Tag: AMT 360

All the AMT 360º posts

Introduction Ace Booking v1

Ace Booking is the custom open-source software we developed to support us operating in a COVID safe way. This software supports:

  • Occupancy limits in each room
  • Members booking the time they need
  • Occupancy Tracking in case of exposures
  • Remote staffing

We couldn’t ethically consider re-opening without it.

What’s New

There are many upgrades and changes to how the software looks and works.

  • You can now book in 15 min. increments! You no longer have to book by the hour
  • The user interface is very different, now choose your start and end time and the system can tell you about availability
  • The user interface now has a calendar view. If your desired booking isn’t available you can check and see the next closest availability.
  • The late check-in window changed to accommodate the new 15 min. windows.
    • You can check-in 5 min. before your booking (if space is available)
    • You are considered late at the 5 min. after your booking mark and will start to get notifications.
    • You are considered as ghosting at the 15 min. mark after your booking, if you haven’t checked in, and your reservation will be canceled and the space made available for others. (you can always do a new reservation.
    • You will get a notification via email and slack reminding you to check out starting 5 min. before your expected check out times.
  • New remote staffing controls include
    • The ability to book spaces for maintenance without having to make personal bookings.
    • The ability to cancel user reservations for maintenance blocks
    • The ability to remote checkout people who didn’t check out
    • The ability to make bookings for members on maintenance crews
    • Reports on use trends

What to do if things break for users

While the team did our best to anticipate how folks could use or break this software there may still be a glitch or two. And we know our members are some darn creative users. If our members have trouble or the system doesn’t’ behave as anticipated they report the issue on slack and include photos if at all possible. Report on #general or #amt-software

Made at AMT-June 2019

NOMCOM Fob All The Things dashboard | AMT Software • Bodie/Crafty
Hand Built Speaker | Workshop • David
Recycling Game | Workshop/Laser • Bernard M.
Solid wood credenza | Workshop | Raj J.
Tiny electronic brass jewelry | Electronics | Ray A.
RFID Mint Dispensing Box | Laser+Electronics | Crafty
Wood Signage | CNC Router | James L.
Fabric Kraken stuffed with 720 LEDs | Textiles + Electronics | Crafty

Adventures on the Axis of X and Y

The following is the story of one dedicated AMT members adventures in caring for our beloved hacked CNC Router.

When I previously measured the steps on the x-axis, I found a big step difference between the forward and the backward motion. I decided to remove the x-axis to see if there were any mechanical reason which might affect this. At the same time, I removed the z-axis to see if there might be a mechanical reason for the occasional dropping of the z-axis.


I removed both z-axes from the CNC and checked the Porter-Cable axis for wear. In addition, I checked to see if there was any slippage between shafts and timing gears, as well as between the shaft and the coupler. (This was a suggestion from @drshiny.) To me, the z-axis looks in a good condition. I identified two issues, one was the timing belt and the other was that the guide wheels were not running tightly on the Guide rails.

The teeth of the timing gear were clogged with debris which looked like it had come from the timing belt. The only picture I have was taken after cleaning, but before doing that, I found a surprising amount of black stuff which was compacted into the grooves. I swapped the belt with the one from the Perske spindle which I assume has not done the same amount of work.

The groove in the bottom of the guide wheels was filled with compacted debris which caused the wheels to not run tightly on the guide rails. The point of the rail sits within the groove of the guide roller. If there is debris within the groove, the guide sits only on the upper face of the guide wheels as shown on the left-hand picture as opposed to the right-hand one(you may need to enlarge the picture to see it).






I used WD40 to softened the debris, and then used the edge of a chisel to scrape the stuff away. It was necessary to repeat this process several times for each wheel.


After removing both of the z-axes and the timing belt on the x-axis, I discovered that the x carriage was running only against the back two guide rollers(or wheels), with daylight showing between the front guide roller and guide rails. As before I cleaned and scraped the guide rollers and after tightening the two adjustable back rollers, I tested the smoothness of the carriage by pushing the x-axis forward and backward by hand along the path. At this point, the carriage was running smoothly. When I tested the number of steps forward and backward, I found there was no longer such a big discrepancy, which was the reason I decided to remove the z-and the x-axis in the first place.


