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 the 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.

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)
    • 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!
    • First payment will apply to the first full calendar month
    • Collect a non-refundable $5 keyfob fee (per fob) unless new member provides their own (compatible) fob
  • After payment, create a new door key fob (entering the new member’s information into the database) and give to the new member
  • Add the new member to 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


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 should remain on.
  • Turn off overhead lights.
  • Turn off the fans.
  • Make sure all guests are gone.
  • Winter: Set thermostat to 60 degrees.
  • Summer: Set thermostat to 78 degrees.


  • 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.
  • "Casual Makers" may host 1 guest; "Full Makers" and above may host up to 2 guests. Large non-member groups need approval from 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, and/or on our Meetup group.
  • Members-only events will be posted on our Slack workspace and/or our internal calendar.
  • Some events require RSVP/registration via Meetup or Slack.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • 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
    • vinyl cutter
  • 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) using either of these two methods:
    • manually each month by sending PayPal payment to
    • using this form to schedule automatic, recurring monthly payments:

Payment Options

  • business or personal check or money order made payable to “Rockford MakerSpace” and left in the drop box, or mailed to Rockford MakerSpace c/o TAC, 304 N Main St, Rockford IL 61101.

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


Donations may be made by PayPal or check. PayPal users can set up recurring monthly donations using this particular link. Members should not use it for paying membership dues.


  • 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.


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, 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.

Weather Closures

Classes, meetups or other events will follow Rockford Public School District 205 regarding cancellations due to inclement weather. When possible, we will notify expected attendees via our usual communication channels (Slack, Meetup, social media, etc.).

The space will not be "closed" to members due to inclement weather, but members should use good judgment during bad weather situations, and visit the space at their own risk.

Food and Beverage

Food and beverage rules are established for each area by the Area Captain.

Alcohol Policy

  • Events welcoming alcohol should state so in the event description (i.e. BYOB) and be approved by the Operations Committee.
  • Anyone consuming alcohol must be 21 or older.
  • Once someone consumes alcohol they are prohibited from using power tools.
  • Anyone found to be belligerent or engaging in misconduct in Rockford MakerSpace as a result of alcohol consumption may be ejected from the space.

Weapons Policy

  • Rockford MakerSpace is a "gun-free" zone. No firearms are to be brought onto the premises except by bona fide members of a city, county, state or federal law enforcement agency.

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