Safety First

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The easiest way to sum up the issue of safety in our space is a simple question:

do you:

  1. want to look stupid (by having what you perceive to be a dumb question and asking it)
  2. or be proven to be stupid (by having what you perceive to be a dumb question, not asking it, assuming you can handle it, goofing it up, lighting something on fire, losing a finger, or some other act that could have been avoided had you chosen #1 instead.)

What we're here to do is cool. What we love to do is cool. It comes with inherent risk because we must use tools that are powerful to accomplish our goals. There's basic safety knowledge that if we follow, will keep us doing cool things. If we don't, it will only take one incident to take the fun out of it. We're smart people, so let's act like it, k? If in doubt about something, please consult others.

This page is here to start the conversation about our safety procedures, rules, practices, whatever you want to call them. This is a work in progress, so some sections are bare bones, please fill in with details as you see fit.

General Safety

Items for this section:

  • Waivers.
  • Acceptance of risk
  • Minors and permission of their guardian
  • Location of safety devices, Obvious markers for them.
  • Agreed methods of dealing with any of those that disobey the basic rules, and pose a hazard to the people, the tools and the 'space.
  • Safety Fund

Tool Safety

Skill determination

Items to be discussed for this section:

  • Skill rating system, something akin to the green/blue/black/double_black ski slope nomenclature
  • who is trained in the use of the tool, ask them to train you first
  • easier tools simply have a list of do's and don'ts, common sense stuff that is good to repeat for good measure
  • Three types of safety to consider:
    • Your own safety
    • The tool's safety - don't overload the tool, don't use it in inappropriate ways that will damage it, etc.
    • The safety of others around you - don't use a saw in a way that could throw something into someone if it catches, etc.

Incoming tool inspections

With all the new tools we have been getting, and may get as donations in the future, for the love of Pete, DON'T PLUG THEM IN YET. Please look over the tool, inspect it and have a second set of eyes look it over too. Remember, if you got the tool for cheap/free, there might have been a darn good reason for it. Don't become a victim, spare a few moments and spare an eyeball/finger/toe/life. Please doublecheck the following:

  • Are all the parts to it there?
    • If not, is it still considered to be in working condition if the missing parts are missing? No? STOP HERE.
  • If powered, is the source of power under control?
    • No frayed power cables, no loose connections
    • If electrical, does it have a fuse or power breaker?
    • No leaky pneumatics or hydraulics
    • No leaky/faulty propane/gas lines
    • If any of these exist, please STOP HERE. Determine if it can be fixed before proceeding to use.
  • Is there a clear way to stop the tool once in operation?
  • What else?

Specific Tool Guidelines, Teachers, Considerations

For now this is just an inventory of current tools:

  • drill press
  • hammer drill
  • regular drill
  • grinder
  • hot air gun
  • lathe
  • router
  • sander
  • band saw
  • Radial Arm Saw
  • table saw
  • soldering stations

Workspace Safety

Keeping spaces clear

  • Please don't just clean up your items, but also clean up the tools, and any detritus left from your work.
  • Don't just return your tools, maintain them. it's easier on a per use basis, rather than when it breaks down.

Site Safety

This includes topics related to lockup of the space, security, and protection of our stuff from external elements.

Undoubtedly, we might be getting the attention of others, given that we are beginning to gather tools in one place. While we shouldn't be paranoid, we do need to take some precautions to keep our stuff from walking off. Remember, we've worked hard to get what we have, be it paid for or scored by dumpster diving recycling or con artist persuasion skilz.

If you find yourself being the last person leaving the space at any time of day and locking up, please check that:

  • soldering stations are off
  • front door (facing south) is fully latched
  • food/drink cleared, closed, put away (to prevent mice/insect infestation)
  • lights, tv, any other non-essential equipment is turned off

Chemical Safety


Solvents and acids


We might need a storage cabinet. We need to also determine what can't be stored together, say, if the fumes react and cause problems.

Use, Fumes and ventilation

While using the chemicals, what safety do we need to consider? Containment? Even weaker acids pose problems. Do we need to build a fume hood?


Not down the sink!

First Aid

For basic first aid supplies, check under the bathroom sink and/or in the medicine cabinet.

Additional first aid supplies needed, TBA

Fire Safety

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