Giving Tours

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HackPGH Tour Script

August 2020

HackPGH | 1936 Fifth Avenue., Pittsburgh, PA 15219 |


(a) This is a very thorough guide for what to say during tours. You can use it as a loose guideline for what to say during your tours until you get comfortable with your own “schtick.” Please ensure that you at least point out all membership rules, safety guidelines, and cover all areas of the shop. Most importantly, stop once in a while and ask visitors if they have any questions! Again, items (especially regarding COVID) may change.


(a) Welcome to HackPGH! HackPGH is Pittsburgh's oldest makerspace, turning 11 years in March 2020. We are a combination public charity and membership-based club. This means that we have no paid staff or hours of operation. If and when you choose to join, you will have 24/7 access to the shop via RFID chip. We operate on the honor system of all makerspaces, which is “be excellent to each other.” This means that all members help maintain the shop by volunteering two hours a month, cleaning up after themselves, and repairing/replenishing tools when applicable. There is a volunteer Board of Directors who runs the administrative duties of the organization, but members hold most of the responsibility AND power.

(i) Normal membership is $50/month, but we have discounted memberships ($30/month) for students, seniors, active servicepeople/veterans, and those with disabilities. We also have membership scholarships for those from the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland!

(ii) For example, members can earn volunteer hours by taking out the garbage every Monday night for Tuesday AM pickup. Garbage goes in front of Fifth Avenue, not in the alley.

(iii) HackPGH has bi-monthly Members’ Meetings where we discuss how the organization is doing, what tools to buy, what tools to replace, etc. The Board of Directors can make purchases of up to $500, but anything above this amount requires a membership vote. If you join, we ask that you PLEASE attend (virtual or otherwise) so that you can have a say in how HackPGH is run!

(iv) Members use the Slack app to communicate with one another. There are many channels that can be used to discuss specific projects, tools, and problems. Once you join, you will be invited to join HackPGH’s Slack app.

(b) We have been a 501(c)3 since 2017, meaning we can accept monetary and in-kind donations and provide tax-deductible receipts, as well as apply and receive grants. Please do not bring in large items/tools without notifying the Board of Directors, simply for space-saving purposes. III. CLEAN SIDE/LOUNGE/KITCHENETTE

(a) This is what we call the “Clean side” of the shop. This large set of tables is usually the biggest meeting space, where we hold bi-monthly Members’ Meetings, hang around with our computers, play video games, or whatever. The lounge is also open for this purpose. The lounge has musical instruments that are open to play, as well as a library with tons of programming books. Feel free to check them out. You may be the first person to ever do so.

(b) This bookcase is a showcase of projects that have been done in the shop, from resin printing, 3-D prints, welding crafts, metal casting, and laser cutting on various materials.

(c) Fabrication station: This is used for the (formerly) monthly Foam & Fiber (AKA Cosplay) group. We have sewing machines, vinyl cutters, and a large plotter, among other crafting supplies which can be found in the lockers.

(d) Electronics & soldering bench: Here you can find a plethora of electronics and soldering supplies, all carefully organized and labelled in drawers. PLEASE clean up after yourself in this area!

(e) Bathroom and Storage room. Members may have a locker OR a bin. Please label all lockers and storage bins. Locks are recommended.

(f) ALPHA/BETA computers and printer. We have nice computers available for everyone’s use, and both have Adobe Suite on them as well as other programs and games. Only BETA has a solid state drive. If the printer runs out of ink, please contact the Board on Slack. WiFi is high-speed and available to all members. PW: ceilingcat

(g) Kitchenette: The kitchenette is open to all members. Coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and bottled water are ALWAYS free to members. Water bottles can be found in the fridge. If you take a cold water bottle from the fridge, please replace it from a room-temp one from under the coffee bar! Other consumables can be purchased from the vending machines. Please report any problems with the vending machine to the Board on Slack. The food vending machine is the work of the devil, however. We have a sink, dishwasher, and a microwave. Hot plates are NOT permitted. Please clean up after yourself! All dirty dishes left more than 24 hours can and will be thrown out!

(h) 3D printers: Hack has three 3D printers, although one has been on loan to the shop and is currently at home being repaired. If you use our filament, you must pay for it. The 3D printers can be controlled from ALPHA or BETA.

(i) Resin printers: Hack has two resin printers and are kept in a safety hood. One of the resin printers is on permanent loan from Alex Reasinger. If you would like to use it, please contact him first. Eyewear MUST be worn, as well as nitrile gloves.

