Rules and Policies

From Fat Cat Fab Lab

Please see our Membership Levels and Benefits for pricing information

We encourage all Member to help clarify and evolve our operating rules and policies and digital systems. Many situations arise for which we may not have written rules. The Board may act to enforce rules, make judgement calls, or whatever else is needed to maintain a safe, functional space, and further the collective efforts of the lab members at large.

Tools and Materials

Many of the tools at Fat Cat Fab Lab are actually owned by other members and loaned to Fat Cat Fab Lab for all members to share.
See the Member-Loaned Tools agreement & policy for more details.

  • Tools/resources must stay on the premises so that other members may use them. Removing tools/resources from the space without authorization from a member of the Board of Directors constitutes theft.
  • The Board of Directors may authorize the temporary removal of a tool/resource for purposes relevant to organizational business, such as offsite promotional events like MakerFaire.

Cleanliness & Organization

Clean, Maintain, Organize, Improve. The rule at Fat Cat Fab Lab is to “leave it better than you found it”.

  • It is everyone's duty to put away items accidentally left out by others and regularly clean the space. Little messes can snowball into big messes quickly!
  • If you use a work area often, it is your duty as a member to help organize tools or improve storage space in the area.
  • All members are expected to maintain a safe and clean environment, utilizing dust containment and collection measures at all times.
  • Don't catch fire, set others on fire, create conditions for accidental fire (see above), or set anything on fire which has not been designated or designed to be on fire.
  • You are responsible for your personal property. Fat Cat Fab Lab is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

Working in the Space

Extended inactivity and leaving projects and materials in FCFL storage and work areas can be detrimental to our mission and prevent others from using the space. If you plan to be gone for an extended period of time, please arrange to pick up your project and materials beforehand.

  • All members must store their belongings inside their bin when not present at the lab.
    • Materials that do not fit in your bin may be stored only in designated Oversized Storage areas, neatly and labeled with your name.
  • Laptops and belongings cannot be left unattended longer than 2 hours -- no 'camping' or 'reserving' tables.
  • DO NOT bring items in to 'donate' without preauthorization from the Board for each item. If you bring it in, it is your responsibility to maintain or remove if requested.
  • The lab CANNOT be used as a storage facility. Inactive projects, nonfunctioning tools, or personal items may be charged an extra monthly storage fee for each equivalent 'bin volume' of items left in public.

When entering a workspace...

We suggest:

  • Photograph and report any big pre-existing messes to the appropriate Slack channel for further investigation.
    • To rectify any large messes, Members may be charged a $50 cleaning fee ($50/hr if more than 1 hour needed) and/or incur strikes against their 'good standing'.
  • Prepare the space with drop cloths and/or dust containment systems (e.g. the 'spray booth') when applicable. If you coat the entire shop in sawdust, you are responsible for vacuuming the entire shop!
    • Attach and turn on vacuums and any other dust collection systems.
    • Check vacuum is working properly and replace/empty the bag/container if needed.

When you are done working...

You must:

  • Budget time to include clean up. No excuses.
  • Sweep and vacuum all dust and debris on the tables and floor.
  • Put away all tools properly (that are not currently in use by another member).
  • Tidy up and place signage on any project that must be left to dry.
  • Turn off all fans & lights and close open windows if needed.
  • If you are the last person, you may be held responsible for everything even if you didn't create the mess.

Before leaving Fat Cat Fab Lab...

You should:

  • Walk through everywhere you might have been to verify all is in order.
  • Double check all equipment, fans, and lights that should be off are indeed off.

Parking Permits

Link to current Parking Permit File

What it is
A Parking Permit should be placed on any item, project or materials used for personal or group projects, which are being actively worked and/or are too large to store in your storage bin.

So members know who to contact if it needs to be moved and to prevent someone from thinking it is donated or misplaced scrap.

Who can issue
Members write their own parking permits, valid for a maximum of 72 hours. Members can renew Parking Permits when physically at Fat Cat Fab Lab. If circumstances prevent in-person renewal, member should contact a Board Member to request an extension, not to exceed 30 days, or discuss alternate arrangements. Board Members are able to limit renewals at their discretion if appropriate to maintain organization of Temporary Storage.

What's on the permit
The tag must include the name of the owner/responsible party and current date. Please also include a brief description of the reason or material or project being stored (E.g. "paint drying", "wood for cabinet", "widgetizer-o-matic") for referencing in communications.

Parking Tickets

Link to Parking Ticket File

What it is
Parking Tickets should be placed on any item, project, or materials found in the space for an extended period (e.g. overnight) without a permit or with an expired permit. At any time, if materials are obstructing a walkway or stored in a manner that is a hindrance to other members, members should to respectfully move items to another location where an authorized person will ticket items if they remain unclaimed.

Worktables and workstations are for everyone's use. Whenever possible, please alert fellow members of their out-of-place tools or projects if you see them preparing to leave the lab. Everyone is occasionally forgetful, so Members should use their best judgement and try to help each other avoid tickets.

Who can issue
Parking tickets may be issued by any FCFL Member. If known, please make a good-faith effort to alert the owner before the ticket deadline.

What's on the ticket
The name of the member issuing the ticket, the current date, a brief description of the material in question, optional instructions for the owner.

What happens to ticketed items
Parking Tickets can be voided by creating a Parking Permit or removing the items before the deadline. 72 hours after the ticket issue date, ticketed material may be moved to the Lost and Found area. If the owner is legitimately unavailable to take care of their materials within the 72 hours, the issuer and/or Area Host may make arrangements with the owner at their discretion, but are under no obligation to do so.


Rules & Policies Enforcement


Fat Cat Fab Lab's successful operation relies on the values of stewardship of the space by its Members. Every Member is expected to know and follow the Rules and Policies and be as a positive contributor to our community. In cases when these Rules and Policies are not followed by a Member, we have the following enforcement and consequences procedure in place.

Strike Policy

  • All strikes remain in place for a period of one year since issue.
  • Depending on severity, a first offense may incur either a warning (verbal or written) or an official strike.
  • An official strike will be a written notice sent by email from the Board of Directors detailing:
    • The rule(s) offended.
    • Actions required to remediate the offense.
    • A date and time before which remedial actions must be taken.
  • A second strike for the same offense will be given if the Member fails to take the required actions by the provided time and date.
  • Strikes can be issued from repeating the same offense or any other violation of the Rules and Policies.
  • Three total strikes will result in a temporary ban from FCFL Member Privileges.

Temporary Ban

During a temporary ban the Member will:

  • Not enter the premises of Fat Cat Fab Lab the lab, unless approved by and scheduled with the Board.
  • Empty the space of all possessions including projects, materials, and tools.
    • If applicable, create an agreement in writing for the handling of any Member-Loaned Tools with the board.
  • Membership will be reinstated only when Member is deemed to be in 'good standing' (e.g. any storage fees paid in full)

After Parting Ways - Membership Cancelation & Expiration

  • Members are responsible for making arrangements to retrieve their personal property by the date of membership expiration.
  • Any personal property not retrieved beyond 2 weeks after membership cancelation or termination will be considered abandoned.
  • Abandoned property may incur standard bin storage fees until retrieved or membership reinstated.
  • Abandoned items that require special disposal (e.g. hazardous chemicals or large items that must be hauled to the dump) may incur cleanup fines and recovery costs for truck rental or cartage services.
  • It is recommended that at least one Board member and one other member should be present during the exchange.