Frequently Asked Questions

Membership

What’s with the multiple membership types? Do I need to hold more than one membership?

Access to the space requires you to hold both Association membership, which is a small annual fee that only covers insurance, plus a monthly membership (Community or Full-time membership) that covers the costs of running the space.

Members who hold association membership only are entitled to participate and vote at the association’s annual general meeting, but do not have access to use the space, except for as part of classes and events that are open to the public.


So I get insurance with my membership?


No. The purpose of the Association’s insurance policy, paid for through Association memberships, is to protect the Association from being sued. This policy does not include any kind of personal accident injury insurance for members during their use of the space, and as such MCI recommends that its members hold their own private health insurance policies.


How can I pay the membership fee?


All fees are paid via the MCI website, using credit or debit card. MCI does not have any facility to handle cash payments.

Association Membership fee is paid annually, starting from the date of signing up.

All other membership types are paid monthly from the date of signing up.


Is there a minimum duration of membership?


Association membership is paid annually, all other memberships are paid monthly. The minimum duration of membership for each is one whole payment period.

This means that if you only have occasional projects for which you need to use the space, you can take out Association membership for one year, and within that year take out as many or as few periods of Community membership as you like, with each period of Community membership running for a whole number of months. Just cancel your Community membership subscription whenever you know that you don’t want it to automatically renew again, and then resubscribe later on if you want to resume membership.


How soon can I start using the space after I sign up?


For reasons of both safety and avoiding damage to our equipment, most of our tools require you to complete an induction prior to use. You can view the induction schedule on our events calendar. The most popular inductions, such as machine woodworking, 3D printing and laser cutting, are usually run once every two weeks, but more involved inductions such as CNC machining or wood-turning are run much less frequently.

There are no exceptions to our requirements for you to complete inductions, and you should factor in the time that it will take for the necessary inductions to become available prior to beginning a project.


Can I suspend my membership if I am away?


Yes, you can suspend or cancel your membership, depending on the type.

Association Membership: Non-suspendable. If cancelled, it will still remain valid for a full year after purchase, after which it will not renew.

Community or Concession Membership:
It is preferable that you cancel your membership yourself if you need to suspend it, and then resubscribe when you return. If the dates of your absence do not line up conveniently with the date when your monthly membership renews, so that cancelling would result in you losing the majority of a month of membership, then we may, at our discretion, agree to suspend your membership.

Full-Time membership:
You can suspend your membership up to two times per year, not exceeding a total of two months of suspension per year, with a minimum suspension duration of one week. Contact us to arrange this.

Studio tenancies:
As for Full-Time membership, however only the membership portion of your payments will be paused, not the space-hire portion.


How can I cancel my membership?


All memberships can be cancelled through the ‘My Account’ page when logged in to the MCI website, by following the ‘edit your membership subscriptions’ link.

Cancelling a membership merely stops future payments, and does not provide any kind of pro-rata refund. Your membership will remain valid until the date on which the next payment would have been due.


I forgot to cancel my membership and got automatically re-billed when I didn’t want my membership to continue! Can I have a refund?


MCI may, at its discretion, offer refunds in this circumstance, provided that the request for a refund has been made within one week of the payment occurring, and the member affected has not used MCI facilities since the time of the payment. An administration fee will be applicable and will be subtracted from the refund.


I'm interested in full-time membership, but the website won't let me purchase it. What's the deal there?


Full-time membership requires committee pre-approval, in order to ensure that those granted unsupervised access to the space are safe and responsible. This process is fully described in our Policy Handbook, but the short version is that those applying must, at a minimum, have been community members for at least a month, participated in at least 10 open sessions, and during that time completed a project, without significant assistance, that is large enough to demonstrate their competence in operating within the space. Approval is at the discretion of the committee and is never guaranteed, and prior experience outside of the space is not adequate alone to demonstrate competence.

If you'd like to apply for full-time membership, please contact the committee to begin the process.


Can I upgrade from Community to Full-Time membership, or downgrade from Full-Time to Community?


Yes, but you must first be approved to purchase full-time membership before you can upgrade to full-time. Contact the committee if you’re interested in full-time membership but aren’t yet approved, as described above.

Once approved, you can then change your subscription type from the ‘My Account’ page when logged in to the MCI website. Your monthly billing date will remain unchanged, and you will automatically be charged for the difference in membership fees. E.g. If you are half-way through a month of Community membership and you upgrade to Full-Time, then you will be refunded for half a month of Community membership and charged for half a month of Full-Time membership.


How is my membership renewed?


Association membership will be renewed yearly. A fee will be automatically deducted from your authorised account. If you do not wish for your membership to be renewed, please cancel your membership before the next payment is due. (Note: Membership is still valid from cancellation until the date when it would otherwise have been renewed.)