(j) TARDIS: Yes, we have a TARDIS.


(a) This is the “dirty” side of the shop. Any and all power tools (with the exception of the laser cutter, welding tools, and CNC) are required to have two people in the shop for safety purposes. This has SAVED SOMEONE’S LIFE.

(b) Metal shop, paint/flammables closet and storage: Go over all tools you know and where large metal storage is. Point out the eye wash station (to the left of the yellow paint closet) and for that matter, all first aid kits and fire extinguishers.

(c) Welding materials: We have a MIG and TIG welder for use. You MUST either take a class or demonstrate prior knowledge/certification in order to use the welding tools. The safety curtain, closed-toed shoes, helmets, gloves, and coveralls are required in this area at ALL TIMES.

(d) Woodshop: Go over all the tools and machinery you know. The only tool in the shop that is NOT owned by HackPGH is the wood lathe. You MUST contact Chris Knipple to gain permission and/or training to use it!

(e) CNC Machine. Our newest beast of a machine, it can cut plastic, wood, AND certain types of metal! You must obtain training in order to use.

(f) Laser cutter: The laser cutter is our most popular machine, and the only one that requires a fee for its use (25 cents per minute). You MUST book your time on Skedda in order to use the laser cutter, pay for your time, AND log your time/laser condition on the white sheet on the laser desk.

(g) Second bathroom: Keep it clean. Cleaning the bathrooms can count towards volunteer hours! Extra toilet paper, soap, and paper towels can be found in the storage room shelves.

(h) Garage door: On hot days, during shop cleans, or other circumstances, you can open the garage door. There is a lever-lock on the left hand side. Pull it and open the door. PLEASE keep yourself and other Hack members safe. Do not let non-members inside and close during in climate weather.


(a) HackPGH members must be eighteen years or over. Minors aged seven to seventeen are welcome as long as they are ALWAYS accompanied by an adult member. Unfortunately due to insurance purposes, children six and under are NOT permitted in the shop.

(b) Spray paint and staining MUST be done outside. Other odorless painting (such as paintbrush crafts) can be done in the shop.

(c) Loud machinery on the dirty side of the shop must be turned off by 12AM on weekdays and 1AM on weekends, as our landlords live above the shop! Loud machines can be turned on at 8AM.

(d) Storage of large items (wood, metal, large projects, etc.). HackPGH uses a parking permit system. Parking permits are white and can be found to the right of the lounge on the wall. Please fill out the permit in its entirety and tape it to your project before placing it safely out of harm’s way.

(e) Classes: Hack tries to hold classes on a plethora of subjects, from welding to arduinos to computer-building to woodworking. If you would like to teach a class, you MUST get permission from the Board. In turn, Hack will advertise your classes on Meetup, the website, and social media. You can choose one of the following three options: 1. Teacher gets half of the profits, Hack gets the other half; 2. Teacher puts their half towards any membership dues; and 3. Teacher can donate all proceeds to Hack.

(f) Locks/entering and exiting Hack. If you are the first to enter HackPGH, please unlock the black gate on the Watson Street entrance. The padlock code is 1337. Your RFID must be used twice here, once for the black gate, and then again for the inner door. ALWAYS PLACE THE LOCK INSIDE THE DOOR ON THE WOODEN LOCK-HOLDER. If you are last to leave, take the lock from the holder and close both the inner door, black gate, and secure the padlock.

(g) Trash and recycling: The trash and recycling schedule can be found on the whiteboard by the lounge. Recycling must be kept in CLEAR bags. The recycling container for cans and bottles can be found under the kitchenette. The wooden recycling container for CLEAN, FLATTENED cardboard is next to the fridge. Trash must be taken to Fifth Avenue every Monday night. See calendar (online or on the whiteboard) for recycling schedule!


(a) During COVID quarantine (county color code notwithstanding), Hack has had to hold back a lot of its activities such as clubs and classes. We are working on this.

(b) Members and visitors MUST wear masks and sanitize/cleanse their hands regularly.

(c) Please keep six feet of social distancing. At the lounge and sitting areas, try to keep at least one empty chair in between another person.

(d) Members MUST cleanse/sanitize the tool/area before AND after they use it. There are five portable sanitization kits explicitly for this purpose!

(e) Members MUST book time on Skedda before coming to the shop, especially for the laser cutter, and dirty shop areas. A maximum of eight people on each side is permitted.