Introduction: SLO MakerSpace Basic Safety

About: SLO MakerSpace offers tools, training, and consultation services that enable community members to experiment with and master a wide variety of Maker skills. We are dedicated to the following values: Commun…

Every new member of SLO MakerSpace, must first take the free Basic Safety class and pass the test.

We cover a lot of information in our 90 minute tour, but don't be intimidated. Everyone forgets a few things. If you forget how to use a tool weeks later, please ask us. We will be happy to show you again.

Build, learn, hack, and be safe!

Disclaimer: This Basic Safety guide does not cover every eventuality, does not in any way guarantee safety, and cannot replace common sense when dealing with all tools.

Step 1: First Things First . . .

General items:

  1. Waivers must be signed for all involved parties (link)
    1. Adult signatures for minors is required
  2. The makerspace is a community of workers and makers, often times the people next to you may require your help, or you may require theirs. Therefore, we always encourage the habit of getting to know one another.
  3. This brings us to one of the most important aspects of this safety introduction: ALWAYS ask questions!
    1. Questions help everything run smoothly. They keep the shop safe, tools in use, and all members healthy.
    2. Never be afraid to ask questions!
  4. The Worktraders and shop managers are here to help!
  5. Gurus - Each specific zone has its own “gurus” who know all the ins and outs of different machines and processes. They are the perfect resource for any project, and can be contacted at their designated guru night. All of this information is available at
  6. Finally, when each of you sign up to be members, you received a digital copy of our shop safety manual (linked here), on which this test is based. This manual is also available online and at the public computer on the front desk. Within it is specific instructions for each tool we have in the shop. USE IT!!

Member Rights and Responsibilities:

Please review the Membership Agreement here, which also contains the Rights and Responsibilities. As you all are soon to be new members it is important that we discuss the rights and responsibilities of all members. This is what you can expect from the maker space, and what we expect of you.

  • You have the right to a safe work environment.
    • This means being safe yourself and keeping an eye out for the safety of others. Safety is everyone’s concern, and we all have to work together to address unsafe situations at all scales.
  • This goes hand in hand with two of your other responsibilities:
    • You have the responsibility be safe.
    • You have the responsibility to report misconduct
  • You have the right to free scrap. The makerspace gets a lot of donations and it is the right of our members to have access to these scraps. Community materials are stored in various places throughout the shop. Always double check for labels, signs, and makerspace employee before just taking.
  • You have the right and responsibility to a clean shop
    • This means putting your tools away where you got them, taking your projects home, and cleaning up whatever dust, scrap, fluids, and parts that you were working with.
  • Leave the shop better than you found it!
  • You DO NOT have the right to use a piece of equipment whenever you wish
  • Prescheduled classes, courses, guru hours, and reservations ALWAYS take precedent over the rights of the users!

Step 2: Clean Up

Before leaving the MakerSpace there are certain things that you MUST do.

    - Make sure all of the machines and equipment you used are OFF and disengaged.

    - For machines with specific settings, or bits, always make sure to return it to the setting easiest for the next user to adjust. Often this means removing your bit and returning it to storage.

    - Return all of your tools to their proper locations.

    - Clean your work areas. Organize, dust, sweep, and vacuum your work pieces, surfaces, and areas. We encourage the state park mantra: "Leave it better than you found it."

    You are NOT allowed to leave your project out!

    However, if you have glue or paint drying on a project, you may leave it in the shop overnight. Take a blank piece of paper from the front desk or check the printer trays. Write your name, contact info, the day you are leaving the project, and the time tomorrow you will pick it up. Set this note by your project.

    If a project is found at a crafting station or table with no note, and nobody present in the shop claims ownership, then the project becomes scrap. DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR PROJECT! Take it home or label it.

    If you are the last person to leave:

      - Turn out all the lights (except the ones that we label to leave on).

      - Check the back door to the alley. If it is open, clear anything away from underneath the door, then hit the "CLOSE" button on the wall.

      - Check the two front doors to the shop. Make sure they are both latched.

      Clean up and care for the shop is important! Your membership will be suspended and revoked for negligence in cleaning and care for the shop, so always respect for the shop and respect for your fellow makers.

