MHV Inventory:

(Amr Tawfik) #1

MHV Inventory:
This is currently just a proposal. In order for this to work, most of us have to like the idea and be willing to contribute.

The problem we currently have:

  • We’ll buy something that we already have because we didn’t know we had it.
  • We do not know if something is hackable or not
  • We do not know if something works or what is wrong with it
  • We do not know how something works or who to ask about it
  • Non-members have no clue what we have to offer or where it is (We can even maybe add it to the website in the future)

Proposed solution:
We get off our asses and do what we know we should have done years ago. Create an inventory.

I suggest we create a Google sheet that is easily editable by most members. No one person should be expected to write it all down. But instead, anyone who knows a lot about a specific item can write it down. (ie: Me and Ian can talk about Tools, Steve can write about 3D Printers…etc)

We don’t even need to finish it soon. We just need to make sure we add things as we donate them or change them.

A simple one would look something like this:

But I’m sure we can do a lot better than that. We can eventually add code to make it way cooler. (Dropdown lists, YES turns green, NO Turns red)

Possible ideas:

  • We could have a page for key holders. So we can keep track of keys?
  • I put in a wishlist page and a shopping list page.
  • We could put it on the website to show off to non members what we have
  • We can have it editable by only main members. But we could have a page that is editable by non members so that we can approve the changes?
  • We could have a column for if the item works or not
  • Create a public page for a “To do list”. In case someone wants to help with something and doesn’t know what? Like “Mount more tools on walls”
  • A couple of years ago I created the donation post. I don’t think this should replace it because it is still good to get announcements about what is in you. But This would be a great way to keep track of it all.

Thoughts? I’m pretty sure we all agree that it’s a good idea in theory. But will it work? I think if most of us put in 5 minutes every 6 months it would work great.

(Jamie Reid) #2

There is definitely the germ of a solution in this idea Amr!

In the past, we have had an inventory and went so far as to have QR codes on everything (you may have seen these stickers on some of the older equipment in the space). It stopped being updated, and eventually reached a point where it would be too much work to fix.

Ben and I have been tossing ideas around for what the website needs to do. Keeping an accessible and easy-to-update inventory is something I’ll add to the list (not suggesting a software thing here, google sheets is possibly the best option). I’d already thought a wish-list of tools, items, and a shopping list of “hey, we’re out of drinks and paper towel” type thing would be a must. Glad to have a +1 :slight_smile:

Keeping track of keys is something I’ve been advocating for a long time. Definitely on board with that idea.


(ian) #3

In terms of easy to update, what about an informal inventory via pictures.
Even better for items that are presented somehow (eg like all the hand tools with outlines on the black tool board)
The photos could then be posted in a tools section of the web page.
This could work for some stuff at least.

(Amr Tawfik) #4

Yep even Ryan was working on a shopping list the other day. I thought it would be good to be open with this type of documentation so that we can all work together. I think the reason the inventory thing hasn’t picked up again in a while is because no-one wants to do it. Which is very fair because it is a big job. But if we open it to the community then everyone only has to pitch in a little bit.

I think Ian’s idea of using photos is Great. But we would still need documentation ( like a Google sheet) so that we can comment on things. Also if we just posted on a forum like this things will get buried and it will get messy. So perhaps if we put the photos in the Google sheet as well?


Definitely a must do for everyone!

Also really need a colum to flag if item is on loan/belongs to a member and who that is.

(Max Bainrot) #6

Why not plug it into the MHV membership database?

I have some plans to give the database some love (first fixing some bugs brought on by the unrelenting march of time) to add electronic sign in (both to ones membership and anonymous)

It probably wouldn’t be terribly hard to add inventory management to it.

I have a pull request pending to fix build issues and the database not emailing people problem and once that was done I was going to start working on the new features (my gitfu is pretty weak hence not doing things in parallel via forked branch tree forest things)



(Jamie Reid) #7

I’ve been slack in reviewing that PR, apologies Max.