We know the rack and pinion on the left-hand side has much higher wear than on the right-hand side. I think this is due to the two carriages on the y-axis not running parallel. There are 2 types of guide wheels, fixed and eccentric which means they are adjustable. 2 fixed wheels go on one side and the other 2 go on the other side. I wonder if one of the wheels has been swapped around. That would lead to the carriage being at an angle once tightened. Steve looked at this and also said that the pinion runs at the bottom of the rack and needed to be lifted. It is possible that once the guide wheel has been cleaned and adjusted, it may be enough to lift the rack higher without having to resort to further shimming. This work has not been done yet.

Custom built Sanding Station for the AMT Shop

Exciting news as a slightly late X-Mas present to the shop I have built us a dedicated sanding station with dust extraction!

This project did not cost a single dime and built entirely from things found in the space. The dust collection is thanks to @TechCurious who hooked us up with a donated Shopvac and mini cyclone not too long ago.

It’s on locking casters so can roll around but be stable when you need it to be. The new station has a large power strip on the back for both the shop vac and the various sanders! There are hooks to hold cables and hoses and the main hose comes straight out through the table top. There are dedicated shelves for the sanders on one side and I have made an adaptor for one of the sanders to attach easily to the hose (I will be working on the other sanders soon). Simply insert the hose and tighten down the screw to hold it in place.

Other than the adaptors I would like to get some storage for sandpaper on this cart and hopefully, it will be a nice little addition to the shop.

Just one thing to be aware of I have give the table top a good coat of wax to minimize glue adhesion but please try not to get glue paint etc on the surface, having a flat area to sand on makes things a lot easier so let’s try and keep it that way!

Also, it is built to be level with the bench and the table saw so can be used as additional support, Infeed table etc.

See you around the shop soon!

Colm M.
AMT Workshop Steward


Big empty room

AMT Expansion 2018

This month AMT turns 8 years old and we are growing! We have rented an additional 1200sqft suite in the building. We have a Work Party Weekend planned June 1-3 to upgrade and reconfigure all of AMT. All the key areas at AMT are getting an upgrade :

CoWorking and Classroom are moving in to the new suite. Rad wifi, chill space away from the big machines, and core office amenities are planned for CoWorking. The new Classroom will be reconfigurable and have double the capacity.

Textiles is moving upstairs into the light. The room will now be a clean fabrication hub with Electronics and 3D Printing both expanding into the space made available. Photo printing may or may not stay upstairs — plans are still forming up.

Metal working, bike parking, and new storage including the old lockers will be moving into the old classroom. But before they move in the room is getting a face lift by returning to the cement floors and the walls will get a new coat of paint.

The CNC room and workshop will then be reconfigured to take advantage of the space Metal vacated. We aren’t sure what that is going to look like beyond more workspace and possibly affordable storage for larger short term projects.

Town Hall Meeting May 17th • 7:30PM • Plan the New Space

What expansion means to membership

The other thing that happened in May is after 8 years our rent finally went up. It is still affordable enough that we get to expand. Expansion also means increasing membership volume to cover the new rents and to take advantage of all the upgrades. We are looking to add another 30 members by winter.  Our total capacity before we hit the cap will be 200 members. We feel that offering more classes and the best bargain in co-working will allow us to do this. Please help get the word out!

The New Suite in the Raw

Big empty room

Asset Tagging at AMT

Ace Monster Toys has a lot of stuff. We like to keep our stuff organized, so we tag our stuff with labels like this:

How to Look up an Asset

To look up an asset by number or name, you can check the asset list


The assets are listed in number order, and clicking on the Asset Tag (ex. AMT001 for the Big Red Laser) will bring you to the wiki page for that asset. If the asset has been documented correctly, the wiki page will tell you the specifications and dependencies of that asset.


How to Add an Asset Tag

Preprinted asset tags are available on the supplies rack. Please follow the instructions and use them in sequence. You can check which label was used last in the asset list.