      Step 3: Injuries and Hazardous Material


      If a SERIOUS injury should occur, the uninjured person must

      1) Turn off all tools and equipment.

      2) Dial 911 by cellphone (we do not have a landline). Walk to the front desk. Our address is posted on the wall by the computer monitor so you can tell them how to find us. We are at

      81 South Higuera St.

      Pacific Coast Center - NorthEast Corner


      3) Notify everyone on both sides of the MakerSpace that there has been an accident. Everyone must stop working on their projects until the situation is resolved.

      4) If necessary, you may administer first aid yourself. In the hallway we have instructions posted for four common types of workshop injuries (at other people's workshops, not ours). They will explain how to tend to a severed finger, or impalement, or blunt force trauma, or severe burn. You can review this article at Our white first aid kit box is located in the woodshop. Stand in the center of the room and look South. You will see it on the wall about waist-level.

      Fortunately, we have never had a serious injury in our 3 years of operation. We aim to keep it that way!

      However, minor injuries, such as little cuts, scrapes, bruises, burns, are an inevitable part of Maker life. When this happens, PLEASE TELL US. Don't be shy. We won't ban you. Injuries can happen even when you follow the rules. We won't make fun of you (at least not to your face). We won't think you're a wimp for telling us. We need to know about your injuries so we can decide if we need better guards, or warning signs, or better safety instructions. This information is useful to us. Report injuries.

      Hazardous Material

      While most materials one might purchase from typical hardware stores are acceptable, we must always heed safe work practices at the Makerspace.

      When these cannot be found on the side of the product they can often be found in the form of an MSDS, or Material Safety Data Sheet -this discusses everything from material composition to safe work practices -if you have a Hazardous or potentially Hazardous Material you wish to use at the MakerSpace, bring its MSDS and discuss it with the shop manager or a worktrader. Usually we will be able to accommodate your request

      Step 4: Sewing

      The sewing machine operates on a similar principle to saws. Both operate on a plane of action.

      However, with the sewing machine, it also mechanically pulls the material through with a mechanism below the foot.

      Always be very cautious of the plane of the needle. Keep your hands out of the plane and be cautious of the material moving through the machine.

      Be very careful when threading the needle or dealing with the bobbin.

      ALWAYS unplug the machine before doing anything in these areas, it is a very dangerous place for fingers when the machine is operating.

      Most modern machines will allow you to unplug just from the back of the machine, making this step especially easy.

      Step 5: Electronics Station

      The electronic station is a wonderful resource in the MakerSpace where members can tackle a variety of

      electronic projects.

      Soldering allows one to physically and electrically connect two metal nodes with solder, a combination of metals that melts at low temperature.

      Use solder with lead. Lead-free solder melts at temperatures hotter than our soldering irons can attain.

      Heat guns apply concentrated heat to help loosen parts or activate heat shrink. Heat shrink contracts around a soldered connection, acting as insulation. It is like electrical tape. However, it has the advantage that it cannot be pealed off on accident.

      Always treat the soldering irons and heat guns as if they are HOT! When you arrive at the station, you do not know how recently someone may have used these tools.

      -they can both cause severe burns, so it is important to be vigilant and not lay the tools out or reach for them indiscriminately. ALWAYS unplug them after use!

      NEVER solder on plugged in electronics.

      Even unplugged electronics are not guaranteed to be safe. Batteries and capacitors function to store energy and can still provide dangerous shocks. Always understand and be conscious of what you’re working on!

      Step 6: Clay Room

      -When using the clay room at the MakerSpace there are a few basic safety concerns, along with habits all

      users must follow.

      -first, always obey the specific instructions for our clay room when dealing with raw clay, storage, and waste.

      -these instructions are clearly posted to the walls, with specific questions to be directed to Sara, our clay guru

      -additionally, we have basic instructions online and in the room concerning throwing for beginners

      -safety in the clay room centers around the clay wheel

      -always tie back long hair, necklaces, hoodie strings, ect

      -always keep your hands firmly on the workpiece while the wheel is in motion, this prevents pieces from spinning out of control and flying across the room

      Step 7: WorkShop Introduction


      In the workshop we will cover the tools most often utilized for general making. We will not be able to touch on everything, so what is important is that you understand the basic tenants of machine safety; knowing how to identify and respond to dangerous situations. Again, as is always true at the MakerSpace, ASK IF YOU DO NOT KNOW!

