Advice on a volunteer idea

This is the place where you can ask for or offer recommendations for event-related goods and services.
Post Reply
badandy
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:44 am
Burning Since: 2019

Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by badandy » Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:56 am

I am an engineer and routinely do troubleshooting on equipment including electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems, typically outside. I also have a lot of experience in finish carpentry and furniture building.

My idea is to be a mobile mechanic to assist those having trouble with their build during build week and also during the event. I would bring my tools and go around and help. I kind of did this at my first burn event (a regional) and am interested in making it a more organized effort. I have a mechanical engineer friend who is an experienced burner that is interested as well (I'm a chemical engineer).

I think I can bring the ability to work wood, metal, troubleshoot and make repairs on mechanical equipment, electric motors, LP systems, valves, etc. I could also bring some typical spare parts (solenoid valves, fittings, hinges, wire, etc.) and perhaps even a welder.

I would like to find out:

1. Is this a good idea?
2. Is there someone already doing it that I could connect with?
3. How would one approach the organization to obtain permission for this? Perhaps to bring a motorized cart and get in during build week?

User avatar
Sham
Moderator
Posts: 8491
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:10 am
Location: The hidden mythical place.....

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Sham » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:14 am

badandy wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 7:56 am
I am an engineer and routinely do troubleshooting on equipment including electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems, typically outside. I also have a lot of experience in finish carpentry and furniture building.

My idea is to be a mobile mechanic to assist those having trouble with their build during build week and also during the event. I would bring my tools and go around and help. I kind of did this at my first burn event (a regional) and am interested in making it a more organized effort. I have a mechanical engineer friend who is an experienced burner that is interested as well (I'm a chemical engineer).

I think I can bring the ability to work wood, metal, troubleshoot and make repairs on mechanical equipment, electric motors, LP systems, valves, etc. I could also bring some typical spare parts (solenoid valves, fittings, hinges, wire, etc.) and perhaps even a welder.

I would like to find out:

1. Is this a good idea?
2. Is there someone already doing it that I could connect with?
3. How would one approach the organization to obtain permission for this? Perhaps to bring a motorized cart and get in during build week?
Welcome badandy. For the most part, everyone who builds before and during the event is pretty resourceful. They all come with truckloads of tools and MacGyver spare parts. Most burners take pride in being able to swat any problem down with ease.
Still, extra help is always appreciated. I carry very basic tools with me during the week, and end up using them only a few times. My guess is, that if a vehicle has a breakdown, you most likely won't really be there to see it, and they won't be able to find you.
There is no permission required to do this---just bring some tools. A motorized cart would need to be approved by the DMV, and those are not given out easily to anyone.
My best suggestion would be to bring some basic repair tool--including a meter and an assortment repair parts. Make a tool bag for your bike and start your adventure in Black Rock City.

See you in the dust.

Sham....

User avatar
Molotov
Posts: 477
Joined: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:03 am
Burning Since: 2014
Camp Name: ESD Camp "The 'Burbs" 3:15 & D
Location: Land of Oz

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Molotov » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:17 am

Getting permission to use any non-pedal equipped transportation with more than 3 wheels may be problematic in trying to haul your gear around. So a golf cart or utility vehicle with no disability placard may be out.

User avatar
lucky420
Posts: 8756
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:47 am
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by lucky420 » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:43 am

I brought a plumbers wrench once
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

User avatar
Popeye
Posts: 749
Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 10:39 pm
Burning Since: 2013
Camp Name: Beaverton
Location: Where the east wind blows

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Popeye » Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:45 am

You might want to check in with BRC Welding and Repair. They do something like you are envisioning and might help.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do / with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver

User avatar
Elliot
Posts: 7755
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2005 8:41 pm
Burning Since: 2006

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Elliot » Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:02 am

Methinks it is a great idea. Though, I would start with a fixed location -- for the reason Sham stated; so people can find you. Word of your address will spread fast. But roaming around... you are nowhere.

Then add mobile service as a bonus feature -- making house-calls, one might say, when needed.

