Recruiting for Team SOP

@TEAM_Blacksmith @TEAM_Crafts @TEAM_DigitalFab @TEAM_Jewelry

Last night at the area head meeting, we were bemoaning the lack of SOPs for many of our tools. This has been a long-standing problem for us, and a case where we’re not living up to our own policies. Of course it’s not for lack of desire; it’s just that they’re real effort to do, and can be daunting.

With our recent electrical upgrades, we’ll be bringing more tools online, and so this is a problem we need to get out in front of. I’m proposing we take a team approach to this, and form Team SOP. This would be a group of people who will work together to create drafts for the many nonexistent and incomplete SOPs. What I mean by work together is that for a particular tool, two to four people would stand around it and hash it out. Somebody takes pictures, somebody is in Dozuki typing it up, and everyone is thinking about the steps and procedures.

It would be very helpful to have someone on a team who is not an expert. Beginners have questions that experienced folks don’t remember having themselves. And of course the team members can change with each tool.

I think just getting an initial draft of an SOP is the hardest part. It’s easier to refine and expand on a draft than it is to start from nothing. Drafts can be approved and/or improved by area heads, and then published and printed.

Have a look at our Dozuki site to see what we’re starting from: Some good examples are the laser cutter and the CNC machine. (These and many more are the work of @brian.adams, LMN’s SOP OG. But he’s not the only one around here who can rhyme “install the blade guard” with “swipe your ID card.”)

If you’re interested, please reply here. I propose we start with… any tool. And from there, move on to… another one. And so on. It will be a journey.


I have some time off this thursday and plan to finally get to initial SOPs for the sewing machines at least in the craft room.

I’d be interested in being involved with this team

A random thought, but it would also be nice to make sure there are physical copies of all sops, and maybe a binder on the bookshelf with the sops for the whole shop (in addition, not in lieue of dozuki). if someone can’t find it it’d be nice to have a physical place to look for them.


I 100% second physical copies. This was the initial inspiration for the LMN bookshelves/library area.

Additionally, we are able to link to pdfs in Dozuki if this makes the task less cumbersome for those who are interested. I have grappled with the Dozuki guides and found the application’s image requirements make the program difficult to work with.

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I’m interested to get some feedback. After getting the belt sander online, I wrote up the following SOP. It’s considerably more stripped down than the Laser cutter SOP.

It can be viewed here: LMN_2x72_belt_sander_SOP - Google Docs

Is there enough information in this SOP? I am assuming that the user will be looking at this document while they are at the machine, so I did not feel that pictures were needed. Note that the belt sander is a simpler tool than the laser cutter, so I’m not saying anything about the laser cutter SOP, I’m just asking if the belt sander SOP seems to make sense.

As for physical copies. It’s my intention to have the forge and sander SOPs either on the machine or on the shelf in the blacksmith area, and the welding SOPs on the shelf in the welding area.

As someone who has used the belt grinder, but not an expert on SOPs, that looks good to me. it’s concise and says what it needs to. I think pictures may help people anyways though, even if it’s just a reference picture with some parts labelled
pull down on the wooden handle (labelled part B in the reference picture) to change the belt

I was talking to Jimmy about possibly heading this up, and would love to work with other volunteers to get the space all lined up.

I’m interested in helping with the easy stuff–giving advice and editing.

I’ve been giving this some thought since last night and wonder if we can schedule a set of checkouts for all of the tools that need SOPs so volunteers can attend for SOP writing purposes and to eventually become checkout trainers. Maybe we can also record these so volunteers can rewatch them and work on SOPs during their shifts, and possibly save instructors some time after deciding on the outline and structure of the SOP. I’ve noticed there are tools with only a couple of checkout trainers, and there are new tools being added constantly, so I think we might be able to address multiple issues :woman_shrugging:t4:


I have written an outline for the eversewn machine and taken pictures for it! once it’s done, it should be only minor changes to use for all the machines (other than serger and industrial).
For the record, I like this idea and if anyone asks for checkouts or help on sewing machines, they always can on friday evenings

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@RealCarlRaymond @laura_rogers @billehhg @Jtempkin @cafwood and anyone else interested, when are you available to meet so we can all brainstorm how to best tackle this and start writing SOPs? I am free all next week.

Sign me up to help pester people if needed :wink:

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I think a best practice would be if there were some type of SOP format standard for the MakerSpace. Then it would be easier to digest anyone familiar with even just one of them. It could start off just by having Required sections, then at the end it could have Non-Required sections.

Probably broken up into something many tool manuals but with friendlier language and more pictures?


  • Required Safety Information
  • Basic Features Overview needed to safely operate for checkout
  • Basic Operation and Steps to turn on, operate, and turn off equipment
  • Basic Checkout Project to show you understand the features


  • Advanced Feature set
  • Sample advanced project
  • Issue Log

Having a LMN format for the SOP’s would also just be cool. It would be like an LMN Academy! Could be worth it to make videos too? So that volunteers who aren’t masters of the equipment can still help guide others and check them out and so that checkouts can be more consistent (I’ve noticed that some people are much more detailed than others when it comes to checking out equipment. Or maybe it’s just because the equipment is different?)

Side note:
Is there a way to track this using the talk site? It could almost be a competitive thing to show how many items you’ve been checked out for, and that metric could even be used to advertise how the organization is enriching the community by teaching all of these hands-on skills.

Ideally, we could find some certificate management or LMS system but that’s costly. But even just badges on the Talk site? It may help engagement on the site too.

I’m just throwing ideas against the wall. Sorry if this is all a wash. I’m willing to help out where I can!


I think these are all really great ideas! I was also thinking a standard SOP format would give us all a good starting point and make this feel less daunting (and your bullet points are better than what I had in mind!)

Talksite badges for checkouts would be really cool too. We’ve been talking about making button badges to give out when someone gets a checkout, so members can attach them to aprons or LMN gear, and having a digital version would be cool for all the reasons you mentioned. They can potentially be manually granted by volunteers since all checkout badges are granted on our member dashboard. At least until a better solution is found, or more resources can be allocated for something like this.

I’ll be around Saturday and Sunday as usual, and I can come in just about any evening during the week. I have Monday off work, as well.

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We do have some badges for checkouts, but they don’t currently go to the people who have been checked out.

Hi! i haven’t checked talksite as much this weekend as i was pretty socially-burnt out after the holidays. I should be free most thursday and friday evenings, and most sundays all day

Let’s aim to meet on Sunday. How does 3pm sound? If anyone sees the other folks who are interested in the next few days, please let them know!

Works for me
also, 20 character min is not as useful as you might think

It is truly not good.