TCMaker is open for business! [Updated]

I hope you are all doing well. The shop closure has been tough, but we’re back!

Please read this message carefully, as it contains information that you will need to know to get into the shop. Remember, as much as we all want to get in and work on projects, it is important that we do so in a way that keeps everyone safe. 

ILLNESS: If you are feeling unwell, or have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19, please STAY HOME. If you have already been in the shop and suspect that you have COVID-19, have tested positive, or have been around someone who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19:

  • Please email to inform us. 
  • This information will only be used to the extent necessary to inform others that they may have potentially been exposed and to make decisions about closing areas of the shop for a more thorough sanitization. This information will also be needed in the event that contact tracers need information from us. 

Your identity will not be made public. 

LIMIT ON SHOP CAPACITY: Our big focus on helping to prevent excessive spread of covid-19 will be social distancing in the shop. Unlike our normal operation (24/7 access whenever you want), we will be limiting the number of people in the facility at any given time. 

We have worked with area managers to determine how many people can be in each area while still having enough room to allow people to work at least 6 feet apart. Signs have been posted around the shop to clearly show how many people that area has been limited to. 

SHOP USAGE SIGN-UP: If your membership is current, you should have received an email from inviting you to register for our new membership dashboard. If your membership expired, or if you’re a new member, you’ll get an invite sent to you.

  • Once logged into the dashboard, you will be allowed to register for one 3-hour timeslot for the area of the shop you wish to use.
  • The number of spots for each area is limited to allow for social distancing.
  • Each person is limited to one signup per day..
  • If you find that you will not be able to make it at your designated time, please cancel your reservation. This will allow someone else to utilize that spot.
  • Key fobs will be activated and deactivated according to the registrations. 


  • Please follow the MDH and CDC’s recommendations and remain at least six feet away from other people if possible.
  • A face mask is required per the City of Minneapolis.
  • Please wash your hands frequently. We have also stationed hand sanitizer at convenient locations around the shop.
  • Please limit your work to the area that you have signed up for. Obviously people will need to do things like use the restroom, wash their hands, or grab a few items from storage; however, please avoid working in other areas.

SHOP CLEANLINESS: In addition to the normal expectation that everyone cleans up after themselves (materials and tools put away; sawdust/metal shavings swept/vacuumed), we are asking people to take some additional steps.

  • Sanitize the part of equipment that gets touched (handles, buttons) before and after use.
  • Follow signs for each department  / piece of equipment for the appropriate type of cleaner. Some cleaners are harmful to certain materials. Please only use what the area manager has recommended.
  • Please only spray cleaner onto a paper-towel and then wipe down handles / buttons. DO NOT spray cleaner onto the equipment. This can damage motors and electrical components. 

MEMBERSHIPS: For both new and returning members, our sign-up process is being revised to minimize the need for face-to-face contact. 

  • Some contact may still be needed for key-fob hand-off.
  • Due to the possibility of many people wanting to renew memberships at the same time, there may be up to a week delay on processing membership renewals. We understand that people are excited to come work on projects again; however, membership processing still relies, to some extent, on volunteer time. 

Finally, I want to thank all of the people who have continued their memberships despite the shop closure. You’ve helped to sustain the organization through this trying time and ensured that we’ll be able to bounce back. A big thank you also goes out to all of our board and staff for working hard behind the scene to prepare us to have a successful reopening. 

Becca Steffen
Twin Cities Maker

Shop closure update

As most of you have heard by now, Governor Walz has extended the stay at home order to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 17. In light of this announcement, we will not be reopening the shop on May 4th.

In the meantime, the board of directors and shop managers are putting together a more detailed plan on what reopening will look like. We may also offer another round of project/materials pick-up time slots before May 18th.

Stay tuned for future updates.

-President Becca

Updates on shop closure and limited purpose opening

The board had a lot to discuss last night about the current shop closure and what might be possible in terms of reopening. Here’s what you should know:

Materials Pickup: We’re offering another opportunity for people to come in for the limited purpose of picking up materials. Once again there is a sign-up sheet, which you can find here: PickUpSchedule. Our woodshop manager, Jon, has agreed to be present at these times to facilitate material/project retrieval to save us from having to turn keys on and off. This schedule is for April 16-18.

