Member Handbook

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Welcome to Rockford Makerspace! This Member Handbook contains some important and basic information that will help you at the space. Members: If you find yourself wishing something useful to members was on the page, contact any member of the Operations Committee.

The Board of Directors currently consists of these founding and initial members. To contact the board email

Overseeing day-to-day operational and membership issues is the Operations Committee, consisting of Area Captains and possibly other advisors. To contact the operations committee members, email

  • For a listing of current Operations Committee members and Area Captains, visit the Leadership page.

Official Documents

Members must review this Member Handbook and Rules and Guidelines, and complete the Member Registration/Agreement and Liability Release. The Member Agreement and Liability Waiver must be signed and returned to one of the MakerSpace Board or Operations Committee members.

The Operations Committee and/or the Board of Directors may change these documents, so members should review this page from time to time in to be aware of any changes. "I didn't know..." is no excuse for violating the rules.

New Maker Checklist

For Guests

  • Visit the space during Open Hours.
  • Attend public meetings and events (see website for calendar)
  • Visit and use tools anytime a member can host you

For new Members

Youth Membership Policy

In accordance with the educational aspect of our mission, we not only accept, but encourage young people to learn and make with us by becoming members. Any member under the age of 18 is considered a "Youth Member" and special restrictions apply.

  • Persons aged 13 thru 17 are eligible to join as Youth Members.
  • Persons aged 16 thru 17 must have a parental liability waiver signed and must have an adult Member willing to host them present while at the MakerSpace.
  • Persons aged 13 thru 15 must have a parental liability waiver signed and must have a parent/legal guardian AND an adult Member (may be same person) willing to host them present while at the MakerSpace.

For the Operations Committee or Board Member

  • Sign the Member Agreement Form.
  • Accept payment (check to Rockford MakerSpace or online payment via PayPal).
    • If they are not paying at sign-up, ask to postpone the sign-up process until they are ready to pay.
    • Do not give out any key fobs for the doors without receiving payment first!
    • Collect a non-refundable $5 keyfob fee (per fob) unless new member provides their own (compatible) fob.
  • After payment, assign a new door key fob (entering the new member’s information into the database) and give it to the new member .
  • Invite the new member to join Slack (
  • Post 'Welcome' message about the new member to Slack #general channel.
    • If they are Facebook users, tell them about 'Rockford MakerSpace' page and group(s) on Facebook.

Membership Rates, Benefits and Limitations

Please see Membership Rates for benefits.

Probationary members have the following limitations:

  • are not allowed unlimited 24/7 access
  • except for public or general member events (such as member meetups), may not be at the 'space except in the presence of a Full- or Power Maker member who is willing to host the probationary member
  • may not operate "red" (member only) tools unless officially trained and authorized on that equipment, and in the presence of a Full- or Power Maker authorized to use that tool


Confused by all the words people are throwing around? Take a peek at our Glossary of Terms to help decipher any unfamiliar verbiage.

Lockup Procedure

When leaving, let others know you’re leaving. If you’re the last one out, follow the locking up procedures posted by the door or on the wiki.

  • Make sure overhead door is closed
  • Make sure door to rooftop is closed
  • Check to make sure all machines are off, even if you weren't using them.
    • Note: Some PCs or other equipment should remain on. Those will be so labeled.
  • Turn off overhead lights.
  • Turn off the fans.
  • Turn off the “Open Shop” light if it is currently functional and on.
  • Make sure all guests are gone.
  • Winter: Set thermostats to 60 degrees.
  • Summer: Set thermostats to 78 degrees.


Each member is responsible for maintaining the security of his or her own key card or fob (access credentials). If your card or fob is lost or stolen, or you suspect that it has been copied, please see the Board of Directors or their authorized representative about replacing or changing it.

Access credentials may be temporarily entrusted to another person (trustee) for limited purposes, such as picking up or dropping off items or people at the space.

  • Such trustees are not considered members and are not allowed to use tools, host guests, store their personal property at Rockford MakerSpace, or exercise other benefits of membership simply for possessing access. Sharing or loaning access outside these limits is grounds for revocation.
  • The member or other person or entity granting temporary access is responsible for the trustee, and agrees on behalf of the trustee to HOLD HARMLESS Rockford MakerSpace and its members.