Community, Concession, and Full-Time membership will be automatically renewed monthly. A respective fee will be automatically charged via your provided payment method. If you do not wish to continue your membership, please cancel before the next payment is due.

Studio membership is invoiced on a monthly basis. You will have the option of paying these invoices by direct deposit (which you can set up with your bank to automatically perform monthly), or manually by credit card.


Can I book a visit before deciding whether to join MCI?


Yes, you are welcome to contact us to arrange to visit us for a tour. Tours are offered during our open hours, with the exception of the first and last half hour of each opening. When contacting to request a tour, please specify a time when you would like to visit within the following ranges:

Mon & Thu: 7pm - 9pm
Sat: 10:30am - 3:30pm.


I have a very short-term project. Do you have a day pass access option?


No, as we require inductions prior to the use of any equipment, single visit are not practical, and day passes would not be cost-effective for you compared to taking out the minimum one month of membership.


I’m visiting from out of town, where I’m involved with another maker-space. I’d love to come in for a social visit. Is that possible?


Sure! While you wouldn’t be able to use any tools due to not being inducted, you’d be welcome to come and hang out during an open session. We’re always keen to share our experiences with other makers and maker-spaces.


What options are there for members to store their in-progress projects at MCI?


Community members are entitled to one 40L tub for personal storage, while full-time members are entitled to the use of one 1800mm x 500mm shelf. Paid subscription options exist for additional storage needs, but in general, we do not have the capacity to allow members to leave large, in-progress projects in the space.


I’m retired, a part-time student, or have a disability. Am I eligible for concession membership?


Concession membership is an option that MCI provides in order to support those who would otherwise be unlikely to be able to afford membership due to a diminished ability to receive an income. MCI recognises that this is a difficult thing to assess, and so have settled on the following requirements. In order to be eligible for concession membership, you must either possess a current Services Australia Health Care Card (including Pensioner Concession Cards but not Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards), or be a full-time student who is age 18 or older.


My child is interested in participating. What are your minimum age requirements


We allow children aged 12-15 to participate only with parental supervision, and those aged 16 and older to participate as normal members.

Where parental supervision is required, each supervising parent and child must take out association membership, but a single community membership may be shared between a single child and their supervising parent(s). Concession membership will be offered based on the eligibility of the parent only, not the child.

Both the child and all supervising parents must complete the relevant safety inductions prior to tool use. Direct, hands-on supervision of the child member by their supervising parent will be required whenever the child is participating in the space, and parents will need to take full responsibility for keeping their child from injuring themselves. In the case of more dangerous activities such as machine woodworking, it is expected that the supervising parent would be responsible for the operation of the machines on behalf of their child.


I have a disability requiring the assistance of a carer. Can I participate at MCI?


Yes, however if you require the assistance of your carer in order to complete safety inductions, then your carer must participate in the safety inductions, and you may subsequently only use the tools covered by those inductions under the presence and supervision of the same carer. If you change carers then your new carer will be required to complete the safety inductions as well.

Carers who have not completed the relevant safety inductions may not use or supervise the use of machinery.

Carers are not required to take out MCI membership, but must be covered by an appropriate public liability policy. In the case of carers employed by government bodies or private organisations, their employer will normally provide this insurance coverage.


I am an occupational therapist looking for an appropriate activity for a client to attend. How can I get my client involved in your activities?


We do not accept referrals directly from OTs, however if your client is capable of acting independently to self-manage their own projects and safely operate power tools without supervision, then they may sign up for membership themselves.

Alternatively, if your client has a carer who can supervise them in the space, then the carer and client may sign up for memberships and attend the space together.

We cannot provide supervision for participants who require the assistance of a carer but do not provide their own carer.

Events and classes

How can I book a workshop or classes?

All workshops or classes will be advertised on the Event page. Please register through each event page, even if it is a free event.


I accidentally started an order for the wrong class, but can’t figure out how to remove it from my shopping cart, which is preventing me from booking the class that I do want! How do I fix this?


Next to each item in your shopping cart is a small ‘x’. Click it to remove that item.


Can I cancel my booking for a paid class or event?


Yes, reasonable cancellation requests will be honoured, however a minimum of 48 hours notice is required and administration fee will be charged for refund.

Please use the contact form, specifying ‘Program/events’ as the topic, to send a request for refund or rescheduling.


Do I need to be a member in order to participate in classes?


No, classes are open to the public, though in many cases the membership types that grant access to the space (i.e. Community, Concession, or Full-Time membership) confer discounts to classes and events. The rate of discount is decided individually for each class.

Equipment, Inductions and Usage

What kinds of making are you equipped for?

The different areas of our space include:

  • a large woodworking workshop
  • a CNC router capable of cutting wood and plastic up to 600x900x40mm
  • a wood lathe
  • a textiles area with sewing machines, overlockers, cutting tables, and a computerised embroidery machine
  • 3D printers, with FDM printing currently operational, and SLA/resin printing being set up
  • Two laser cutters, capable of cutting wood and plastic sheet sized up to 600 x 900mm
  • Electronics

What about metalwork?