      In the workshop we have two major tool groups: wood and metal. There are many tools that are specific to these two groups, and some tools that can be used for both.

      One of the most important components of working with powertools is knowing what you’re working on and making sure the tool can handle it; adjusting the tool appropriately.

      Step 8: Hand Tools

      In order to form a basic foundation for all tools throughout the shop we will begin by discussing our
      various hand tools.

      We will only cover a few of these tools, but it is important to remember that their principles of use are important throughout the shop.


      Utility knives and exacto knives are useful for cutting soft material and modifying workpieces.

      Utility Knives

      - Check that the blade is sharp before you proceed. Cutting with a dull blade is not only frustrating, it is dangerous. look for the pack of blades in the bin, and change it if you you have any doubts.

      - Plan so the direction of the cut is NOT toward your body, or toward someone else, or toward someone else's workstation. Always plan for what would happen if your blade were to slip

      - Only extend the blade when you are ready to make the cut. Retract the blade IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE CUT. Make this a habit so you do not leave extended blades at your workstation.

      Exacto Knives

      - Check that the blade is sharp. Change the blade if needed.


      Wrenches serve as a strong gripping leverage arm, most commonly used to loosen and tighten nuts and bolts.

      Make sure your wrench is snugly on the nut or bolt, and that your workpiece is securely held or clamped. This insures that we do not strip our tools (when your workpiece damages the tool by twisting in its incorrectly adjusted jaws) or strip your workpiece (visa-versa)

      -adjusting wrench





      By default, pull the wrench toward yourself as to not hurt your hand or forearm when a stuck workpiece breaks free.

      Do not use an extension tube or hammer with a wrench.


      Taps and dies function to put threads (the mechanism by which nuts and bolts tighten and loosen) on the interior of a metal hole, or the exterior of a metal cylinder, respectively.

      Securely clamp your workpiece.

      Always use tapping fluid to prevent metal-to-metal contact.

      Starting the threads is always the hardest part, and requires practice. You will need about two turns to get the threads started. Past that point, you must only descend 1/4 turn at a time, backing out to clear away metal chips each time. If you try to cut too deep without clearing the chips, the channels will get so full of chips that the tap or die will get stuck on the workpiece. If you try to force it farther, it will break the tool. When you perform the tapping/dieing correctly, you should never need to use excessive force.

      Sheet metal shears and tin snips

      -These tools function to cut through various types of thin (high) gauge sheet metal.

      -When using these tools, always wear gloves. The edges of the sheet metal are extremely sharp, both before and after cutting.

      -And of course, don't force!

      Do NOT use tin snips to cut wire or nails! You will dull the blades at a particular spot. Then, every time you try to cut sheet metal, you will get stuck there. Use wire cutters and-or bolt cutters as appropriate to cut wire and/or nails.

      -Workpieces should be clamped or held tightly.

      -Tools should always operate easily and under control.

      -Tools are designed to make it easier. If you're straining to get the job done, you’re probably using the wrong tool or process. ASK!

      Step 9: Circular Saw Types

      The first group of saws we will discuss are all circular in nature. They operate with a spinning
      circular blade that has multiple teeth along its outside edge. As these teeth pass through the material, they subtract it in a line. They tend to have a large plane of blade, well-suited for straight cuts, and tend to have a lot of power. Be especially mindful of the forces these saws exert. They can act like a spinning wheel, pulling along the cut or causing your stock to rotate. These saws tend to have about an 1/8" thickness. These blades totally eliminate their width from your material so always be conscious of which side of your line you want to cut on. Don't cut on your line! Pick a side.


      First is the circular saw. This saw is especially effective for angled cutting in large sheets of material, or for material too awkward or large for the table saw.

      -first, remember what we discussed on the space side. Foresight, force, and fit.

      -Ask yourself: “we need to use the circular saw here because..."

      -We must clamp our material to deal with the forces of the saw. Typically this means two clamps on the workpiece to keep it from shifting or rotating.

