Towards an updated layout of SF

Hi all,

A new machine — the Kniterate (for details, ask Pat) — will soon be added to the Starship Factory. Its dimensions (including access area) are approximately 3x2m.

As there is no obvious place for this machine within the current SF layout, we’ll need to update the layout to accommodate the machine. While doing so, let’s make things a bit more practical, in the following sense:

  • Grouping machines by theme. In other words, a textile corner (Kniterate, Brother VR embroidering machine, T-shirt press), laser corner (“Death star”, xTool, laser engraver), updated FFF- and SLA 3D-print and 3D-scan area, including all filament and resin, CNC corner with the Carvera and perhaps the 5-axis mill, …

  • More space for members to (temporarily) store their personal projects. Dedicated shelves — and tops of shelves — would be great. Boxes belonging to former/inactive owners could perhaps be placed on shelves in the corridor outside the SF.

To help with an updated layout, I made a simple sketch of the current layout, here attached as SVG file (right-click → Save image as…). Using Inkscape, Illustrator or another vector editor, you can easily move shelves/machines/… around in the search for an updated layout. Please download it, play with it, and don’t hesitate to share your results!


Thanks for the layout, Peter. It is always good to think about how to improve. In my view, the current layout is acceptable, but not ideal. I am convinced we can make better use of the space.

Is installation of the Kniterate already decided? I understood your notes from the last plenum differently. We first need to find a space (if possible) and there were concerns regarding noise. Have these been addressed?

As mentioned on Signal. To better make use of available space I would suggest to move software people like me to the central table and leave the wooden tables beneath the windows for the makers and their machinery. The only thing to to here would be to get some electricity to the central table.

A few more thoughts from my end. In my view, most important would be to +/- agree on the objectives before starting the layout optimization exercise. Here is my view:


  • Improve space utilization to
    • create space for temporary storage of personnel belongings (one small box per member)
    • improve accessibility of equipment
    • increase number of available desks/work places
    • create space for one additional (large) machine (e.g. knitting machine)
  • Group equipment functionally where possible (e.g. laser cutters/engraves, textile corner, etc.)


  • The laser cutters/engravers need to be located close to the windows to enable release of their exhaust fumes.
  • Desks/work places should remain near the windows to maximize use of natural day light.


  • We have lots of shelve space, which is currently occupied by lots of stuff that we possibly no longer need (e.g. old 3D printers).
  • If nobody is interested in putting the 5-axis CNC machine to use then we should probably return it to its owner or at least mothball the machine and store it somewhere else.
  • Required materials should be stored tidily next to the machines (e.g. in shelves under the table at the window).
  • We do not fully leverage on the high ceiling yet. Installing higher shelves would generate additional storage space.
  • Whatever we do, it should not cost much but make best use of available resources.

For clarification:

  • What is the footprint of the knitting machine?

And here is a first layout proposal:

SF layout - Stupid variant 1

I had a short discussion with Claudius on Friday about how to improve the space utilization. One I idea was to reduce the number of shelves in the 3D printer corner from three to two shelves only.

At the moment, one shelve is completely occupied by the plotter and plastic film rolls.

My impression is that the plotter has not been used in months, if not years. Besides, we now have the xTool, which can cut adhesive foil as well and is probably a lot more convenient to use. The working area is smaller, but sufficient for textile work.

So, how about returning the plotter, getting rid of the very long rolls, improving the overall arrangement in that corner and taking out one row of shelves? Here is the corresponding layout:

SF layout - Stupid variant 2

The space between the door and the 3D printer shelve could be used for a larger machine, such as the kniterate and the 5-axis CNC machine could stay where it currently is.

Thanks for those two potential layouts Bernd! I see some interesting suggestions. Two comments —

  1. Regarding the 5-axis CNC, Max has recently tried to connect to it, but I don’t know whether there will be follow-up attempts. Once Fusion is running properly, there might be more motivation to get the machine up and running again. In addition, as I understood from Claudius (I think), the person who brought in the machine has since passed away.

  2. Regarding the plotter, it is occasionally used, but definitely not often. The last time I saw it in use was a few months ago, when someone (Tobi?) used it for some decoration on a cloth bag.

The second layout proposal has enough space for the 5-axis CNC and another machine. I agree that it would be cool to have the 5-axis CNC up and running. It just requires some dedication from an engaged team member. Let us talk to Max and see whether he is motivated to take care of the CNC machine.

Regarding the plotter: I think we should maintain the capability to cut adhesive foil for textile work. I was just wondering whether the xTool would be sufficient for that. Can someone confirm that the xTool is capable of cutting foil for textile prints?

Btw, the plotter belongs to Caoimhe. We could ask her to pick the plotter up or, alternatively, sell it in her name if she has no use for it.

I have uploaded the designs to, an open-source tool that is commonly used for prototyping apps or websites collaboratively. For me it’s easier to work this way. Please PM me via Signal if you need an invitation

PS: Here’s the prototype to click through

(I have just copied the last suggestion from Bernd for now, trying to structure & understand everything.)
What are the yellow boxes in the upper right corner @langweiler ?

Die gelben Boxen stehen für die Kallax-Regale von Ikea (siehe erste Zeichnung von Pieter).

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One more alternative, grouping the machines as much as possible and preventing “dead” corners. It also takes into account some space for a laptop near each machine. Drawback is that it would require a bit of carpentry…


Looking at the proposed layouts, they have at least one thing in common — merging the IVAR cabinets in the top-left corner, and potentially getting rid of the KALLAX cabinets (e.g. through Ricardo if there’s no owner who wants them back).