The metalwork space is not yet available for members. It is a work-in-progress. 

Please watch this space.


I’m already experienced with a particular piece of equipment that you say needs an induction prior to use. Do I still need to do the induction?


Yes, there are no exceptions to our required inductions.


Can I spray paint in the space?


No, we do not have any facilities for containing or ventilating overspray, so spray painting is not allowed.


I have a project with a deadline, and I’m either not inducted for the tool that I need to finish it, or that tool isn’t available. Is it ok to disregard MCI rules and make “creative solutions” to complete the project?


No, it is not OK. You should never breach MCI rules and policies.

Failure to adhere to MCI rules or policies may result in disciplinary actions including suspension of your project and/or your membership.


Can I bring my pet or service animal into the space?


Animals on site introduce an unstable element to an already hazardous working environment (a workshop with tools and machinery). They are therefore considered an unacceptable risk, and so are not allowed on site.

Access for service animals will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and will require a risk assessment and controls to ensure the safety of both the animal and other participants. This must be organised in advance, and service animals that have not been given prior approval will not be allowed on site.

Commissions

I have a design to be cut on a CNC. Do you provide CNC services?

No, sorry. While we do have a CNC available for use by trained members, it requires continuous supervision while in operation, and so the labour costs that would be involved in using it commercially would make it not at all financially viable. We recommend you engage a commercial CNC operation instead, and while we don’t have any specific recommendations for such services, there are quite a few of them around Melbourne, such as the following:

http://www.cnccuttingservice.com.au/
https://www.zeal3dprinting.com.au/services/cnc-wood/
https://cutitoutvic.com.au/our-services/
https://www.mountainviewcnc.com.au/
http://www.bencnccutting.com.au/
https://likebutter.com.au/pages/cnc-routing


I have a one-off design to be 3D-printed or laser-cut. Can you print/cut it for me?


Yes, very likely. Please contact us for a quote on the costs involved.


I have a project I’m working on at home that requires some timber cut, routed, or machined. Can you do that for me?


Yes, very likely. Please contact us for a quote on the costs involved. You will need to bring the timber to our space during one of our open sessions, where it will be cut while you wait.


I have a project that I need built. Can you do it for me? I can cover the cost of materials.


Completion of commissions relies on us being able to find a member willing to take on your project, which is unlikely if you aren’t willing to pay for their time. However your odds increase if it’s a very easy project and you are genuinely deserving of charity.

As a positive example, we have previously volunteered to laser-cut wooden animals to offer for children to paint at a kindergarten’s fundraising event, as laser-cutting does not require significant labour, and the organiser of this event made it easy for us by delivering the necessary materials and collecting the completed works.

As a negative example, we were previously asked by a representative of a school, whose students come almost entirely from very high socio-economic families, if we could perform unpaid maintenance and upkeep for them as “community outreach”, since their parents were “not very practical”, and so couldn’t do it themselves. Their lack of practicality apparently extended to not being capable of hiring a professional handy-person or groundskeeper. We declined their request.


Can you replicate this existing commercial product for me?


No. Even putting aside the ethics of copying someone else’s design, it would not be financially viable to hand-make a one-off copy of an existing product. The economics of scale mean that it would be vastly more expensive to do so. We recommend you just purchase the already available commercial product.


I have a bespoke project that I need designed or built. Can I commission you to do that for me?


Possibly! Please get in touch with us, and provide as much detail as possible about your requirements, including the timeframe in which you would need it completed. If someone in our space has the skills and willingness to take your project on, we’ll get them to quote you for it.

Donations

I have some material or equipment I’d like to donate to you, would you accept it?

Material and equipment donations are assessed on a case-by-case basis, and accepted only if they are determined to be of benefit to the space. Please contact us if you have a donation to offer that you believe would be of value to us.

Donations more likely to be accepted include:

  • Some machine tools, such as 3D printers, sewing machines, and metal machining tools
  • Large pieces of hardwood timber, such as old building joists
  • New sheet wood stock suitable for CNC or laser-cutting, or offcuts of high quality plywood
  • Seconds of or damaged new furniture that could realistically be repaired
  • Woodworking hand tools, particularly bench planes

Donations unlikely to be accepted include:

  • Old power tools
  • Tools unrelated to our activities, such as gardening equipment
  • Timber that is unlikely to be able to be reused, such as softwoods, MDF, chipboard, or thin materials like decking timber.
  • Old furniture requiring repairs or restoration

Can I make a tax-deductible cash donation to your organisation?


No, sorry, we are not registered as a deductible-gift recipient, so while cash donations are certainly welcome, they would not be tax-deductible.