Limited Purpose Access: Twin Cities Maker will also be allowing limited purpose access to the shop for PPE production (masks, face shields, etc). These efforts are being coordinated to limit the number of people in the shop. Right now, Joseph is spearheading the effort to 3D print face shields for medical staff. To join the effort, email We will also allow access to individuals who want to use sewing for masks; however, it will need someone to coordinate the project. If you are interested, email Jamie at

Reopening: As it stands right now, earliest we will be able to reopen the shop is May 4th due to the shelter-in-place order. Our goal is to reopen the shop to members when this order is lifted, so an actual date is very dependant on whether the governor extends this order again. Whenever we reopen, it is likely that we will initially not have public events. The other factor in whether we are able to open the shop to members is availability of PPE and cleaning supplies. Twin Cities Maker made the decision to donate most of our masks and gloves to hospitals when we closed the shop. Before we reopen, we’re hoping that we will be able to source the proper protective equipment for our normal shop hazards (skin and respiratory irritants like glue, dust, etc).

Cleaning Protocols: When the shop is reopened, there will be some additional cleaning protocols in place that we will need our members to abide by.  All equipment will need to be cleaned after each person uses it to limit the potential spread of coronavirus. Because different types of equipment require different chemicals for cleaning, we’re developing a universal sign to accompany tools that will tell you what sort of cleaner to use. This will ensure that while we maintain a more sanitary work environment we are not damaging our equipment.

Finally, I want to once again thank everyone who has continued their membership despite the unavailability of a physical shop. Your support is ensuring that Twin Cities Maker will survive this pandemic and still have an amazing facility to work in.

Stay safe out there.

-President Becca




April Board Meeting — We’re Going Virtual

Tonight’s board meeting (04/14) will be held virtually via google hangouts. The link is up on the calendar.

If you decide to join us, please adhere to the following:

1) Please keep your mic muted unless actually talking. This minimises background noise that makes it hard to hear.

2) Roll call will be taken at 1900. If your login does not match your name in some easy to identify way, please let us know which login you match up with.  🙂

3) If you have a question or the board has solicited opinions and you’d like to contribute, please type two asterisks (**) and then your question / “hand raise” in the chat window. Please wait to be acknowledged before unmuting/talking. I haven’t tested how it works with calling in on the phone number and having chat window open.

4) Please be patient with us. This is our first fully virtual board meeting on google hangouts.


Shop closure update: 4/12/2020

Hello everyone! I hope you’re all healthy and safe. Here’s an update on how things are going for Twin Cities Maker, and what the board is doing at this time to keep our organization going.

Shop remains closed past Monday 4/13…

Unfortunately, given the governor’s extension of the stay-at-home order, the shop will remain closed for the time being.

…But we’re looking at options for reopening

The board will be discussing our options for reopening at our next meeting on Tuesday 4/14. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has said that we qualify as an essential business, since many members use our facilities to maintain and improve their homes. There are conditions on that however — limited hours, number of people in the shop, etc. — so we’ll be discussing what we need to do to meet those conditions with an all-volunteer staff. This board meeting will be held online so that we don’t spread our nasty germs around. If you’d like to join the meeting, watch this space for connection info on Tuesday evening. The meeting starts at 7pm, we should have the link up by 6:30pm.

Yes, we are 3D printing PPE

Our 3D Lab staff have been coordinating the printing of PPE for area hospitals. If you have your own 3D printer, you can help out by contacting More information can be found in the last 3D Lab newsletter. Please contact the 3D Lab staff before you print anything, so you can be sure you’re getting the latest version of the print files.

Wednesday nights are now online

Our Wednesday night open house/social meetup has moved online! It’s a nice way to catch up with people, talk about whatever comes to mind, and socialize through a rather anti-social time. The meeting goes up around 6:30pm-ish, and runs until whenever. Stop in and say hi! The link for the meeting is on the calendar.

New promo video

In all of the disorder surrounding our new viral friend we forgot to post about this: We’ve got a new cool promo video up on YouTube! Pass it along to all those people who wonder what this weird “makerspace” thing is that you keep talking about. The video is super professional — a big big thank you to everyone who helped make it possible!

Thank you for your continued support

I want to thank everyone who’s kept their memberships running through our little COVID-cation these past couple of weeks. TCMaker is in good financial shape, and your continued memberships mean that we’ll be able to get back up and running quickly once we’re all through this.

I also know a lot of you are facing some financial stresses, and have had to let your membership go. Rest assured that TCMaker will still be around when you’re back in a better place, and we’d love to see you back in the shop again.

When we all get through this, and rest assured we will all get through this, we’ll meet up, raise a glass, and compare our battle scars. Stay safe, stay healthy, get excited, and make things!