You then need to fill out the spreadsheet with the new asset tag under the item number column, give the asset a unique name, give the location of the asset, the URL for the asset’s wiki page (you can copy the URL for the one above and change the tag name), and the value of the asset. Wait, the asset doesn’t have a wiki page so we need to fix this: click on the URL that you put into the spreadsheet, and you will be prompted to create the wiki page (if you are logged in!).

The Wiki page needs to contain the following information:

  • Status: tool integration (Use this code snippet but use the new asset number: {{#amtasset:AMT001}} )
  • Name: Common name of the tool
  • Make/Model: The make and model of the tool from the manufacturer
  • Documentation: (link to documentation, this can be an online manual or on our wiki, whether this page or another is your choice.)
  • Location: (where in the space does it live)
  • Pictures! 
  • Category: (Add relavant category tags for the item you are adding… IT for it stuff, workshop for tools there, etc.)

The Wiki page will become active when the status is set through the Slack channel. To do this, you must send a direct message to @toybot in the format “!asset{asset number}{status}.” For example, if the Big Red Laser is on fire, then you can send a direct message to @toybot saying:

!asset amt001 On Fire!

Messaging toybot can update the status of existing assets (as shown above) as well as setting the status for a new asset.

Happy Tagging!

AMT Badges

Show folks who step up a little love with a button badge!

Have you spotted these badges in our space yet? We’re excited to introduce a new badge program in which members can acknowledge and celebrate community engagement. AMT Badges are little tokens of appreciation that member can give each other. We do so much for each other and the community… give a badge to a member when you see them stepping up!


To get badges: You must be gifted the badge by somebody else.

To give badges: When you see something worthy, choose your badge give it to the person and ping an officer so we can post a digital badge to the recipients AMT profile. Also if you want give a badge anonymously an officer can be your messenger.

Badges are located on the media table upstairs.

Don’t see the badge you need?

Have a great idea for a badge? You can email officers to get a new badge created OR make your own custom badges on any of the Thursday Night General Meetings when we crack out the button maker.

Badges may sometime in the future make you eligible for special classes (sash making!!)

Transparency at AMT

This article specifically pertains to transparency in leadership and governance at Ace Monster Toys Makerspace. Information about personal transparency expected of members and guests can be found on our culture page.


Oversight as we are referring to it here is:
a: watchful and responsible care — ex: you to whom oversight of the University is entrusted
b: regulatory supervision — ex: “congressional oversight” or The new manager was given oversight of the project.

Transparency, as used in this social contexts, implies openness, communication, and accountability. Transparency is operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what actions are performed. It has been defined simply as “the perceived quality of intentionally shared information from a sender”.

The AMT commitment to transparency

Operational AMT has the following structures in place to foster the transparency we are committed to:

  • Open Books – Members have access to a read only version of our books at all times. We also publish our yearly p&l to the public wiki.
  • Audit-able Meetings – Members can phone in and audit most meetings on mute or attend as silent observers.
  • Consistent communication about the state of the Organization – Regular newsletters
  • Honestly reporting out – reporting challenges as well as successes
  • Clearly publishing and posting policies and social contracts
  • Clearly stating what members are and are not entitled to (for example, member are entitled to a safe making environment. Members are not entitled to access to contractors AMT hires to do work.)

AMT directors, officers, stewards and project leaders have committed to:

  • Being clear about how decision making is happening
  • Announcing what a decision is once it has been made or when it changes
  • Fostering feedback in open discussions on AMT platforms
  • Reporting out about what feedback will be acted on and what won’t
  • Announcing what style a project, program or initiative will use (i.e. agile, decentralized, directive, etc.)

How transparency plays out in a volunteer run community

As a volunteer-run community, AMT projects and initiatives are often planned and acted upon in a decentralized fashion. What does or does not happen is the emergent property of the community, the will of individual volunteers and their availability and of course follow through.

Decentralizations also means that often projects/initiatives don’t have formal plans made – such as a project manager might create. Instead they have a responsible sponsor/project lead who is trusted to collect the right information to make good decisions as the project progresses. This trust in leaders also extends to dealing with plans and decisions that might need to change in-the-moment. When conditions change plans and choices may change. Failure to follow a plan is not a failure to be transparent. Transparency means reporting out when changes happen.

