Blog

Wood Shop

When is Wood Shop Orientation?

The FIRST FRIDAY of EVERY MONTH @ 8 pm.

I can’t make it to Wood Shop Orientation:  Normally we hold an orientation mid month. Watch the Email distribution list or digital white board in the wood shop or TC Maker calendar for dates.

Click Here For The Wood Shop Orientation Notes

What Tools do I need to get “Checked Out On” / Training Before I Can use them?

A few tools require training before use:

ToolHow to Get Checked Out
SawStop Table SawAttend Wood Shop Orientation
Grizzly PlanerAttend Wood Shop Orientation
Drum SanderEmail [email protected].
Grizzly and Jet LathesEmail [email protected].

There other tools in the shop which can be very dangerous if not used correctly.  General rule is if you don’t know exactly how to use something, ask someone or email [email protected] to schedule a training session.

Where Can I find Out What is Going on in The Shop?

To get the most out of our space, you will need to do some work to “clue into” what is going on!

You Can:

I noticed there is a Class/Event Going on in the Wood Shop – Can I work?

During classes/orientations, any work should be “No Noise” work.  Excess noise from orbital sanders, tables saws, etc. make it hard for the instructor to communicate.  Be Excellent, avoid making noise.

What Machines can I use with Reclaimed Wood?

Reclaimed wood is any material that has paint/finish on it – or any material which has had metal in it.

Simple Answer – DO NOT use any machine that you can’t hold in your hand.

If you think your reclaimed lumber deserves an exception – email  [email protected] for permission or clarification BEFORE use of any reclaimed lumber.

A tool I’m using isn’t working right, or is making a bizarre noise, what do I do?

Put an Orange “Borked” Tag on it – and Email [email protected] with what is going on.

Where Does Garbage Go?

We don’t separate wood scrap or dust from other garbage – as it all goes to the same big dumpster which is located outside to the right of the delivery doors in front.  

If you’d like to take  sawdust for your stoves – go for it!

Who takes care of fixing and preventative maintenance of all the Machines Working?

It is all of our responsibility to care for the tools we have, as this is our shop.

Every first Friday of the month from 6pm to 10 pm we close the shop to perform preventative maintenance on the machines. Everyone and anyone is encouraged to come help!  Don’t know how …not a problem – we’ll teach you!

If you’d like to adopt a tool and be its primary care-taker –  contact the wood shop manager – again – training can be provided!

How can I help?

Track down the wood shop manager, or email [email protected].  There are always projects, maintenance, administrative tasks, and other items that need doing to keep the place running!  No matter your interest or skill level, we can figure out something for you!

Shop Project List Located At:  https://tinyurl.com/ShopProjects

I don’t know how to use a certain machine.

That is the great thing about a community shop.  Either ask the peers around you or send an email to [email protected] to schedule training.

Do you have <insert tool here>? Where is <insert tool here>?

To answer this question either:

  1. Attend wood shop orientation
  2. Read the tool listing which is posted next to the wood shop stereo
  3. Take the time to open every drawer in the wood shop to see what we have (it’s fun…)

Please do not Ask the Wood Shop Manager, as they’ll ask you to reread this FAQ 🙂  

I’m interested in teaching a class.

Email [email protected] with your proposed class…we’d love to have you teach!

Metal Shop

When is Metal Shop Orientation?

Check our Classes Page for the next Metal Shop Orientation

I can’t make it to Metal Shop Orientation.

If this time doesn’t work for you email [email protected] to possibly arrange for a different time.

What Tools do I need to get “Checked Out On” / Training Before I Can use them?

ToolHow to Get Checked Out
WeldersEmail [email protected] or take one of our welding classes.
Plasma TorchEmail [email protected] or take the class.
Metal SawsAttend Metal Shop Orientation
Acetylene TorchEmail [email protected]
Drill PressAttend Metal Shop Orientation
Blacksmithing ToolsEmail [email protected]

Welding classes are offered at least once a month they are great way for beginners to get comfortable with welding. Check out our EventBrite page.