A logical first step would therefore be to sort the existing stuff stored in the top-left corner, followed by moving the IVAR cabinets in place. However, we currently don’t have an IVAR corner post (Eckpfosten) for the corner shelves. In addition, we currently only have two such shelves (Eckregalboden). Bernd has indicated he might get these from IKEA.

Next, we should decide on the location of the Kniterate. In the Plenum from the 10th of October, two positions were suggested:

  1. The long side parallel to the windows, placed somewhere within the “open space” as partially bounded by the (updated) IVAR cabinets (i.e. more or less like the blue dashed rectangle in my previous post/layout, potentially grouped w/ the other textile-related machines)
  2. The short side parallel to the windows, placed approximately at the current location of the 3D printers

With regard to the 3D printers, we have several suggestions. What they have in common is to group both machines and material (i.e. filament, resin, …) as much as possible. I thought we could combine this with the electronics corner, but that’s of course open for discussion :).

Finally, we’ll need to take a closer look at both the laser corner and CNC corner. The former has restrictions w.r.t. ventilation, the latter is influenced by the choice whether we’ll keep the 5-axis CNC or not. I’d propose to set up a small “task force” for this CNC — I’d be happy to look at using Fusion 360 to generate the tool paths (software), which leaves the task of checking connectivity/operabililty of the machine (hardware).

Hooray, we’re slowly converging on an updated layout! Following the discussion from the latest SF meeting (10 October), we had a workshop/discussion earlier this morning (22 October) to agree on the overall layout. For now, we focused on the “top left” corner (textile and storage) and “top right” corner (3D-printing, storage and server). The updated sketch below contains some more information, as well as some suggestions/comments (numbers matching the numbers in the sketch).


1.) The health hacking stuff is currently stored in a white cabinet — what will happen with the contents? Briefly discussed w/ Pat, but I forgot the details. Sorry!

2.) There is a cart with boxes containing welding materials (Pat). These might — eventually — be used for a small-ish plasma cutter, but we probably won’t be able to use that in the SF space (visible/invisible radiation, noise, smell). There might however be other options (previous short discussions w/ Claudius and Mike from the Werkstatt).

3.) The current plan is to place the large FFF 3D-printer in a metal shelf. However, for this updated orientation we lack two metal posts. Thinking this over a bit more, what if we put the printer on a cart instead (e.g. the one previously used for the T-shirt press)? This would require less space, and fix the post problem :).

4.) There is quite a bit of space left in this corner, currently taken up by the plotter and associated materials, as well as the server, 2D printers/scanners and related stuff. Whether or not to keep the plotter is an ongoing discussion (AFAIK). Regardless, there are some shelves available to store other related materials here.

Not indicated by a number — Claudius, where would you like to move your working space? You mentioned the option to keep it mobile somehow, but I currently don’t really see how that would work… Detach part of the long table along the windows and make it movable somehow?

Finally, another ongoing decision is what to do with the 5-axis CNC mill. I’m currently looking into using Fusion 360 to generate toolpaths, it would be great if someone else can resume looking at the hardware side of things (see also my previous post). For now, I’ve virtually (i.e. in the sketch) placed it on the glass table (possibly making the cart available for the large FFF printer).

Ich habe nach geeigneten Arbeitstischen gesucht.

Kriterien waren:

  • wenn möglich Direktlieferung zu uns (=> tendenziell CH-Anbieter)
  • hält mindestens 500kg aus
  • Breite mindestens 155cm
  • Tiefe mindest 68cm
  • Idealerweise gemäss Vertrag etwa 160x80cm

Nachdem ich verschiedene Baumärkte ohne Erfolg durchsucht habe, bin ich dank einem Kollegen schliesslich bei folgenden Modellen eines CH-Anbieters für Profis gelandet:

Hätte irgendjemand mit den neuen Massen ein Problem?
kniterate2.pdf (156,0 KB)

thanks for your efforts pieter!

@3) i already have the posts… so let’s stick to the plan?

Claudius Röthlisberger
Klybeckstrasse 141 K102
4057 Basel

Tel: +41 79 316 20 72
Nachricht von Pieter Barendrecht via Starship Factory am Oct 22, 2023, 11:49 PM +0200:

Ideal finde ich das nicht. Die zusätzlichen 40 cm machen den Durchgang vor den Regalen sehr eng (Meiner Meinung nach zu eng). Natürlich könnte man den Tisch weiter rechts platzieren, aber dann fehlt der Platz vor den Druckern.

Allgemein täuscht der Eindruck auf den Zeichnungen. Das ganze mag “luftig” aussehen, aber tatsächlich ist ein Abstand von 100 cm nicht besonders grosszügig. Diesen sollten man meiner Meinung nach als Minimum anstreben.

Ich hatte es schon im Chat geschrieben: Claudius hat vorgeschlagen, das Gestell des grossen Glastisches zu halbieren und zwei Tische daraus zu machen. Meiner Meinung nach könnte das eine gute Lösung sein, falls sich tatsächlich in der Schweiz kein passender Tisch für die Kniterate finden lässt.

Option 6: to build recks infront of the door. Is this wanted?

Option 7: dont know where to else to put it. Sell and throw away all material related to the biohacker corner.

Option 8: Sell and throw away all T-Shirts.
They have been much less in use than the material related to the biohacker corner and take up much more space.

Hey Pat, I guess you have hard feelings about Option 7 and 8 lets discuss it face to face next time we see each other or in the Plenum. It was just a proposal from my site when I was navigating through the SF. Have a good weekend anyways :wink: Max

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Wenn man den Tisch weiter rechts platziert (=> 1m Durchgang) dann wäre dieser bündig mit dem Mülleimer. Es wären rechts etwa 35cm weniger Platz zu den Druckern. Also knapp unter 145cm statt 1.8m

kniterate3.pdf (168,6 KB)