What I have done a bit of... is to use a pedal-powered vehicle. In 2009, I used a four-seat three-wheeled pedal-vehicle and carried bicycle tools and a compressed-air tank, and repaired bicycles when I occasionally stumbled across someone pushing their broken bike. But this proved inefficient -- I came across few customers.
Of course, the giant pedal-vehicle was not actually needed -- it was simply what I had. A regular one-person adult trike would probably serve you best. ...Unless you want to do portable welding.

Instead of roaming around... last year, my fixed-location bicycle service camp repaired 725 bikes. (I had help. ;-) )

And as the others mentioned, a motorized vehicle would have to be licensed by the BRC DMV. (Department of Mutant Vehicles).

Over the years, I have been "called out" for all sorts of problem-solving house-calls, such as opening a car trunk where the only car-keys were locked inside the trunk. (And the truck was full of luggage!)
And in camp, I am sometimes asked if we know someone who can repair... you name it.
If you want to bring a specialty... there may be some demand for aluminum welding.

The theme camp McGyver's Union is a "trade union" for repair camps of all stripes. So you might check in with them. (I can connect you, if you don't find them on the BM website.)

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 3743
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Canoe » Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:09 pm

Fixed camp, bike with trailer to respond, let people know you're available:
  • Playa Info notice board at Centre Camp
  • BMIR radio on the playa
  • bring cards with your camp name, scribble address, hand out to camps, art cars and others who may need later or get asked "where do I find" from others.
If you have someone at camp, perhaps radios for when you're out somewhere?
Or if one has a tool the other doesn't?

People tend to stage in parking lots in Reno prior to heading out to the opening night of BRC. I've had great fun hanging out there helping people fix last minute things before they can head out. Vehicles, trailers, lights, ... Get lots of thanks and "if you ever want a": tool, welder, meal, shower, etc., come see as at ___ & ___.
Gate opening is a little more fluid now, the huge staging crowds may be less.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
Lonesomebri
Posts: 2580
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2012 5:54 pm
Burning Since: 2018
Camp Name: CAMP THREAT
Location: NorCal

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Lonesomebri » Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:10 pm

Of course helping others is a great idea. If you are looking for an in, a way to attend and work before gate, the best way is networking. As you're doing here.

Build week is for particular projects, not general help. Entry is allotted to, say, camp builders or artists or perimeter, to accomplish that exact task prior to gate. So, offering to help in general isn't going to do it. Signing up with a particular camp or art group or Temple build can lead to being included in early build. Find an established group that will need your help. There are some great established camps. As an individual you aren't going to be asked to help by the Borg.

One year my chariot broke down 3 times and I hunted down all kinds of help on the playa. They didn't find me, I asked around and found them. Word of mouth, asking around, friends, small signs in front of a camps, and connections made right here on eplaya led me to BRC Welding and Repair, and a miracle solution to my problem.

It sounds like you have a skill set that could be useful to many projects. Finding that project/camp needing you should be your focus.

Check here, fb groups, jackrabbit speaks, regionals, blah blah blah

As an aside, have you ever been to the Burn?
Camp THREAT: Dominating the porta potties 3 years running.
"If this is the best of all possible worlds, what are the others?"
- Voltaire, Candide

User avatar
ygmir
Posts: 29386
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:36 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: qqqq
Location: nevada county

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by ygmir » Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:02 am

lucky420 wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:43 am
I brought a plumbers wrench once
so. many. choices.
YGMIR

Unabashed Nordic
Pagan

User avatar
motskyroonmatick
Posts: 1963
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 11:37 am
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: B.R.C. Welding&Repair
Location: Aurora Oregon

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by motskyroonmatick » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:13 pm

If you are a real HLF you will be in demand on Playa. First of all I believe you should follow your own vision of bringing your gift to light. I believe a mobile operation could work and I have considered one for my camp. Trouble is I don't think I could get an org issued driving pass for a mobile unit and I don't want to put in the effort of making a mutant vehicle that will pass DMV and Mayor camp at the same time. Camp comes first. We repair probably 75% bikes, 10% welding/fabrication, 5% consult, 5% Generators and 5% Mutant vehicle structure modification/repair.