      -We must support the piece overhanging. Pieces not sufficiently supported run the risk of flexing as the blade cuts through the material, and pinching it as the material stock weakens. This will cause the saw to jump or bind, both of which are bad for your work and your tools. Use one or two adjustable sawhorses to make sure this doesn't occur.

      -Inspect the tool (with it unplugged) checking the blade and the general wellbeing of saw -next, adjust the tool so that roughly .25” of the blade is protruding through the material. Do this by loosening the nut on the right-hand side of the tool, manually adjusting the foot, and then tightening the nut. This is mainly for safety’s sake. Less blade exposed is better.

      -Finally, with everything set up, LOOK DOWN THE LINE OF YOUR CUT.

      -You do not want to take off the corner of the table, or destroy the saw on a bench vice or on the adjustable workrests! Look and be sure!


      Next is the table saw. This saw is particularly effective for making long, accurate, straight cuts, especially in large sheet materials. Its blade is very large and spins at roughly 200mph. However, when used intelligently, it is incredibly effective.

      -Observe the plane of the blade! Always keep your hands out of this line! That way if anything slips, your hands will remain away from the cutting action.

      -Always have push sticks and push blocks handy. They help you grip the material and help you apply consistent and controlled force through the cut. You should always use push sticks and/or push blocks on any cuts under 10” wide.

      Make sure all the safety guards are in place and adjusted correctly. Again, we’re looking for about 1/4” of blade protrusion through the material, just enough for the troughs to clear the wood.

      -We have a “SawStop” table saw. These saws operate with an electrical current running through the blade at all times. This current is precisely calibrated so that when it comes into contact with conductive material (like a finger), it immediately slams a large piece of aluminum into the blade and drops it below the surface. This technology is so quick that contacting the blade with your body will result in only a small cut, whereas with most table saws one would lose a finger, if not more. However, this technology is not perfect. Because it operates via an electric current, it is extremely important we avoid cutting anything conductive. This ranges from aluminum backed foams, to pressure treated lumber (treated with heavy metals) to reclaimed lumber with lead based paint or hidden nails. All of these materials can set off the sensor and destroy the saw blade. DO NOT CUT THESE MATERIALS WITH THE SAW. New wood that has not been adequately dried can set off the sensor. You can test the wood by touching it to the side of the blade with the saw on but not running, checking to make sure the RED light is not flashing.

      We can turn the sensor off if needed. Come and talk to a worktrader. Setting of the sensor destroys the blade and takes the tool out of operation for about a week! Don't take the risk!

      -Kickback occurs when pressure is applied to a non-cutting surface of the blade. -this happens in two major ways:

      -First, you must always be cautious when moving your material through the blade of the table saw. Unlike the circular saw, the TS cuts as you move the material through it. To insure an accurate cut, one must apply force through the saw in two ways; forward through the blade for cutting and sideways to the fence to ensure accuracy.

      -The saw’s design indicates your posture. Stand with your left knee closest to the ON/OFF switch, staggered with your right for support. Stay out of the area between the blade and the fence. Make sure no one or nothing is back there either.

      -Remember as the saw begins to engage the material, it begins to create a joint, just as we discussed with the CS. Always observe the point at which the saw engages the material and NEVER apply pressure towards the fence beyond this point! Applying pressure beyond that point does not keep the material against the fence, it chokes the blade from the sides, pinching it between your material. With the table saw, there is too much force and too much weight behind they saw, and when the blade gets pinched, it will violently throw the material.

      -DO NOT use the rip fence and the miter gauge simultaneously. As a general rule, the rip fence is designed to cut materials longer than they are wide. The miter gauge is for the opposite, materials wider than they are long. It is very tempting on a wide piece of stock to set the fence to a dimension and then use the miter gauge to push it through. However when the saw engages the material it begins to apply back pressure. This pressure rotates the piece around the miter gauge pushing it against the inside of the blade. As the cut progresses this rotation creates too much pressure and causes kickback. This is why we choose one or the other when making cuts AND NEVER BOTH!

      CHOP SAW

      The final saw in the circular family is the crosscut or miter or chop saw. This saw was originally designed to make precise angular cuts ACROSS the grain of long material stock. Although these saws can also be used to cut engineered materials they are designed to cut through a stock’s SHORT DIMENSION.

