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FAQ

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Are we allowed to use the components at the electronics benches?Expand

Yes. Feel free to use any components in the space! But please put whatever you used back where you found it - or replace whatever you take.

Can I cut or engrave in color?Expand

Depends. The CO2 laser cannot colorize your workpiece - instead, they will burn your material in varying degrees of intensity. A color image will first be converted into grayscale, and the laser can burn with higher or lower intensity to create a darker or lighter effect.

The fiber laser can engrave in color on stainless steel. Depending on the frequency used will result in different colors being engraved. The material must be stainless steel.  No other material will produce a color engraving. 


Tags: Laser cutters
Can I engrave anything I want?Expand

Unfortunately not.  While it's impossible to have a cohesive universal "allowed" and 'not allowed' set of lists, there are some commonly used permitted materials and disallowed materials.  Caution must be taken when using unknown materials, as it may ignite, not cut, emit dangerous fumes, or cause other hazards.

Check the Reference Materials Chart here for a complete list of materials that can be used on our CO2 lasers. Always ask if you are unsure!


Tags: Laser cutters
Can I still use the Machine after my Reservation is overExpand

If the machine is available after your reserved time has elapsed, you may continue working as long as there are no others waiting to use the machine, but please cede time to others if you have exceeded 6 hours of use in that week.


Tags: Machine use, reservation
Can we borrow electronics equipment?Expand

No, we do not allow for any of our equipment to be borrowed.

Do I have to know how to use the equipment to use the space?Expand

We provide online Safety and Basic Use (SBU) Courses for all of our machines.  If you need further assistance after completing the course for the machine you are interested in, there's always someone here that can assist you with the equipment. Come visit the Makerspace to get started!

Do I have to supply my own materials to learn the machine?Expand

No. We will provide you with material to get you started on the machines during your initial test project. We usually have some scrap materials in most rooms left behind by others. If you have a particular project in mind though, it is best to supply your own materials or purchase them from our store (if available).


Tags: CNC Cutters, Laser Cutting, Framing
Do I have to supply my own materials?Expand

We have some material available for purchase in our store but if you have a specific project in mind, it is probably best to supply your own material.


Tags: Textiles, Laser Cutting, CNC Cutters
Do you offer official consulting services?Expand

Not for projects. Our staff will do their best to offer technical support on your project though.

If you are wanting help on building your own Makerspace, we do offer some consulting for that. Feel free to contact us for a tour and more information.

How do vinyl cutters work?Expand

Our CNC cutters take your vector image file and follow the paths, node to node, with a sharp razor blade that cuts your image out of the material. The vinyl, paper or similar material is first placed on a "sticky" cutting mat and then loaded into the machine. You then adjust the blade cutting depth in order to cut the material but not cut through the paper/plastic backing or the cutting mat holding the material in place.


Tags: CNC Cutters
How do we use the CNC mill?Expand

The first step is to take our online Safety and Basic Use course.  It can be found here

Once you have completed that training you are able to use the machines! You will need to use appropriate CAD software in order to design the 2D/3D image and save the file accordingly either as a .dxf. There will be some post-processing that has to be done to get the correct toolpaths built. Once this is completed, our staff can assist you in ensuring you have set up your material correctly to mill the design.


Tags: CNC Milling, Milling
How long can I use the laser for?Expand

While our usage expectations may change in the future, we currently ask that you not use the laser for more than three contiguous hours a day, and not more than six hours a week total.   Time spent learning how to use the laser will not count against that in any meaningful way, and if the laser is available, we're also likely to be flexible about usage.  Please be courteous to your fellow makers!


Tags: Laser cutters
I don't know how to solder, can I still use the electronics stuff?Expand

One of our staff members can assist in teaching you how to solder. If you have other questions for your projects, visit the space and we'll see if we can help. For step-by-step instructions on how to solder, check out our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on Soldering.


Tags: Electronics
I have experience with sewing machines. Can I just come in and use it?Expand

Yes. Please advice a member of our staff on your project before getting started. Most of the machines are top load sewing machines but we do have an older side loading one. Not all bobbins fit the same machines.  Also, it is advised to read the manual before using the machine to reduce the chance of injury to either yourself, other makers in the Makerspace, or the machine.


Tags: Textiles
I know how to use the equipment. Can I book time on a machine?Expand

If you have completed the SBU training for the machine you can use the following link to reserve a machine. The 3D printers are not self serve and can not be reserved.

I never used a sewing machine before, how do I learn?Expand

This is a big part of why we created our SBU trainings! We require them to be completed before most machines can be used.  They are a great starting place to familarize yourself with our equipment before coming in to use them.


Tags: Textiles
What can I do with 3D printing?Expand

Pretty much anything. 3D printing is used to prototype projects, replacement parts for equipment (we 3D print replacement parts for our 3D printers!), useful organizational items, toys, medical equipment/prosthetics. It's really only limited to your design capabilities (or someone else's if you download a file) and the printers size capability. Thingiverse has some really cool files created by others if you want to get ideas.


Tags: 3D Printing
What can I make at the Makerspace?Expand

Anything you want - as long as it's NOT:

  • Weapons or objects that can intentionally cause bodily damage
  • Drug paraphernalia
  • Production of items for profit

We've had people make rocket parts, motorcycle mods, custom PCBs, coasters, shoes, you name it!

What can I use to design 3D models?Expand

Any software that allows the user to save a 3D object in the STL format is suitable. For a more comprised list please visit the Resource page here.


Tags: 3D Printing
What is 3D printing?Expand

3D Printing is a method of additive manufacturing that utilizes various methods of depositing material layer by layer to "print" an object. Objects are constructed from 3D Models produced from Computer Aided Design (CAD) software or from 3D Scans of objects in the real world.

Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software converts the 3D model into a set of instructions that control the 3D printer to print the object. GCode is the name of the programming language that the instructions are written in for most 3D printers.

CAM software for 3D printers is referred to by the general term Slicing Software or Slicers, after the first widely available open source program, Slic3r. The term is also descriptive of what slicing software does, which is to create slices of the 3D model so that it can be printed layer by layer.


Tags: 3D Printing