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Volunteer Manual

Refer to this manual for opening/closing procedures, regular volunteer shift duties, how to manage signups and money, and other things volunteers should be aware of.

Written by: Alex Nunn Last updated: August 15, 2017

General Operations

Getting started: To join the volunteer program, you need to talk to the general manager and find out what times are available to volunteer and what is involved. Then you will be asked to sign a Volunteer Agreement and go through a simple training session to get you acquainted with your duties.


Volunteer Folder on Google Drive

Volunteer Contact List

Opening the shop

If you are opening the shop for your shift, take these steps to get the shop ready for members.

  • Unplug the front door’s magnetic lock for the door (orange cord going to the power strip under the table)
  • Put the open flag out on the wall-mounted holder outside the front door.
  • Put your name card on the Watching The Shop board in the office
  • Turn on the lights in every room as you go through
  • Unlock the door in the classroom

Closing the shop

  • Close the valve on the air compressor (turn from parallel to perpendicular). The air compressor is behind the woodshop, near the main breaker panel.
  • Check the status of all gas containers and make sure they are closed (oxygen, acetylene, propane, and various pressurized gasses are stored in the metal shop and/or auto bay. "Righty tighty" will close the spigot-style valve on these tanks). Tanks must not be left free standing, and always secured with rope or chain
  • Turn off the lights in every shop, including in the warehouse area (there is a switch near the main breaker panel, and generally a series of lights that are powered by a surge protector, mounted to the lolly column nearest the auto bay)
  • Check and lock all doors, including garage bay doors. Close the auto bay/warehouse garage door, the door on the garage door in the auto bay, and the classroom.
  • Check to ensure all heaters are off. There are gas heaters in the common room, wood shop, and warehouse space.
  • Check for any potential safety hazards, such as equipment left plugged in/powered on, improperly stored materials, obstructed egress, etc.
  • Plug in the front door’s magnetic lock, an orange extension cord near the front door.
  • Bring in the open flag by the front door

New Members

If someone comes in asking about signing up for a membership, you can two different means of signing them up. You can either direct them to the website and they can sign up for the appropriate membership online and pay with paypal, credit card, or mark it as cash/check.

The other method of signing people up is to use a paper form titled New Member Form. If for some reason the website, computer, or tablet isn’t working, use this to make a record of their signup. You can find the forms in the grey file drawer.

Safety Waivers - Everyone who uses the facility must sign one of these. This includes class attendees.

Minor Waivers are for anyone under 18 who is observing work in the shop or using the facility in a limited capacity with supervision from an adult. These must be signed by a parent or guardian. No minor can use a power tool in our shop without strict supervision.

Auto Lift Waivers are specifically for use of the Auto Lift and only during the scheduled Auto Lift Safety Checkouts.


Primarily most transactions can be handled by directing people to our website on one of our computers. If they would like to look at our options, guide them to our Membership or Storage pages and explain what is available.

If someone would like to pay with cash or check, we have a cash box and associated log sheet. When it comes to anything cash-related, make a record on the petty cash sheet, noting who it was, for how much, and for what. Follow the format that is on the sheet as closely as possible and include as much detail as the space on the form permits. We need accurate details for record-keeping.

For credit or debit cards we have a tablet on the main desk with Square installed on it. You can access payments for our regular membership, storage, and merchandise items through it. For things like classes, it is possible to use it for that too, but you must be sure to either add in the notes of the transaction what class it is for and who is paying, or you can handwrite a note and leave it with the cash box. Note that Membership payments done through this are not recurring, so if someone wants to be set up on a continuous membership they will have to go through our website.


When someone comes into the shop and wants to check the place out, here are some guidelines on what to show them and talk to them about. There’s a lot! Tours typically begin in the Classroom or Office. Describe our available tools and resources in each shop. Mention a few highlights that people are generally interested in (3D Printer, Plasma cutter, machining tools)

  • Electronics Lab: 3D Printers, soldering irons, microcontrollers, CAD computer
  • Classroom: Open work space, projector, locker storage
  • Wood Shop: Table saw, band saw, jointer, planer, belt sander. Consumables like glue.
  • Metal/Machine Shop: MIG and TIG welders, safety helmets and gloves, plasma cutter, bridgeport milling machine, lathe, precise measuring tools,
  • Auto Shop: Auto lift, TIG welder, Bicycle bench,

Here is some general info that you should make sure visitors know before leaving. Membership:

  • Port City Maker is $50/month, access during open hours
  • Maker’s Guild is $80/month. 24hr access, RFID badge
  • They can sign up here or at home by using our website

Storage Options:

  • Locker is $15/month, about 1 cubic foot, ideal for keeping private bits, materials, hand tools
  • Rolling Bench is $40/month. 2 feet by 4 feet by 3 feet tall, holds a lot, on wheels
  • Shelf Section is $15 for 2ft by 4ft by 18in
  • Floor Space is $1.50 per square foot


  • We have regular Intro classes: Wood Shop, Machine Shop, Welding, and Soldering
  • We have free events: TOOOL meet ups, Hacker Nights, Member Meetings
  • We have had a variety of events in the past: Dyeing Workshop, Solar power workshop, Ring Enameling, Harvest Fest, Tool Swap….

Volunteer Tasks

A list of general and specific tasks to do on a volunteer shift

Regular, any day tasks:

When on a regular shift, you should focus on doing a few of these

  • Giving tours and info to new-comers
  • Handle sign ups for membership, day passes, and classes
  • Answering phone calls and providing accurate info, taking down info, refer to website
  • Organizing tools, materials, and untidy areas
  • Sweep and Vacuum [Electronics Lab, Classroom, Woodshop, Metal Shop, Auto Bay, Warehouse]
  • Clean tables, chairs, shelves, and anything that has dust/dirt on it
  • Using the Volunteer Log

Occasional Tasks:

These are things that need to be done once in awhile. If you notice it needs to be done, do it.

  • Update whiteboard calendars (monthly, or when there is an update to the events online)
  • Swap out a full trash bag with a new one
  • Take all trash and recycling out to the curb (Sundays)
  • [Winter] outdoor cleaning (shoveling, ice-breaking, salting)
  • Outdoor cleaning (gardening, weed-whacking, mowing)
  • Mop the floor in one of the shops (best time to do it is a quiet day) (sweep beforehand)
  • Brush and vacuum walls in woodshop

Special tasks:

If there’s something that needs doing that involves something you’re good at, do one of these!

  • Social media posts about makerspace events, member features, project photos
  • Repairing equipment (please consult the manager or shop manager before doing)
  • Helping with a construction/deconstruction project
  • Managing a shop improvement project

Specific Projects as of August 2017

These are projects that require certain skills and details on the project goal. Ask for more info

  • Help finish the Passive Heat Collector project
  • New Raspberry Pi RFID System
  • Set up a small PC in the Auto Shop for looking up parts, manuals, etc
  • Set up small general use PC in Classroom on a mobile cart
  • Running CAT-V cable to provide internet to Classroom PC
  • Website: Generate QR Codes when people buy Day Passes or event tickets