(Max Bainrot) #8

No worries, I don’t blame you considering how much I changed and my not very confidence inspiring pr note probably didn’t help :slightly_smiling_face:

(ian) #9

The advantage of something like online spread sheet is knowledge isn’t locked away with people, its robust and not reliant on special maintenance or skills, and its accessible to everyone so not preventing future edits.

(Amr Tawfik) #10

Yeah I don’t even understand the database thing. Google Sheets is crazy easy for anyone to use and update.
Anyways, we can do all that fancy stuff if its as easy to use and we can easily copy paste the work.

I made the document editable by everyone (we can also then save it to the MHV Google account.).

So if you have 2-5 minutes and know about something that’s in the space write it up.

Me and Ian went in today and moved lots of tools around and will be updating that soon.

(Ryan Mitchell) #11

This is fantastic and I’m glad to see so many people are already contributing.

I tossed around the idea of a wish list a while back, but never really worked out a good way to do it, and it was agreed that if people want something, they’d probably just bring it up in person. This is a much better way to break through the “Club” barriers and share desires between the multiple segregated interest groups that use the space.

Same goes for the shopping list, it just makes everything so much easier. If someone’s doing a shop, they can check the list and grab what they need.

This falls back into our new presidents philosophy that the space needs to work with some basic structure, rather than just depending on ad-hoc friendships to spread the word and keep track of things.
I very much like it.

I was tossing around an alternate idea not long back in regards to cleaning up the place (was going to bring it up at the AGM but so little time, so I was going to save it for the next council meeting), something of a distributed detritus denomination system.
While an inventory works great for all the desirable items, it does very little for the undesirable, or that who’s owner or donator is no longer an active member. Thus, unknown junk sits around indefinitely until someone throws it out.
As my focus was and still very much is cleaning up the space into a much neater, more usable area, leveraging the assets we already have, I think organising the junk is also an essential job for the space.
Perhaps this should be in an alternate thread, but because so many people are already here, and I see this as a parallel system, I think it’s best here.

My proposal is to print out a set of labels (No large job), similar to ones we’ve had in the past.
There’d be 2 sets of labels, each colour coded depending on which of the 2 they are.
The first, being “This is MY personal item, no touchy” with a date stamp of when it was applied, and the expectation that members will actively re-apply them once every year. If something’s sticker hasn’t been updated in 18 months (And the member isn’t known to be in a difficult position) then it’s treated as if it has no sticker on it.
These stickers would also be applied to the lockers (or shelves, whatever the member has claimed as their own domain)
The second sticker being “This is donated to the space and free for anyone to use as they please”, with a date stamp. The old stickers specified “If it hasn’t been used in two months, chuck it”, but I think that’s a little hasty.
Also on the second sticker would be four check boxes, with the comment “If it is determined that this item is of no use to MHV, please:” 1: Return to donator, 2: Sell (Funds go to MHV), 3: Free to a good home, 4: Bin
If the original owner can’t be found, it falls back to the lower categories.

The purpose of all this ISN’T to classify what is useful, and wanted, I think the inventory is more suited to that. The purpose is to see what ISN’T wanted.
My idea would be that six months after this system is agreed upon, if something has no label, it is considered junk, and can be disposed of.

This could easily fall back into the inventory, if someone sees something with a sticker saying it’s up for public use, but isn’t in the inventory, then they could add it.
However when coming up with this system, my concern was only 25% letting people know what’s available and 75% getting rid of the junk. Inventories only list what is wanted, not what isn’t (Unless someone actively posts that they’ve dumped junk on us, which I doubt they will)

I call this distributed because it’s just a matter of hanging up a bunch of stickers and a notice on a wall somewhere and letting members do the rest as they please.