There other tools in the shop which can be very dangerous if not used correctly.  General rule is if you don’t know exactly how to use something, ask someone or email [email protected] to schedule a training session.

Where Can I find Out What is Going on in The Shop?

To get the most out of our space, you will need to do some work to “clue into” what is going on!

You Can:

I noticed there is a Class/Event Going on in the Metal Shop – Can I work?

Depends on the class, for instance during a welding class it would be acceptable to work in the blacksmith area or vice versa. The biggest thing is that you don’t interfere with the class. This means keeping the noise down. The instructor has the right to ask you to leave or stop what you are doing if they think it is interfering with their class

A tool I’m using isn’t working right, or is making a bizarre noise, what do I do?

    Put an Orange “Borked” Tag on it – and Email [email protected] with what is going on.

Where Does Garbage Go?

General garbage goes in the big red trash cans. Metal scrap goes into the green drums and our scrap guy will empty them when full.

If the red trash cans are full please empty them into the dumpster outside.

Who takes care of fixing and preventative maintenance of all the Machines Working?

In general, the shop managers deal with machine maintenance however items such as replacing empty gas bottles or replacing wire in the MIG welders can be done after you attended the metal shop orientation or received training from the shop managers.

How can I help?

Track down the Metal shop manager, or email [email protected].  There are always projects, maintenance, administrative tasks, and other items that need doing to keep the place running!  No matter your interest or skill level, we can figure out something for you!

I don’t know how to use a certain machine.

That is the great thing about a community shop.  Either ask the peers around you or send an email to [email protected] to schedule training.

Who pays for consumables?

Please look at the donation box for the recommended donations for welding time for different welding gases. Consumables such as drill bits and angle grinder wheels are not supplied by the shop. The propane used in the blacksmithing area must be paid for by the user, see the sign in the blacksmithing area for more details. Do not bring in personal propane tanks.

I need to store materials.

Metal storage is available on the rack. Use a green parking ticket to label your items and wrapping items such as lengths of angle iron together. It is also a good idea to write your name with a marker on items in case the green tag gets torn off. Talk to shop managers before bringing in materials that do not fit in the rack, we can help find space for such items.

I want to need to store a project that I am working on.

Talk to metal shop managers depending on the size of the project we can find space in the shop or member storage (with the member storage manager’s approval.

I want to bring in a tool or equipment.

If the tool lives in your member storage cubicle then there is no issue. Otherwise, talk to the metal shop managers before bringing in a tool or equipment. In general, tools and equipment that live in the metal shop need to accessible to all members (with appropriate training).

I’m interested in teaching a class.

Email [email protected] with your proposed class…we’d love to have you teach!

Machine Shop

Can I walk in and use the Big Machine Shop Machines (tools)?

If you’re “checked off”, yes; you’ll be issued a key that unlocks the power switch for the big tools. Otherwise, you must use them in the presence of the Shop Manager, either during his twice-weekly “help session” hours, or by appointment. For more details, inquire at [email protected].

How do I get “checked off”?

By demonstrating your proficiency to the Shop Manager.

Are the introductory classes a mandatory prerequisite for using these tools?

No.  If you’re already familiar with machine tools, you may forego these single-evening classes. If you’re not familiar with metal machining, we highly recommend them; they’re a good way to get a running start.

Do I need to bring my own cutters, measurement tools and safety glasses, etc.?

Not necessarily. The shop endeavors to have a reasonable facsimile of everything you need to do basic machining, but if you’re serious about turning your own metal we recommend you purchase and bring your own cutters (particularly for the mill). If you plan to cut hard steels or exotic hard materials (see next FAQ), you MUST use your own cutters.

What materials can I cut in the Machine Shop?