  • Any guest that enters the space must be hosted by a member present at the space.
  • All guests must sign a Liability Waiver upon their first visit.
  • Every time a guest visits the space, their hosting member should sign them in on the Guest Sign In Sheet.
  • "Full Makers" and above may host up to 2 guests. Large non-member groups need approval from the Operations Committee.
  • Guests are permitted to use many of the tools available at the space. Check the Tools and Equipment page for a current list of member only tools.
  • Guests may not leave projects or materials in the space, unless they have received specific permission from a Board Member or the appropriate Area Captain.
  • Minors must have a Minor Consent Form signed by their parent or guardian prior to entering the space.
  • Minors must also have an adult present as legal or acting guardian.
  • Minors must be supervised by parent or acting guardian during visits.


  • We post all our public events, recurring or one-off, on the Calendar and/or Events pages of our Website.
  • Members-only events will be posted on our Slack workspace and/or our internal calendar.
  • Some events require RSVP/registration.
  • All no-shows (including members) not meeting the event’s cancellation policy will be invoiced at the full rate for the event. The full rate is the highest rate for the event (typically, the non-member rate).
  • Any member may host a class, meetup, workshop, party, etc., as long as they follow the Event & Class Checklist.


  • Most tools are owned by members.
  • Tools and equipment are NOT to be removed from the makerspace (except by the owner) without prior approval from the Operations Committee AND the owner.
  • Members may lend tools to Rockford MakerSpace with prior approval from the Board or Operations Committee.
    • Any loaned tool must have the name of its owner on it, if possible.
    • Loaned tools must be logged in/out by the appropriate Area Captain or other Operations Committee member, using the appropriate forms.
  • Non-members may donate tools, but not lend them. (This is so members are not responsible for giving access to the tool to its owner.)
    • Exceptions may be made for members of other hackerspaces.
  • Guests are permitted to use most tools. Some "Yellow-tag" tools require Rockford MakerSpace training to use, and "Red-tag" tools are restricted to trained members only. A list of available tools and their restrictions can be found on the Tools and Equipment page.

Broken Tools

If you break a tool, please, Please, PLEASE notify us!

  • IF the Area Captain is present, inform him or her.
    • Post a notice on the tool that it is "out of service," or similar wording. If it is an electric tool, and you can do so safely, unplug it.
  • Send an email to This is the quickest way to notify the Operations Committee and the appropriate Area Captain.
  • Post a message in the General channel on Slack informing the members. This is both for safety -- to protect other members from getting hurt using broken equipment -- and as a courtesy so that other members who might have a longer commute aren't wasting their time and gasoline coming to use a tool that is not available.
  • It would also be helpful if you would post a similar message on the appropriate area-specific channel, but usually the Area Captain will do this as soon as possible.
  • If a tool or equipment is damaged due to negligence or misuse, the user is responsible for repair or replacement.

Tool Use Prohibitions

  • Use of certain tools may be restricted or prohibited when their use would conflict with an event in that or a nearby area. For example, use of the laser cutter/engraver may be prohibited when classes are in session in the classroom, use of the noisiest woodshop tools may be prohibited when meetings are in session in the conference area, etc.

Computers and Electronics Equipment

  • No member or non-member should install or update any software on any PC without the prior approval of the IT Area Captain in charge of PCs.
  • If you find a PC or related equipment not working correctly, follow the "Broken Tools" procedure listed above.


  • Consumables are the responsibility of individual members, not Rockford MakerSpace.
  • Members and guests may use consumables (eg. nuts/screws, yarn, etc.) in reasonable amounts. This policy is intended for use in small amounts, emergency/immediacy needs, and to use up odds and ends that would otherwise be thrown away.
    • If you use more than a small amount of a consumable, please either replace it, or donate an appropriate monetary amount and notify a board member or the appropriate Area Captain so that the item may be replenished.
    • Leftover consumables must be put away in an organized manner for other members' use.
  • Some tools have a consumables fee (posted by the machine). These tools include:
    • Laser Cutter
    • 3D printers
    • CNC mill
  • If you break a saw blade, a sewing machine needle, etc., please replace the item or notify a Board member or the appropriate Area Captain. Under most circumstances, you are not required to replace these, but it is very much appreciated.
    • Note: Do NOT attempt to repair complex equipment -- such as cutting tools -- without getting approval from the appropriate Area Captain. Improper repairs can be dangerous! Even if you provide the replacement part, to ensure the safety of all our members please leave the actual repair to the Area Captain's discretion.

Project Storage

  • One of the membership perks is a unit of storage for your personal tools, projects and materials, etc. Anything located within this space is not available to other members or guests.
  • Currently, storage space is allocated as available on a first-come-first-served basis. If you occupy a storage space, it must be labelled with your name and contact info.
  • Items belonging to a former member should be removed from the space before the first of the month after their membership is suspended or terminated. After that date, any items belonging to a former member may be disposed of at the discretion of the Board.

