Frequently Asked Questions

Questions, frequently asked, frequently answered.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated: February 7, 2024

Phone: (669) 696-7297

Email: info [at] pawprintprototyping [dot] org

Location: 545 Aldo Ave #24, Santa Clara, CA 95054

What is a hackerspace?

A hackerspace (frequently also known as a makerspace) is a community-driven organization where people with common interests in computers, machining, technology, science, digital art, and more can meet, socialize, and collaborate. Hackerspaces are more than just a place for tools, they’re a place for building and fostering community, learning, and understanding of skills and technologies through knowledge sharing in the form of workshops, presentations, and lectures - a place for hackers come together to share resources and knowledge to build and make things.

What is Pawprint Prototyping?

Pawprint prototyping started the same way many hackerspaces do: as the dream of a couple of friends who wanted a laser cutter but didn’t have room in their apartment for one. We all happen to be furries, and were excited about the prospect of a space

The non-profit behind Pawprint Prototyping operates as a board of 5 hackerspace members, and we are financed completely by about 20 members and donations.

To our members: thank you for your participation and continuing support!

Are donations to Pawprint tax deductible?

Pawprint is an educational California non-profit corporation with 501(c)3 tax exempt status, so Contributions to Pawprint Prototyping are tax deductible to the fullest extent permitted by law. Whether or not your donation is deductible depends on your exact tax situation, so please ask your CPA or tax agent about these details. Please contact if you require documentation of your donation.

Are membership dues tax deductible?

Maybe - there are too many factors for a solid answer here, whether membership dues are deductible depends mainly on the amount of value you obtain from paying dues, and a slew of other factors. Please get in touch with your tax attorney to evaluate your situation in the context of your relation with Pawprint as a dues-paying member.

What are the benefits of being a member?

Dues-paying members of Pawprint receive a keycard to open the front door for 24/7 access to the space and its tools, as well as voting rights for passing motions.

How do I become a member?

Membership applications are accepted during our monthly general body meeting. Find a board member in a lab coat for a copy of the application, and they will walk you through signing up on our membership portal and paying dues. Becoming a member requires your membership application be signed by two board members, so come hang out and chat, the board may all be animals but we’re tame and docile creatures that have evolved beyond biting and flighty instincts.

Do I have to be a member to get involved?

Generally, everyone is welcome to attend any of the classes and member meetings advertised on our calendar. Some classes may have a registration fee to cover time and/or materials. Guests are also welcome for a tour or to use tools whenever the space switch status is set to “Open”.

Guests who have been trained to operate tools requiring a safety certification to use may do so under supervision of a member, but due to the associated operating expenses we suggest a donation as fair payment for machine time.

I’d like to work on the space itself, who should I ask before making changes?

Pawprint generally operates as a Do-ocracy. If you think it’d be cool to build something, re-arrange the furniture, or fashion a new tools bench, you should feel empowered do it! In particular, any change that takes less than an hour to undo, feel free to do it now and beg forgiveness later. Responsibilities attach to people who do the work, rather than elected officials. Some other guidelines for facilitating a functioning Do-ocracy:

  • Be accountable: if you’ve made a large change, it’s good to be accountable to those impacted by that change. Leave a note in Telegram, or use bluetape or a sticky note, to let people know you’re responsible for the change.
  • Get consensus for impacting changes: If you want to make sure it’s OK to make an impactful change, speak to people who are most likely to be impacted.
  • Be compassionate: Changes can sometimes make others irritated. Be patient and constructive in a discussion to arrive at an agreeable consensus.

Please also be mindful of equipment ownership. Some equipment is owned by the space, but many tools are colocated by members. Colocated tools can be distinguished by a blue sticker, and hopefully some hint as to their ownership. An excelent thing to do before making any major changes that might impact colocated equipment would be to get in touch with that tool’s owner first.

Other space eqipment, such as the laser cutter, may carry a “DO NOT HACK” designation. Please ask for help from an expert before modifying major tools (the laser is a popular one, significant downtime would be extremely unexcellent). It is important also to make sure modifications do not modify or bypass too many safety features.