspaces across the country as well, looking to see how they were dealing with it. In the end, it was compromise among us all that won out, and we came to a group decision.
Effective March 12, we will be removing signage relating to masks being required within the shop. Warnings on the webpage will be retooled as well. You may (of course) continue wearing masks, and we encourage it! More on that, below.
After 2 years of Covid-19, shutdowns, masks, social distancing, restrictions, and a massive push from every quarter to appeal to people to get vaccinated, we all feel we’ve reached the point of diminishing returns. Most everyone that can get vaccinated has had ample chance to do so.
“Mask Ask” Policy – Effective March 12
We all know there are members of our community who are not ready for full exposure. And many of us (myself included) may have respiratory, auto-immune, and other health concerns that can make continuing to wear a mask, or even asking others to wear them, a fact of life.
In order to support those members in their use of the space as well, and to begin to knit our community together again through cooperation and compromise, what we ask is as follows.
- Please bring a covid-suitable mask with you, or keep one in your box at the shop.
- If another member asks you if you’d be willing to put on a mask while they’re present, we ask that you do so.This issue has become highly charged, so please do what you can to make it easy for anyone taking the emotional step of asking.
- If you are unable or unwilling to wear a mask in these cases, we suggest vacating the shop until the asking member is finished.Please do what you can to avoid stressful interactions with one another, we don’t know everyone’s situation, or everyone’s burden.
We’ll do our best to keep a supply of surgical masks available as well, if only for their usefulness with sawdust.
Ad-Hoc or is that Ad-Hack? – The Future of Open Hacks
Over the past two years, we have seen significant disruption in our ability to hold regular, recurring ‘open to the public’ events. Obviously. There are surely a plethora of reasons why people chose not to come down. No judgment!
That said, over the past 2 years, we’ve fielded a lot of emails, messages, and voicemails from members of the community who hoped to drop-in on a free night, whether to just use a tool for a couple of hours, or to tour the space and learn about membership options. A lot of work was done behind the scenes to make sure we were able to offer an ‘all online’ path to membership and shop access. This was amazing work to see put into practice, and we truly have come a long way from the days of paper checks and signed release forms in a folder.
Open Hack isn’t just our primary inroad for new members, it’s also a large part of our organization’s loftier mandate to act as a community resource. In both respects, it’s important to the continued health of the organization.
But we also recognize that it may be some time before we can regularly find volunteers to open the shop for an official ‘weekly’ (much less twice weekly) public access time.
Going forward, we will be asking the membership for volunteers. Any day of the week that you’re willing to show up for a few hours, we can put this together. The latest closing time should probably be 9pm, but any 2+ hour period you’re willing to do it from 7am to 9pm can work. Even weekends if you’re up for it. We ask that you give us one week’s notice, so we can make all the announcements on the webpage, twitter, facebook etc, letting the public know we’ll be open.
If you’re interested in hosting an Open Hack night, you can email the board – At first, we’ll be doing this all manually, but it is our hope that we can automate this process, so you can simply drop a quick message when you’re willing to host, and the bots and APIs can handle all the boring parts for us.
Migration to Discord
As we’ve mentioned in recent messages, we’ve been giving Discord a very serious test to see if it meets our needs. We discussed the planned Code of Conduct rule set, and sought feedback from the community. I’m happy to say we were able to take that feedback onboard, and integrate it into the new rule set.
In the past few days, we began activating some Patreon integrations with our Discord server, and I know a number of you already received automatic invites to the new server. It’s all still a bit formless, but we want to let the server and its channels grow somewhat organically from the needs of the users. We’re still working on various integrations and automations, so this is definitely an exciting time.
If you’ve never used it before, Discord is a chat service very much like Slack. It has a browser based website version, as well as downloadable applications for Windows, MacOS, Linux, as well as nearly all major mobile platforms (iOS, Android, Amazon’s appstore, etc), including many game consoles like XBox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, and more. There’s even a version for the Raspberry Pi.
Here’s a quick getting-started guide.. (less than 4 minutes!)
You don’t need to pay for anything to use Discord. There are added features available to paid users, but it is not required for any experience we will be using. Our goal is to make sure our server is usable by any member of the public, though special ‘EMS members only’ channels may be created over time.
If you haven’t gotten a discord invite yet, here you go! https://bit.ly/ems-discord
If you don’t have one already, make sure to create an account on discord.com so you can claim your desired username!
References on the website and in-shop signage will shortly be updated to direct people to Discord instead of Slack. We will not be running both servers indefinitely. It is our intention to shut down the Slack server by June 6, 2022.
ELEGOO Sponsorship Deal – A brand new Resin 3D Printer for EMS!
Thanks to a swift and easy sponsorship deal with ELEGOO 3D printers, we’re excited to have received a brand new, still in the box, direct from the manufacturer Mars 2 Pro – MSLA resin 3D printer! You can check out the exact specs for that printer on the ELEGOO product listing page. And best of all, the printer arrived free of charge, with some resin too, just for a little social media/web content trade.
In the works – A brand new K40 Laser Cutter
EMS veteran (and legend) Tom Upchurch recently donated a brand-new, unused K40 style laser cutter to the shop! This laser will have all the familiar non-features of the other K40s we’ve seen, but with one major exception… a brand new laser tube!
The laser team, headed by Ben Hallert, will be working to get it up and running as soon as volunteer hours permit, but we’re all super excited to see this machine added to our growing arsenal of computer controlled laser weapons.
Shiny! – The EMS website is getting an overhaul
It had been years since the website saw any significant work under the hood. In the time since, we’ve mostly logged in, changed one or two things on a page, swore at the interface, and logged off. There have been a lot of hands on the website over the years, and simply ‘updating wordpress’ hasn’t been enough to keep pace with what our website needs to do… and at some point we stopped doing even that.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been crawling around inside the inner workings of the website (seriously, think Star Trek’s Jefferies Tubes). To say “you’ve got a lot of carbon scoring here” would be an understatement. But after time and patience, and some help from Michael Bacarella getting the updater thing working, we’re now running an up-to-date version of WordPress again. I’ve weeded out unused and unsupported plugins, and begun the process of trying to reassemble the site with an updated style that should still feel familiar, while also working better for widescreen monitors and mobile devices.
I’ve found some really cool gems in the archives, some great old blog posts showing off people’s projects, some fun videos from past events, and as mentioned at the top, I found the actual date when we opened! I’ve also found a TON of broken links.. But that’s to be expected. There’s still plenty of work to be done, and it’s by no means ‘finished’.
One great feature I’m thrilled to see return is the EMS blog, which has been renamed “Shop Talk”. We’ll be posting news and information posts in there as they come up, and posts there will be published on our rss feed as well.
But a makerspace blog is only as good as its content. So anyone out there who wants to have their project featured on the blog can just send us a pic or two and a writeup, video links, whatever. You can ping them to this address, or connect with me on Discord @zebragrrl
Show me what you got!