      -When using this tool, always keep your hands out of the clearly marked “NO HANDS” zone. Often this will not be an issue, but occasionally you will have to get creative with clamps and pressure in order to totally secure your stock.

      -Be conscious when cutting material that may not be totally square. If it is circular or partially circular, it may want to rotate when you engage them with the saw.

      -This saw is very effective at cutting the same length of material repeatedly. Utilizing our clamp jig will allow one the ability to not have to continually measure and re-measure your cuts.

      -Remember the material subtracted by the saw blade!

      -These tools typically have the ability to rotate to angles in order to help you make joints, sometimes in both plan and section

      -For the most part the indicators on the saw cannot be trusted! If it’s important, measure with a protractor and a speed square!

      -To use the full track on the DeWalt Chop Saw, you must do the following. ALWAYS pull the saw out to its full extension before cutting! Because of the circular blade and the sliding function. If the saw is not pulled out fully when you begin the cut it will “run” out towards you. This is dangerous! Know your tools and their forces.

      The process with this tool then becomes:

      1) place and clamp material.

      2) Pull out saw to full extension.

      3) Pull the trigger (and hold) to activate the saw.

      4) Slowly lower the blade.

      5) Push forward through the material to complete the cut.

      6) Lift the blade and release the trigger!

      An easier way to remember this is pretend you are rowing a boat.

      Step 10: Jigsaw

      The jigsaw operates in a manner reminiscent of a hand saw. Just as a handsaw subtracts material as you repeatedly drag it back and forth, the jigsaw does this same action on a smaller, faster scale with a vertical action. The motor moves a small blade up and down beneath the foot of the saw, subtracting material and allowing the user to cut along curved lines in thin stock.

      This machine creates a lot of dust, so I recommend using a disposable dust mask.

      Ensure your material stock is securely clamped off the end of a table. Use an adjustable sawhorse to support the free end. Set the sawhorse to the same height as the table.

      The jigsaw can cut through a variety of materials. Select the proper blade for the material. Fine blades (many small teeth) are for harder materials such as metals, while coarse blades (fewer larger teeth) are for soft materials such as woods, and plastics.

      To insert the blade, first ensure the machine is unplugged (as we do when changing bits/blades for any machine). Then pull back on the collet and slide the blade in. Release the collet. Now grab the blade carefully between your fingers and tug to make sure it is actually secure. Now, select the speed setting for the material with the gage on the left-hand side of the machine. It will say which material each speed is suitable for.

      For cutting complicated curves or shapes, switch to the top speed setting called "SCROLLING". This will allow you to rotate the blade in any direction using the knob above. This give you an advantage that you can follow a tight curve without needing to turn the entire machine and put your wrist in an uncomfortable position.

      Operate the jigsaw with a slight downward/neutral pressure. The
      grey metal plate on the bottom is called the "foot". Make sure the foot stays in contact with the material as you cut. As with all tools, never start the motor unless the tool is totally unengaged. No moving parts should be touching the tool until it reaches operating speed.

      The jigsaw features a light, and a laser, which can be turned on/off in any combination from the scrolling wheel on top, just behind the knob. The light shines in the area where the blade meets the material. The laser shines forward in a plane. Where this plane hits the material, it appears visibly as a line. You can use this to keep the machine aligned with your pencil line for straight cuts (remember to NOT use scrolling mode for straight cuts).

      Step 11: Bandsaw

      The bandsaw is an excellent tool for cutting curves thru wood and soft materials. DO NOT CUT METAL! Hook up a shop vac or dust collector to the port just underneath the table. The narrow blade allows you to maneuver the material thru a curve. However, if you wish to cut straight lines, you can use the fence to assist you. Keep the blade guard low, close to your material. Be very careful where your hands and fingers go. Keep your hands far apart, far from the path of the blade. Use push sticks and/or push blocks to guide small materials thru the machine. You can control the angle of the table by releasing the two handles underneath. When finished, please return the table to a horizontal position for other members.

      If the blade does not cut easily, or if you see dark burn marks on your wood, the blade may need to be replaced. See our other instructable for steps how to change the blade.