Parking Your Project

  • Parking permits are available for personal projects that do not fit in personal storage areas.
  • Parking permits must be approved by Board Member or appropriate Area Captain.
  • Parking permits are good for 30 days, and must be attached visibly to the work.
  • Members are permitted to leave a project out without a Parking Permit for up to 3 days, but project must have member's name, email/phone number, date project was placed, and date project will be removed.
  • If project is still present past remove date, other members may do with it as they will.

Abandoned Property

  • Member property (other than loaned tools or equipment) that is not stored completely in their storage space, or does not have a parking permit attached will be considered abandoned.
  • If any member finds a project or property that is abandoned, they may place a Parking Ticket on the item, take a photo of the item, and post the photo with item description and location to the membership (via the #general channel on Slack).
  • The owner has 7 days to remove or make arrangements of removal of the item. After the 7 day grace period, abandoned items may be moved (by anyone) to the Boneyard if it has been established, or the item may be repurposed, recycled or thrown out.

Dues Payment

Payments are due the 1st of each month.

Member dues payments may be made by

  • PayPal (preferred) manually each month by sending PayPal payment to
  • business or personal check or money order made payable to “Rockford MakerSpace” and left in the drop box, or mailed to Rockford MakerSpace, 203 N Church St, Rockford IL 61101.

If dues are not paid by the end of the day on the 5th (the "grace period"), key fobs/door codes may be disabled.

Member Account Limit

  • Rockford MakerSpace member accounts have a $100 credit limit. This includes monthly dues, usage fees, POS purchases, etc.
  • Members with accounts exceeding this balance will be notified via email. A payment must be received bringing their account within that limit within 7 days of said notice or the member's keyfob will be de-activated, effectively putting their membership "on-hold."
  • At the discretion of the Operations Committee, credit limit on a member's account can be increased upon request. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis.


We will gladly accept monetary donations.

  • PayPal users can make a one-time donation, or set up recurring monthly donations using this link. NOTE: Members should not pay membership dues this way.
  • Members may make monetary donations using the Point-of-Sale (POS) system, or by business or personal check or money order made payable to “Rockford MakerSpace” and left in the drop box, or mailed to Rockford MakerSpace, 203 N Church St, Rockford IL 61101. If using check or money order, please be sure to indicate "donation" on it.
  • Members or non-members may make monetary donations by business or personal check or money order made payable to “Rockford MakerSpace” and mailed or delivered to Rockford MakerSpace, 203 N Church St, Rockford IL 61101. If using check or money order, please be sure to indicate "donation" on it.

Membership Duration and Holds

Membership is on a month-to-month basis, and corresponds to calendar months.

  • New members may received a prorated rate for the first month, depending on the date they join. After that, your membership will renew automatically each month at the regular monthly rate.
  • If you wish to cancel your membership, please let us know by the end of the "grace period" so that we can cancel your automated billing and deactivate your membership/keyfob.
  • Your membership may be put "on hold" if you know that you are going to be away for an extended period of time (i.e., a month or more). If you let us know by the end of the "grace period," we will temporarily deactivate your membership/keyfob. When you are ready to return, just let us know and we will reactivate your membership/keyfob. You will not incur membership fees during this time, but you will also not have access to the facility or equipment.


  • Rockford MakerSpace has no staff and has no cleaning service.
  • Each member is responsible for cleaning up after themselves and helping to maintain the space.
    • Cleaning supplies and trash bags are available.
    • Please use the first floor shop sink for any heavy duty cleaning. The bathroom and "kitchen" sinks should only be used for light cleaning.
    • If the bathroom looks gross, please clean it.
    • If the "kitchen" area looks gross, please clean it.
    • If the floors look dirty, please sweep (and mop if necessary).
    • Pick up any trash and throw it away.

Lost & Found

Found items may be placed in the Lost & Found bin, located in the leftmost section of the cabinets in the Visitor Welcome Center, just inside the main entry. Members who find non-RMS property (with the owner unknown) that has been left for more than a day or so without a Parking Permit should place the item(s) in the Lost & Found bin. If you know the owner, please be courteous and send them a message advising them that you found their property.


On-street and public lot parking are available in the area. It may be possible to park in the alley to make loading and unloading easier, but under no circumstances should a vehicle be left in the alley unless the owner/driver is at the makerspace.