Scott Hill
Vice President, Twin Cities Maker


The governor of MN has issued a shelter in place order starting Friday, March 27th at 11:59PM (tonight). In light of this announcement, we will be moving up the shop closure and door locking to the same time (two days early).  Anyone who had timeslots scheduled on the spreadsheet (see previous post) for pickup of materials this weekend has been contacted and asked to reschedule for today.


Make, learn, don’t share COVID-19

SHOP CLOSURE: Twin Cities Maker, at its core, is a community.  In the interest of that community and the public at large, from 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 22nd through Sunday, March 29th, we will be closing our shop to any work on personal projects and asking that people only come in to pick up personal items (see below). From 11:59 PM on Sunday, March 29th to Monday, April 13th we will be temporarily closing our shop to all members. This decision was difficult to make, and we hope that our members understand the importance of doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know about the temporary closure:

11:59 PM SUNDAY, MARCH 23rd: The shop is closed to members working on projects. In order to facilitate members removing any materials they would like to bring home for doing project work while practicing social distancing (or potential shelter in place order) we are allowing members to sign up on this spreadsheet TC Maker – Project Storage Retrieval Schedule – COVID19  for 1 hour time blocks to grab their stuff. We are limiting the number of people in the shop to 10 people at a time. Please limit yourself to your one hour slot that you have signed up for. 

Twin Cities Maker is not authorizing the removal of ANY tools owned by the organization for use at home. Please do not take any Twin Cities Maker property home with you. This is for insurance purposes as well as inventory tracking. 

11:59 PM SUNDAY, MARCH 29th: All access to the shop will be closed. Key fobs will be disabled for the duration of the closure and will be turned back on when the shop opens again. 

ALL CLASSES AND EVENTS from March 23rd to April 13th (or for however long the facility is closed) will be cancelled. Students already signed up for these classes will receive a full refund.

ON MONDAY, APRIL 13th: The board is keeping an eye on the situation. We hope that the shop will only be closed for a few weeks. On or around April 13th we will decide whether to reopen the shop or remain closed for a longer duration. Updates will be sent out as we know more. 

MEMBERSHIPS: We hope that many of you will show your support for our community by continuing your membership with Twin Cities Maker through this temporary shop closure. By doing so, you help ensure that this amazing organization will last through the ages (and that we continue to pay rent in the interim). If you can continue paying dues, we urge you to do so. For those who maintain their membership through these hard times, we are also offering one free month of membership, upon request, when we reopen the Hack Factory. 

We are also aware that COVID-19 may be impacting some of you financially, and will offer refunds of March memberships upon request for those who are experiencing financial hardship. For March refund requests, please email: Depending on the volume of requests, it may take some time to process them. 

NOW WHAT?!?!?! While our facilities may be closed, the Twin Cities Maker community remains alive and well. We’ll be utilizing (and sometimes experimenting with) some ways to reach out in virtual. Look for blog posts on projects people are working on at home. Connect on Facebook, Google, and Slack (email to request an invite to our slack channel — spots are somewhat limited). Some shop managers are looking into using video conferencing to host tutorials and interest groups in virtual. Look for emails containing information. 

We hope to be seeing you all before too long. 

– President Becca – 

COVID-19 Precautions

I know we’re all tired of hearing about corona virus. However, with 14 confirmed cases in Minnesota, mostly in the metro area, Twin Cities Maker has decided to take a few precautionary measures to help keep everyone healthy.

Wednesday night open house @ the Hack Factory will be cancelled for the next two weeks (until April 1, 2020). We’re sorry about the inconvenience and hope you understand.

Classes may be cancelled at the discretion of the instructor. Students will receive a full refund if their class is cancelled. Please keep an eye on Eventbrite and look for email to confirm the status of all classes.

Additionally, for any class being held before April 1st, we are allowing individuals to withdraw from the class and receive a full refund, even if they withdraw the same day of the class. We’re doing this to encourage anyone who is feeling unwell to stay home and not feel like they should attend because they’ve already paid. 

The shop will remain OPEN to all current members during this time; however, please STAY HOME if you are sick, symptomatic, have tested positive for COVID-19, or know you’ve been exposed. This is part of being excellent and keeping each other safe.

Finally, we’re encouraging everyone to take personal precautions like washing their hands, just like in this video put out by Vietnam’s Department of Health:

Thank you for your continued support.

– President Becca –

Drum Sander Offline for a While

Our Drum sander in the wood shop has been down due to it blowing a 30amp fuse whenever you try to start it.  After some exploration, it appears that the motor needs to be tore apart for further diagnosis of what is going on.  ETA of repair is unknown.  A Post and Email will go out once we know a better ETA on repair.