      Step 12: Planar

      The planar is designed to shave a small portion off the top of your piece of wood.

      Make sure there are no nails, screws, staples, brads, paints, etc. Do NOT use pallet wood.

      The piece must be smooth on the top and bottom. Use the Jointer if you need help to prepare. The top and bottom must also be parallel.

      The vacuum tube port is on the left. This machine gets VERY LOUD! Hearing protection is highly recommended.

      Set the depth of cut by raising or lowering the carriage using the wheel on the right. The gauge in the center of the carriage will show you how deep your next cut will be. Slide your material into place and it will depress the switch that displays this depth.

      Your cut may NOT be more than 1/16" deep.

      For best results, make many very shallow cuts.

      Once you start your cut, Do NOT feed material less than 10" long thru or it will get stuck inside. The machine will grab your piece and pull it thru for you, so there is no need to push once it gets started.

      Step 13: Sanders

      We have a belt sander with a sanding disk in the northwest corner of the woodshop.

      This sander has two vacuum ports: one for the belt, one for the disk. Make sure the shop vac or dust collector is plugged into the correct port before you begin.

      Do NOT wear gloves at this station. We don't want gloves to get caught in any moving parts on this machine.

      Apply moderate pressure. If you press too hard you will quickly lose control!

      Move the piece back and forth to avoid wearing a rut in belt or the disk.

      If the belt looks worn or frayed, do NOT use it. Report the tool to staff, or leave a note. You may change out the belt if you know how.

      If you use the disk, press into the left half of the wheel. This is the part moving down into the table so it will give you the most control. If you try to sand on the right hand half of the wheel, you will be fighting against the force of the disk that wants to push your piece up off the table.

      We also have a reciprocating belt sander on the west wall of the woodshop.

      This one is less powerful than the big belt sander, but it allows more control. The vacuum port on this is hidden in the back. Please find it and plug it in. Because the belt moves up and down, you do not necessarily need to move your workpiece back and forth.

      Finally, we have two handheld power sanders in the cabinet below the reciprocating belt sander. We have a random orbital and a handheld beltsander.

      Step 14: Dremel Station

      We will now use the dremel station as an introduction to the safety practices concerning power tools

      The dremel tool series is characterized by consistent tool body that can plug into a variety of different housings. These then operate as low-powered, small scale, versions of other power tools for use in delicate and precise projects.

      Whenever approaching any powertool we must do several things before actually putting it to use.

      Make sure you have on ALL of the appropriate safety equipment. For the dremel station (due to its quickly rotating parts) this includes a facesheild as well as safety glasses.

      Unplug the machine. Visually inspect the cord for any frays or damage.

      Adjust and ensure the correct safety guards are in place. Tighten vices, clamps, and collets as appropriate. Make sure the tool itself is secured as well!

      Insert the correct bit or blade. Tighten securely with pliers with teeth. Some collets are worn out and rounded. This means you cannot grip them with standard dremmel wrenches.

      After all is set up and the machine is in the OFF position, reinsert the cord into the socket.

      NEVER start the tool when it is touching material. Turn the tool on and allow it to get up to speed, then begin work. Do not pull away material, walk away, or set the tool down until the tool until it has finished spinning completely!!

      The Dremel station also can function as a small scale power saw

      This illustrates a basic dichotomy in almost all tools: bits versus blades. Blades operate in a planar direction, while bits operate as a point. Its not based on how it looks, or how it connects to the machine, but instead how it acts on and displaces material.

      Always be conscious of hands. Know where your thumbs are. Make sure your whole hands are visible, securely holding the work piece, out of the plane of the blade, and a comfortable distance away from the cutting action.

      Step 15: Grinding Tools

      The grinding tool are for use on metals. They all produce sparks. Therefore:

      - Consider which direction the sparks are headed. Make sure they do not point toward any flammable objects, or toward any members, and preferably not toward yourself.

      - Wear a face shield (in addition to your safety glasses) to protect your eyes and face from sparks.

      Abrasive Chop Saw

      Benchtop Grinders

      Grind STEEL ONLY - no aluminum or soft metals

      Do NOT wear gloves. These can get caught in the wheel and pull you in. Even so, we still take precautions to make sure your hands never go anywhere close to the grinding wheel.