If I were to do a mobile unit I would have a CB radio base station at camp and CB radio on the mobile unit. It's more fun than and likely more reliable than text. In theory you could set up a kiosk so people needing help could call you with the radio while you are out and you could keep a list of places you are needed. To get the message out I would use BMIR and Playa INFO. Also there is generally a list of repair centric camps put out by someone each year and this year it was one of my camp mates. It was very helpful for people searching for a neighborhood repair shop or specific need. You should be on that list... There will be an announcement on ePlaya asking for camps to be on the list.

Motz, Mayor of Black Rock City Welding & Repair
Black Rock City Welding & Repair. The Night Time Warming Station. iGNiTE! Bar.

Card Carrying Member BRCCP.

When you pass the 4th "bridge out!" sign; the flaming death is all yours.-Knowmad-

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8367
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:00 am

This idea has come up several times. People have submitted applications to the DMV for service vehicles, moop-collecting vehicles etc. and been denied driving licenses, because vehicles are licensed according to what they are, and not the owner’s intended use.
You can certainly do it and get a DMV permit, but the vehicle you do it with has to meet the same criteria as any other Mutant Vehicle.

I agree with Elliot, going mobile pretty much assures that you’ll be impossible to find.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
mgb327
Posts: 1083
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:20 pm
Location: Somerset, Va.

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by mgb327 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:16 am

ygmir wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:02 am
lucky420 wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:43 am
I brought a plumbers wrench once
so. many. choices.
I read that as "wench" and my mind began to wander.....
Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them’s making a poop, the other one’s carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?
" I am a controlled substance". Savannah.

User avatar
ygmir
Posts: 29386
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 8:36 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: qqqq
Location: nevada county

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by ygmir » Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:11 am

mgb327 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:16 am
ygmir wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:02 am
lucky420 wrote:
Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:43 am
I brought a plumbers wrench once
so. many. choices.
I read that as "wench" and my mind began to wander.....
Image
YGMIR

Unabashed Nordic
Pagan

User avatar
trilobyte
Site Admin
Posts: 16901
Joined: Tue Mar 02, 2004 10:54 pm
Burning Since: 2004
Camp Name: Eridu Society
Location: San Francisco
Contact:

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by trilobyte » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:13 am

It's potentially a great idea, but be careful. Going it alone the first time out may make your journey that much more difficult. I'd suggest perusing the listings of camps at past burns and find some of the groups that already do this kind of stuff (it's awesome, and massive thanks to the helpful people who gift their time and talents). Have a chat, and if there's a connection maybe consider joining them... think of it as a Dusty Apprenticeship :D

As others have suggested, going mobile further complicates things (since you're either pedaling or you need to build a mutant vehicle). Starting stationary, and working with an established group, will not only help you learn some best practices but also leave you more time to help people and enjoy your burn.

evathedefiler
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:17 am
Burning Since: 2018
Camp Name: Tacoma is for Lovers

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by evathedefiler » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:21 pm

ygmir wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 10:11 am
mgb327 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 5:16 am
ygmir wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 4:02 am

so. many. choices.
I read that as "wench" and my mind began to wander.....
Image
Someone said plumbing wench?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
Poke it with a stick!

User avatar
gaminwench
Posts: 2904
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:57 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: DOTA, EoD, OBOP, Destiny Lounge
Location: Shangri-la

Re: Advice on a volunteer idea

Post by gaminwench » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:35 am

*raises hand*

I'm a wench, and I have plumbing that enjoys being tended.

OP, I would think a mobile bike tech would get the most 'action' out on the playa amidst the Art. Maybe find an installation you enjoy and hang there for a bit, listening for squeaky chains and bearing grinds, as the folks approach. Then, you whip out your masterbike skillz, whilst they delight in the Art.

It's no fun finding oneself out deep playa and having bike issues that hinder one's return to the city.

Bless you, virgin.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

Post Reply

Return to “Recommendations”