If you’re using the Hack Factory provided cutters, plastic, aluminum, bronze, brass, and mild steel are fine. If you really must cut hardened steel, stainless steel, spring steel, titanium and other hard metals on the mill and lathe please do so ONLY with your own cutters. If you HAVE to use the band saw to cut hard metal, please leave a note indicating the event so we can check the blade for sharpness and replace it if necessary. If you kill a blade, we’d love it if you’d replace it. Again, we’re about getting things done. Sh!t happens. We know this.  But if we all work together as a community, we can keep the good stuff going strong!

Is there a stash of raw materials available for the community use?

As described just above, we’re a “can do” place, so of course there is! We have a motley but often useful assortment of long(ish) pieces on the wheeled stock rack, and several cabinets filled with flat stock, screws and bolts, and various bits and pieces that might be exactly what you need. Feel free to browse. If you use the last or nearly last of something… please note it on the whiteboard or send an email to mac[email protected]

If I “break” a tool, or discover an “issue” with one, what should I do?

Please please PLEASE report it to [email protected] …we promise not to bite your head off, but we really DO need to know when (and ideally how) things go wrong. If the tool is unusable, please tape a “Borked or Broken” slip  to it (these slips are available at the doorway to the wood shop).

I notice the shop needs or is out of (insert item(s) here). What should I do?

Drop us a line at [email protected].

I’d like to donate a tool or two to the machine shop. What should I do?

First, put on your halo. If the tool is small, drop it in the appropriate toolbox drawer and let us know so that we may thank you enjoy the benefits of your generous contribution! If it’s larger than a breadbox, please send us an email first; since our space is limited, we may not be able to field all donations. Also, you can make a wish come true by perusing our Amazon “Hack Factory Wish List” and purchasing an item or two for us! (google “hack factory wish list” to get there.)

Laser

Who can use laser?

The laser cutter can be used by any properly trained members of TC Maker. You must be trained and an active member to use the laser cutter.

Is it first come first serve?

No, because of the popularity of this tool, we employ a scheduling system so members can complete long running jobs without being hassled.

How much does it cost to user the laser?

We ask members to donate $5/hour for using the laser. This goes to paying for the laser’s upkeep.

When is Laser Cutter Orientation?

The laser cutter orientation for the large laser is run 2-3 times a month on Wednesday from 7 to 8 pm in the laser cutter room. Please sign-up in Eventbrite as space is limited.

I can’t make it to Laser Cutter Orientation.  

We run orientation nearly every week or every other week,  please wait for the next event if you can’t make the current one.

How do I reserve the laser?

If you have been trained, than you can follow these instructions.

What materials can I use in the laser?

This is covered in training, there are a number of banned and acceptable material. The most popular materials people use the laser for is wood and acrylic.

How can I get trained on the small (Epilog) laser?

Because the Epilog uses very archaic software we currently require one on one training. I have been staying after the normal class on Wednesday’s (after 8) to run people though using the Epilog. Please mail [email protected] to schedule this training.

What Tools do I need to get “Checked Out On” / Training Before I Can use them?

ToolHow to Get Checked Out
Full Spectrum LaserAttend Wednesday Orientation
Epilog LaserRequest Wednesday One on One training at [email protected].

Where Can I find Out What is Going on in The Shop?

Check out the Full Spectrum reservation calendar. Also keep an eye on the main blog. Laser outages usually warrant a front page post.

Something is not working on the laser, what do I do?

Put an Orange “Out of Order” Tag on it – and Email l[email protected] with what is going on.

We highly prefer that people default to putting the laser ‘Out of Order’ instead of trying to fix a non obvious problem as the laser has some very sensitive sub systems. When in doubt, put it out! (of order).

Where Does Garbage Go?

Into the dumpster on the side of the building. Please empty the bins if they are full.

How often is the laser maintained?

We try to clean the laser weekly on Wednesday evenings, though sometimes this does not happen due to scheduling conflicts.

There is a sheet next to the computer in the laser room to indicate the last time the laser was cleaned.

Who takes care of fixing and preventative maintenance of all the Machines Working?