As always, RFC

(Ryan Mitchell) #12

I’ll also add, in regards to the google doc, publicly editable is usually good and safe unless someone using SHODAN or whatever (Sometimes just google) stumbles across it, then all heck can break loose.
Even if you make it invite only, I’ve done that once however all invited parties were able to invite parties themselves, there was a malicious actor, somehow it ended up on a chan, and all heck REALLY broke loose.
I doubt the latter would happen here, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
I still think it’d be worthwhile setting it to invite only. Google docs let anyone request an invite, so it’s not all that troublesome.
(As an example, it looks like anyone signed in to google has all the following access to the file, which to me just feels dangerous)

(Amr Tawfik) #13

Love it Ryan,

Re: Sharing. I think I fixed it. Please everyone interested ask for invite. I’m not too worried about saftey right now because its just some text that can be backed up.

Re Unwanted stuff: I like your idea and we should probably do it if you do not like my simpler option: I think because you are new and don’t know the space as well as I you are being too precious. I have a good idea of which junk has been just lying around. I think me, Ian, Steve and a bit of Ben are the only ones who actually store stuff we plan to use there. ( I’ve hoarded a few lockers, I think Ian has one, Steve has some Electronics lying around, and Ben has a couple of projects like the mame cabinet). I think we should just label them clearly (mainly me who has like 3 lockers of crap).

As for the rest of the junk, which is a lot, I think we should pile it all up, store it in the same place and label that something like “To be hacked or to be sacked”. We can leave it for about 6 months and then throw away anything we don’t like.

The reason we have been hoarding most of that junk is just in case somebody wants to hack or use it. But we should organise it and put it in the same spot.

Me and Ian today kinda started doing this. we realised that a lot of junk was on the shelves in the main workshop room. and a lot of tools were in the room. So we started switching them around. So I would suggest we cram all the junk in the storage room (neatly) and clearly label that it is flagged to be thrown away unless claimed.

what do you think?

EDIT: (Also anyone with access to the MHV account feel free to make the document official and copy and save it so its no on my account)

(Ben Paton) #14

I do keep projects I am currently working on at the space. If I stalk on one I bring it home. Maybe we could set up a shelf for this?

I like the idea of have a materials place (stuff to be used) maybe we could re purpose one metal room for that until we get a better solution.

(Ryan Mitchell) #15

It’s because I’m new that I’m very intentionally trying to be precious, as I don’t know what’s junk and what’s not.
The welding room is already totally unusable, so for that to be emptied, then declared the demoroom would probably work.

The reason I came up with my idea was that it doesn’t depend on all-knowing members to do anything, and that after a while it would sort itself out (Without sacrificing a room first)
Still, I like your idea, and if people are happy to do some sorting I’d be overjoyed. There’s just not much I can personally do at this point other than organising.

Here’s a link to the spreadsheet, now on the MHV google drive:

(It’s cloned more recently than the last edit, but if anyone adds anything to the other document I’ll copy it over)

(Jamie Reid) #16

Nothing to do with you, and everything to do with me sorry Max. I’ll try to make time on Sunday afternoon to take a look. Otherwise next week definitely.

(Amr Tawfik) #17

I think the non welding room is already stuffed with junk and should be the one we jam stuff in. Me and Ian have already removed a bunch of the useful stuff from there.

The welding room shouldn’t be baricaded with junk because its unusable, it should be cleaned up so that its usable.

We actually have enough space, we just need to organise it.

(Amr Tawfik) #18

Oh and Ryan,

I’m telling everyone to label stuff asap or tell you if there’s anything they don’t want touched. Everything else will be free game.

(Ryan Mitchell) #19

Sounds good.
I’m at the space now, just looking in the welding & other room, the cleaning that’s already been done is amazing, you’ve all done a fantastic job.
I thought use the welding room rather than the “Other” room simply because I thought the “Other” was already reasonably organised, but I guess I don’t know how much of what’s already there is junk, and would stay there. Everything’s already looking so much better though, so thanks to everyone who’s helped.

(Ben Paton) #20

Would exploring something like this for materials storage be worth looking at?

Something about this size would fit in the bay between the building and the garden