Decentralization and being volunteer-run means that information is dripped out over the course of a project or initiatives as it happens. What is also means is the the level of engagement (and access to influence and information) is informed by what role somebody has… this is a classic tie between responsibility and authority.

Director/Officer – Provides oversight, gets information by requesting information or reading reports or accessing public channels

Officer/Project Lead – Provides project/initiative management and makes final decisions, distributes informations on public channels as things happen / decisions are made, reports our results, has the most real time information

Project team member – Actively works on the project including planning and is committed to seeing the project though to completion, included in almost all planning discussions if they happen, has virtually real time information, participates in post project/launch documentation

Project contributors – Actively works on the project yet is not committed to seeing the project to completion, receives access to information along the public channels or by request related to the task they are taking on

Member – The general membership has basic information distributed via public channels (usually Slack), engages in discussion, gives feedback on public channels — information access will vary based on relevance to the audience or resources available for documentation

Oversight and leadership at AMT

The are 5 kind of formal leaders at AMT. Project leaders and stewards who are supervised and supported by officers, usually the president, vp, or community liaison. Officers who are supervised and supported by the board of directors. There are certain instances where committees are forms and those members are overseen and supported by officers and directors. All leaders have some degree of autonomous authority to accompany the responsibilities they take on. There is no instance where a member is granted authority in a decision making body without responsibility.

Disagreements and transparency

Makers are generally very invested in how things are done. There will be disagreements about what needs to be done or how something should be managed. One of the fears many people have about transparency, especially when things are decentralized, is that information shared may be misconstrued, misunderstood, or misused.

Example of misconstrued information: Partial information was shared as it is discovered in an effort to solicit timely feedback and it was taken as complete information and assumptions were made

Example of misunderstanding information: A FYI communication about a decision was sent out once the decision was made and it was interpreted as a solicitation reconsider the decision or engage in debate.

Example of misunderstanding information: A communication about a tool use policy is sent out and is misunderstood as a policy about all tools not just the tool being mentioned.

Example of misuse of information: Leader shared what a decision was after a contentious conversation and it was met with debate or derision.

What transparency is not

  • Transparency is not oversight – Requiring to know what all decisions are before they are made or acted upon is oversight. The authority of oversight is held based on role in the org.
  • Transparency is not research – Sometimes accessing the information that is out there takes a little bit of work. Asking somebody else to do that work for you might get you a response of “no”. That no isn’t a denial of transparency but rather a denial of service.
  • Transparency is not entitlement to a role – Members are not entitled seat at every table or a position on every team. While engagement and volunteerism highly encouraged, wanting authority or a role is not guaranteed simply by asking for it.
  • Transparency is not taking all the advice given – Being able to give feedback is part of transparency… having all of your feedback or advice acted upon is not.
  • Transparency is not debate – Debate has its place in decision making. It is not a requirement of decision making or transparency.
  • Transparency leaves room for change – Things change and a previously published piece of information might become inaccurate. Project plans especially might change. As long as those changes are reported out we are still fulfilling out obligation to good transparency.
  • Transparency is not knowing the unknowable – Answering a question may not always be possible. Not answering a question because you don’t know or a decided hasn’t been made or are deferring a decision is not a denial of transparency.
  • Transparency is not license to disrespect somebody’s authority – Sometimes with transparency it means you might be on the receiving end of unsatisfying information. Or even information you disagree with. Asking questions about those decisions or situations is fair enough. Using your “power to question” to to aggressively pressure somebody is harassment and is not okay.
  • Transparency is not unlimited access to people – Sometimes finding the information that is out there involves peoples time and energy to teach systems and platforms where that information is house. Everyone is a volunteer at AMT and no-one is entitled to unlimited time and access to other volunteers. Being told that somebody can’t drop what they are doing to address your needs right away is not a denial of transparency but rather a denial of service. Being polite and respecting the time of others is a key tenant of respect… respect is a pillar of the AMT social contract.