      Before starting, uplug the machine, then turn the wheel slowly to look for cracks or defects. Tiny defects are okay. If the wheel does NOT spin, do NOT plug it in! This means it is clogged. Notify the staff or leave a note telling us it is OUT OF ORDER.

      Let the wheel get up to speed before you start grinding. If the table shakes violently, turn off the machine at once! This means some part of the machine is not symmetrical. This is dangerous. Notify the staff or leave a note telling us it is OUT OF ORDER.

      The rounded part of the wheel is called the wheel face. The flat parts are called the sides. ONLY grind on the wheels face, never the sides.

      Only apply MODERATE pressure. Let the grinder do the work for you.

      Move the workpiece slowly back and forth across the face, so you do not wear a rut in the wheel.

      Stand to the side of the wheel, out of the path of the sparks.

      For small parts, use VICE GRIPS, not pliers! If you lose your concentration or your grip with pliers for a split second, the piece could slide out. Vice grips do three things to help us.

      1) Vice grips ensure the piece will not come lose from your grip. However, you must CHECK your grip before you start grinding. One good way to do this is to press your piece in the vice grips against the side of the table. If you cannot get the piece to move or slip in the jaws, then your grip is secure, and you are ready to move to the wheel.

      2) Vice grips keep your hands and fingers at a safe distance from the rotating wheel.

      3) Vice grips keep your hands and fingers at a safe distance from the hot end of the metal piece!

      Remember that the workpiece will get HOT where it is in contact with the wheel. Wait some time before incorporating it into your project. Quench it in water to cool faster if needed.

      Angle Grinder

      For this tool you can use several types of heads, including cutoff wheels, grinding wheels, and wire wheels. Wire wheels are useful for removing rust.

      Check that the wheel is tight, and free of defects before you plug in the battery.

      With this tool, it is particularly important to plan which direction the sparks will go, so that they do not go toward any flammable objects.

      This tool has a safety mechanism behind the trigger. To start it, you must grip the back of the handle with your right hand, and depress the safety switch, THEN pull the trigger.

      Before moving to the workpiece, feel the tool spin. If the wheel is asymmetrical, then you will feel it in the tool. If the tool shakes, release the trigger. It is not safe to operate. If the wheel spins freely without issue, you can move to the workpiece. DO NOT jerk the tool or try to twist suddenly. Gyroscopic effects are in play. You must move the tool slowly and in control.

      Do not set the tool down until the wheel has come to a complete stop.

      Step 16: Other Tools and Tips

      Other tools in the shop include:


      Drill Press

      The drill press is designed to put holes into your project in a controlled precise way. The chuck lowers by control of handles on the right.

      Change out drill bits by opening and closing the chuck. You will need to use the chuck key. The chuck key is found on the magnet. Remeber that the chuck key only ever belongs on the magnet or in your hand. Do not leave it around the shop and NEVER LEAVE THE CHUCK KEY IN THE CHUCK. That is the most dangerous place to leave it. If the drill press turns on with the chuck key in the chuck, it will send the key flying with terrific speed. Push up while you turn the chuck key. This prevents the teeth of the gears from slipping. Be careful when loosening the chuck with the chuck key. Watch where your knuckles are so they do not slam into the drill press when the chuck key gets loose.

      If you are drilling holes thru your piece, use a spoil board. This is a flat piece of scrap (usually wood) below your part that you can drill into. This prevents accidentally going into the metal table.

      To raise or lower the metal table, first unlock the lever on the left hand side, then turn the crank on the right hand side. If you tighten the lever again, this will prevent the table from slipping from side to side.

      Certain parts can be held by hand on the drill press table. Other parts will need to be clamped down.

      Air tools

      The skillsaw can be understood like a handheld tablesaw. using its foot we can run it along a pre-made guide to produce the four sides of our shelves. it is useful for both quick cuts and measured angled cuts in large sheets of material.


      The bandsaw is a an effective tool for cutting curves. because of its totally perpendicular plane of blade it is also useful for carving out pockets in material. we will use it to give our holes a relief to slide the tool through for easy storage.