Right now the shop manager is responsible for maintaining the Laser. If you would like to help maintain the laser you will have to be trained and commit to cleaning it from time to time, but help would be greatly appreciated! Please contact [email protected] if you would like to be a laser ‘intern’.

Electronics

What components are available to use?

Any resistor, capacitor, diode, wire, solder, etc. in the electronics area that isn’t tagged by another member can be considered fair game.

What if there are some components/ equipment we don’t have that I think would be useful to add?

Email [email protected] and the shop manager may be able to help.

Is there anything we could run out of that the shop manager keeps in stock normally?

Yes. We should always have solder available, and if we run out please notify the shop manager at [email protected] to restock.

Do I need training / get “Checked Out” for any of the tools in electronics?

While no training is required to use the electronics equipment, you should generally not use any equipment that you aren’t familiar with. Electricity being, you know, not always electrifying in the good sense.  Ask another member or email [email protected].

A tool I’m using isn’t working right, what do I do?

Put an Orange “Borked” Tag on it – and Email [email protected] with what is going on.

How can can I find about what’s going on with Electronics /Group Projects?

Check out the TC Maker Facebook page or view our calendar.

Can I start a group project?

Definitely. Organize with peers or simply let [email protected] know and the shop manager can help get the word out.

How can I help?

Track down the electronics shop manager, or email [email protected].  There are always projects, maintenance, administrative tasks, and other items that members can contribute their talents.

I’m interested in teaching a class.

Email [email protected] with your proposed class…we’d love to have you teach!

CNC

What CNC machines do you currently have for use?

ToolSize of Bed
Shapeoko290 mm X 290 mm (11.5 in X 11.5 in)
Maslow CNC (Future)4 ft x 8 ft

Both machines require users to be trained and checked out on them before their use.

The head of the Shapeoko is driving itself into the bed, or the X or Y axes are moving off the Sides of the platform, or the Shapeoko is making bad noises! What do I do?

Immediately Turn off either the ‘Drive’ or ‘E-Stop’ Button. This will stop the head from moving. Then, gently rotate the metal cylinder under the motor clockwise until the head is cleared from the bed. Check your file/gcode to see why it drove the head into the bed.

Please note that the Shapeoko does not have limit switches! It will not automatically know it is about to crash into the sides or bottom of the machine.

The machine won’t turn on/move/work. What do I do?

Put an orange “Borked” tag on the machine with a description of what happened. Then email [email protected] and to let us know what is happening with the machine.

Can I cut “X” material on the machine?

Chances are that yes, you can. Keep in mind this is not a massively powerful machine, harder materials might not work on the Shapeoko. If you haven’t cut a material with this machine before, watch over a test cut to verify that it won’t harm the machine.

I need a cutting head for the Shapeoko machine. Where can I get one?

Currently we do not provide cutting bits for the machine. However, Dremel/hand tool bits are the correct size and can be easily gotten from hardware stores.

I’m interested in helping out more with the CNC department. Who can I talk to about helping?

Reach out to one of the managers of the CNC department, or email [email protected]. Please do so as well if you have questions about the department or our machines.

3D Lab

The 3D Lab contains all of our various 3D printers.

When is lab orientation?

The first Wednesday at 8pm and the third Saturday at 9am of every month.

I cannot make that time. Is there another way to get trained?

Absolutely. Just email [email protected] and we can work out a time to get you trained.

What tools in the lab need training to use?

All of them. 3D printers have a lot of moving and, frankly, dangerous parts. Even if you are a seasoned 3D printing veteran you still need to go through orientation to make sure you know the ins and outs of our particular machines.

A machine is broken. What should I do?

Clogged nozzle? Something making a bad sound? Things happen. Please label the machine with an orange “Borked” tag and email [email protected] with what is happening so we can get it up and running again.

Can I use my own filament in the lab machines?

Absolutely. You are free to use your own materials in the lab printers whenever you like but there are a few ground rules.

