Working estimates for venue space requirements are 4200-4500sqft. A fair bit more than the pure guesstimates.

This means the budget estimates for rent are about £1000 too low.

The cheaper properties are warehouse units as it is, so one option is to buy a used mezzanine floor and put some areas above others. It would increase setup cost & operating complexity, but decrease long-term running costs.

I'm hopeful that worst-case it would just mean we couldn't sell any materials for all of the Sunday opening hours. I think this is business-advisor territory.

Current workshop area tally is 205.82m^2. The working clearances for the woodwork room really pushed it up. Still does not include the general workshop, digital & design, finishing/drying and some sundries (like space taken up by walls).

If it comes in under 280m^2 it avoids Sunday trading laws for sales. A small shop is one that measures up to and including 280 square metres.

I don't know if this covers access-services. I don't think gyms, for example, are held to Sunday opening hours.

Tool library estimate complete. Approximately £2465.

Allocating £3500 of the budget to loose tools should allow for rebalancing & unexpected additions.

Tallying up the estimates for hand tools. Currently at £762. That's probably going to double, and I'll want to double that total to account for ad-hoc adjustments after opening.

Important question to all crafty folk.

I'm drawing up the list of kits and equipment Workbench Alpha will need in the tool library so I can estimate the costs for the business loan.

What I need is you to tell me the tools you use in order of how often you use them, and if you always use some together. That's it. I just need additional perspectives.

Please don't read other peoples replies at first. I don't want you leaving things out just because someone else has mentioned them already.

Anyone got experience in industrial power switching? Looking for how to best put a whole room of tools on an emergency stop. Single switches only seem to be rated for 10A.

EG; a darkroom is a commonly requested feature of a makerspace, but it only used very occasionally by a small proportion of the membership. Allowing a photography group to rent out a room off the main workshop would add the feature at no risk of wasting resources on something little used.

Another might be high-vacuum equipment. Surface science & space research. It's a specialist interest and may only been needed for an 18month project.

Hmm. Further to the thought about sub-letting reserved space until it's required.

While some things that go into that space may be permanent additions or changes, it seems likely that a lot would also only be mid-long term or of niche appeal. In that case they'd be functionally identical to sub-lets for user groups or members.

So maybe it would be better not to make sub-lets a temporary addition, but a permanent feature to accommodate mid-long specialist workshops.

It seems a lot of emergency stop switches have both NO and NC connections.

If I add an opto-isolator to the NO terminal the access control system would be able to detect emergency stop states in addition to power monitoring.

One issue with creating a physical space is you know eventually you will need to expand in currently unforeseen ways. So ideally you need to obtain a larger space than you immediately need, or be prepared to move multiple times.

To create a presence, the longer you stay at one location the better. But reserved space is either wasted or will fill with junk.

Another option has occurred though. If access permits, partition and sub-let the reserved space. Storage? Co-working space/offices maybe?

Oh, a knitting machine fell into my lap last week. It seems intact but I'll have to get someone to look at it.

Seems like it might be of use to the workshop if it's serviceable.

Excellent chat with local font of knowledge today. Lots of development leads to follow up on.

Also now inclined to keep the bandsaw accessible to attendants only. It sounds like they can be more dangerous than tablesaws due to how close to the blade you need to get.

The scrollsaw seems like a good public alternative anyway.

If you know the area of the rooms you need in an industrial unit, does an additional 5% seem reasonable to accommodate the partition walls and access ways?

Question for textiles people:

I've been estimating necessary workshop size requirements, assuming 100cm clear work areas around machines and benches.

I know the least about working with fabric though. Does it need larger clearances due to it's motion & to avoid snagging?

£3 from the local tip. Every little bit helps.
This adds to the stainless microwave, mini fridge, kettle, splashback and salvaged countertop. Almost all the bits needed for a compact workshop kitchenette.

Make use of opportunities as they present themselves, even if they're not the main priority.

sunbeam.city/media/FBOWRGed4LK

This seems like a good approach to saving space & materials. Combine the table saw and router into one unit. To rip full 8x4 sheets, it has an work area of 4880x3190mm.

That seems like a lot but there's reasonably sized areas in the corners of that bounding box that other tools work areas should fit within.

This guide to building guide rails like that seems like a good one to work from: vsctools.com/diy-guide-rails/

Today; improving the venue size estimates by going over the safe working areas for different pieces of anticipated equipment.

Part of this has meant settling down on fixed sizes for the modular workbench idea.

Currently we're turning a lot of notes & research into a solid business plan to get the financial backing necessary. Best case it gets crowdfunded. Worst case we get a business loan. Either way though, it'll be self-supporting once it's running.

Until then though, I'll be putting progress updates here and links to the supportive designs we'll be open-sourcing to help smooth the ride of other makerspace startups.


Hi, this account is for Workbench Alpha, a makerspace we're trying to get setup in East London, UK. We're hoping to improve on the usual ad-hoc makerspace model by actively pursuing long-term socially positive goals and directly supporting sustainability & life-essential projects.

And before you ask, yes we don't expect to use this logo forever but it's better than the one we don't have yet.

Sunbeam City 🌻

Sunbeam City is a Libertarian Socialist solarpunk instance. It is ran democratically by a cooperative of like-minded individuals.