  • The emergency number for police, fire and medical is 9-1-1. Remember to emphasize that our entrance is via the alley behind the Bliss Building at 317 Mulberry Street, or emergency responders may have trouble finding us!
  • First aid kits are located near the utility sink on the first floor, and near the sink in the "kitchen area" on the second floor.
  • There are fire extinguishers located on each floor.
  • Emergency contact information for members can be found
    • in the “Emergency Contacts” pouch on the administrative desk on the second floor.
    • from the Rockford MakerSpace Control Panel, as follows:
      • Enter the member’s name (or any part thereof) in the Member Name field and click on Lookup. Note: If you do not enter anything in the Member Name field, a list of all members will be displayed.
      • If there is only one matching record, it will be loaded; if more than one record, you will be presented with a list of matching names. Click the appropriate name to load that record.
      • The member’s emergency contact information will be displayed, along with any allergies or other medical conditions that they listed on their membership forms.

Prohibited Projects

In order to ensure the safety of our members, guests and visitors, as well as the facility, certain projects are prohibited without the prior approval of the Operations Committee. These projects include anything that involves the following:

  • explosive devices
  • high voltage devices (for example, anything higher than standard 110/115 volt AC outlet)
  • flammable liquids
  • toxic or caustic materials
  • nuclear or thermonuclear weaponry or devices
  • other potentially dangerous devices, items or materials

Note that this list is not intended to be all-inclusive. Members intending to use any of the above MUST present a proposal for the project, including evidence of their expertise and safety measures to be implemented, to the Operations Committee BEFORE proceeding.

Representation as Rockford MakerSpace

Members should not make commitments on behalf of Rockford MakerSpace or identify themmselves as "representing" Rockford MakerSpace without approval of the Operations Committee. While we want all our members to feel they are part of RMS, members should not commit the organization to accepting donations or participating in events for which we do not have the resources (space, manpower, finances), or for which we have liability or image concerns. If you'd like to obtain some donated materials, or organize or participate in an event where you will be identified as "Rockford MakerSpace," you must obtain approval from the Operations Committee first. Note that this does NOT mean that you can't say you are a "member of Rockford MakerSpace." Just do not represent yourself as acting in any "official" capacity on behalf of Rockford MakerSpace.


Rockford MakerSpace is a not-for-profit organization. Accordingly, we have established the following guidelines regarding advertising at the space itself, on our social media sites, at Rockford MakerSpace events or events in which Rockford MakerSpace is a participant, or any other situation in which such advertising could be associated with Rockford MakerSpace:

  • Outright (blatant) advertising of commercial products or services is prohibited. The only exceptions to this are corporate or other sponsors of Rockford MakerSpace itself.
  • Advertising of commercial products or services which is incidental to other, more appropriate content (such as how-to videos) is acceptable so long as it is not the sole purpose of the content. An example of this might be a YouTube how-to video posted on our Facebook group that includes a brief mention of a corporate sponsor of the YouTube channel.
  • Advertising availability of member-created merchandise available free is permitted so long as the member exercises reasonable restraint in such advertising. An example of this might be mentioning that a member's creation is available for free download from Thingiverse.
  • Advertising availability of member-provided services is permitted -- on a very limited basis -- so long as the service is posted under the member's personal account. An example of this might be a member mentioning that they are available to provide maintenance/repair service on 3d printers, in response to a query or pertinent to a discussion.
  • Advertising member-created merchandise is strongly discouraged, but may be acceptable on a limited basis so long as the advertising is restricted to merely referring the public to the member's physical store, other online site, etc. Examples of this might include a small card describing a 3d-printed object displayed at a maker faire and including the member's name and business contact info, or photos of custom wood crafts with a mention of the member's name and business contact info. Generally, these advertisements should be approved in advance by the Operations Committee.

Organizing Clubs and Other Activities

If you are interested in organizing a club or other activity, please contact the Operations Committee.

Taking on a Leadership Role


If you are interested in a position on our Board of Directors, please contact the Board directly.

Operations Committee

Actively involved Operations Committee members may earn a free or reduced-fee membership. If you are interested in serving on our Operations Committee, please contact the Operations Committee.

Area Captain

Actively involved Area Captains may earn a free or reduced-fee membership. If you are interested in serving as an Area Captain, please contact the Operations Committee.

Ending Your Membership

We hate to see you go, but we realize that sometimes life takes us in a different direction. If you wish to cancel your membership, or just "put it on hold" (for a seasonal trip, for example), just do one of the following:

  • Fill out the online form (preferred).
  • Talk to an Operations Committee or Board member.
  • Send an email to the Operations Committee.
  • Leave a voicemail for the Operations Committee.

This document was approved by the Rockford MakerSpace Operations Committee on 12 June 2017 with subsequent amendments.