Tool Leasing Agreement

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Artisan's Asylum has only been possible through the support of its member community. Some of the tools in the shop are leased from Asylum members and maintained to manufacturer's standards by volunteers. This allows the Asylum to field higher quality equipment than it might have otherwise been able to, and allows members of the community to share equipment that might otherwise lie fallow in a basement or garage.

In order to make this leasing process happen, we have established the following guidelines for leasing equipment to the space.


Our need for tools

We come across new tools by either

  1. researching the purchase of a new tool in response to some community need
  2. having someone present a tool for either lease or donation, or
  3. investigating an opportunity for a heavily discounted/limited availability tool

Assessing Need

The Facilities Manager takes point on assessing whether or not a tool would be appropriate, with input from other staff. If it's unclear as to whether or not a lot of people want to use it, we either survey the community ourselves or ask the person offering the tool to survey the community. The results of the community survey and the discussion are either 'no, this isn't a good fit' or 'tentatively yes, if the rest of the identification process shows that this tool makes sense for us.

More often than not, we then come up with a document showing income and expenses (including all consumables and spare parts that are expected to wear out, and regular maintenance that either we have to do or we have to hire someone to do) directly related to the specific tool in question. Sometimes, spare parts don't exist for older tools - this usually immediately disqualifies them, nowadays, as all of our tools show extremely heavy wear due to the high number of members each month who make use of them and we frequently need to purchase replacement parts. This matters less for smaller tools, and much more for larger tools like the new planer and CNC plasma cutter. This document will help us later figure out if the tool is deteriorating much faster than it should be, and will tell us how much money it costs us to keep the tool going.

Assessing Support

Testing, Training

Once acquired, we must create training and testing materials for the tool (as is absolutely required by our insurance), that are usually derived from both the tool's manual and the experience of professional users of the tool. These documents usually take on the order of 3-4 hours to generate for small tools like a power drill; they take on the order of 20-30 hours for a tool like the CNC plasma cutter or 3D printer. The process for creating the documents for larger CNC equipment involves running the tool continuously for some period of time in order to characterize its behavior. Sometimes, we have to have a series of classes leading up to the training in one particular tool (like offering CAM training before CNC router training), or we have to create long-form 4-session classes (like TIG welding and the Metalworking Intensive) in order to properly verify tool use.


If the tool requires additional infrastructure, such as ventilation or significant electricity, we have to contract licensed professionals to install such infrastructure. This often requires checking in with our landlord to let them know that we're adding infrastructure to the space.


We have to inform our insurance company that we have a new tool, and if it's of significant enough value (or hazard, as the case may be), provide them with our training and testing materials. They may respond with required changes to our testing and training procedures, or require that we put a camera up to watch a particular tool if it's of high enough value.


Once a training and testing program has been established, we then have to monitor the tool and make sure it's not degrading faster than expected. If it is, we have to diagnose the cause - sometimes we need to change training and testing requirements (and somehow communicate that to the dozens of people who may have already been trained in a way that's damaging the machine), and sometimes the tool needs further infrastructure that we were not aware of.

Lease Details

Are determined by the Facilities Manager and Tool Lessee on a case by case basis.

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