  1. Unload and store the filament that was loaded into the machine properly
  2. When you are done using the printer reload the material that was in the printer before
    you started.
  3. Common materials, such as PLA, ABS, and PETG feel free to use any time. If you want
    to use something out of the normal just send us an email at [email protected] first.

How do I use <insert machine name here>?

Orientation. Or, If you have already been through orientation and this is some new arrival, track down a 3D Lab manager or email us at [email protected] and we can set up a time to get you checked off on the new equipment if it needs special training.

Who takes care of the lab’s machines?

It is everyone who uses the 3D printers responsibility to maintain the machines. This is a shared work space and these are shared tools that we all need to care for. The 3D Lab managers will do routine maintenance as needed and deal with major issues as they arise but everyone is allowed and encouraged to help out.

How can I help out?

Talk to one of the 3D Lab managers or email us at [email protected] There are always projects that need to get done. If you want to help out we would love and be grateful for any assistance.

Can I teach a class of some kind in the 3D Lab?

Email [email protected] and cc [email protected]. We would love to hear what you have to teach and help you make it happen.

How can I stay up to date with all the latest 3D Lab news?

Sign up for the Slack and/or mailing list.

How do I contact you?

The Slack channel or by email at [email protected].

Artifactory

Located in the basement of our workshop, The Artifactory is a space for sewing, leatherworking, and other forms of crafting.

What is an Artifactory?

In its current state it is a “room of requirement” and is set up for sewing and large-format printing. Under new management means new ideas and I’ll be changing the space. Updates soon to come!!

When is Artifactory Orientation/office hours?

Please contact [email protected] for office hours or orientation.

I can’t make it during that time, how can I get help?

Send and email to [email protected], There are a few of us taking on the mantel of “artifactory management” and someone may be available a different day or time. We may also be about to guide you over email correspondence with words/videos/illustration/etc. or direct you to another member that is knowledgeable/willing to help.

Where Can I find Out What is Going on in The Shop?

Oh so many ways!

  • The White Board in the fiber room
  • The Calendar
  • Follow the Twin Cities Maker Facebook Page
  • Once we start classes and events down there you can look for Class Registration, visit our Eventbrite Page and an email newsletter will be created.

I noticed there is a Class/Event Going on in the Artifactory- Can I still work in the space?

With the spaces being so small, if you can wait please do. If you have a super tight deadline and limited time to get work done please work small and work quietly. People in the class have invested time and money and deserve us being excellent to them.

Something is broken! I did(n’t) do it!?

Put an Orange “Borked” Tag on it – and Email [email protected] with what is going on. Do your best to explain all the weird things it was doing when it broke, sounds/actions/smells… everything.

What is garbage, and what is shareable scraps?

Any fiber smaller than 1 yard by 1 yard is trash, if you too have a hard time tossing materials you can keep it in your own storage space. Any fiber 1 yard by 1 yard or bigger than you want to donate can be folded and placed with the other free for all fabric. If leaving free for all fabric please label it with size, material type, or anything else you know about the fiber to help other makers identify it with out pulling it out and making a mess.

Where Does Garbage Go?

There is a big ol’ dumpster which is located outside to the right of the delivery doors in front. Little bits can go in the small can in the room but if that can is full be a pal and take it to the dumpster please.

Who takes care of fixing and preventative maintenance of all the Machines Working?

It is all of our responsibility to care for the tools we have, as this is our shop. If you know how to fix or maintain something Please Do! If you don’t know how but wanna help then come see me during office/help hours I can show ya what I know!

I’m interested in teaching a class.

Email [email protected] with your proposed class…we’d love to have you teach!

What Changes are coming to the Artifatory?

I’d like to introduce clay and small metals to the TCMaker community and turn the artifactory into a small crafts space. If you have interest in using or learning these types of spaces shoot an email to [email protected] and let me know! The more interest out there, the better the pitch to the board!!

Our Workshop

Here’s a floor plan of our workshop as of May 2019.

Our shop is divided into areas, and each area is governed by one or more area managers. See the rest of the pages in this section for information about each area.