Metal Shop Zone

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Metal Shop Zone
Coordinator: Gordon Clement, Sara Berg-Love
Equipment List: Metal Shop Equipment
Zone Assistants: Assistants Needed


This zone provides equipment for making precision metal objects.

Link to Wiki

Zone Orientation: Rules and Safety

The intent of the zone orientation is to familiarize new members with the capabilities, safety rules, and operational procedures of the Metal Shop Zone. It is not intended to provide detailed instruction on how to use the equipment. Those who are confident in their abilities to use the equipment may use it after completing the orientation. Those who are not should seek the assistance of the Zone Coordinator, other CoG members, or should enroll in an instructional class offered by the CoG.

General Safety

  1. Never turn your back on running equipment. Turn off machines before you move away from them, even if you are coming right back.
  2. Never operate RED equipment with nobody else in the building. Ensure there is someone (invite a guest if needed) who can call 911 if you become incapacitated.
  3. Review of Lock Out/Tag Out Board and Process
    1. Apply whenever a tool is not functioning properly. Only Zone Coordinators and Facilities Specialist have keys to remove and will do so when equipment is safe.
  4. Required personal protective equipment
    1. Safety glasses - always.
  5. Risk of entanglement from spinning equipment.
    1. Roll up sleeves, tie back long hair
    2. Remove jewelry
    3. Don’t wear gloves
    4. Don’t wear loose clothing or hoodies with pull strings
  6. Risk of fire from oil-soaked rags.
    1. Dispose of all oil rags and paper towels in the Flammable containers.
  7. Risk of cuts from sharp metal chips.
    1. Do not clean up chips by hand. Use a vacuum or brush/dustpan.
    2. Risk of flying debris when cutting. Wear safety glasses. Set up chip guards when practical.
  8. Risk of cuts from cutting tools.
    1. Handle tooling with care.
    2. Dull cutting tools are more dangerous than sharp tools, since they will break easier.

General “Be Excellent to Each Other” Knowledge

  1. Communication is important to keeping this community space functioning. Report any problems, low supplies, or comments to,, or on the whiteboard.
  2. The shop belongs to the members. If you have an idea for a shop improvement, just do it!
    1. The worst that can happen is a majority of users disagrees, and things get put back the way they were.
    2. Send purchase requests to zone coordinator and facilities.
  3. Use a Parking Pass if you will be leaving a project or materials overnight.
    1. Projects can be left out with a parking pass for up to a week. For longer projects, we offer shelf and floor space for rent.
  4. Place all tools back in their storage location.
  5. Sweep up and vacuum more debris than you created.
  6. Clean up oil with rags and absorbent pads.
  7. If something requires excessive force to move, something is probably wrong.
    1. Do not overtighten bolts, clamps, or chucks on equipment. Snug is sufficient.
  8. This is precision stuff, and surprisingly delicate. Handle everything with care. Treat everything as if it is very expensive.
  9. Lubricating oil
    1. Keep cutting tools lubricated during use. Use the proper cutting fluid.
    2. “Ways Oil” shall be used only for mill and lathe keyways.

Equipment Overview

  1. Hardinge Lathe
    1. Links to manuals and basic operation videos are available on the wiki.
    2. Location of power switch, power button
    3. Brake should always be on
    4. Look at the clean up picture on the wall. The lathe should look just like this when you are done.
    5. Location of spindle lock (for installing chucks). Should be pulled out before use.
    6. Clean spindle before installing chuck.
    7. Keep ways lubricated.
    8. Do not use excessive force when installing chucks. Locating pin could be damaged.
    9. Use the proper cutting speeds for the material being machined.
    10. Before Starting:
      1. Material secure
      2. Tool secure
      3. Chuck key removed
      4. Rotation path clear
    11. Collets and chucks are stored in the right-hand cabinet. Various cutting tools are stored on the wall and the shelf.
  2. Bridgeport Mill
    1. Links to manuals and basic operation videos are available on the wiki.
    2. Location of power switch.
    3. Keep bed clear of unnecessary tools and parts.
    4. Use the proper cutting speeds for the material being machined.
    5. Keep ways lubricated. Use grease gun on grease nipples.
    6. Collets are stored on the right side. Various end mills and cutting tools are stored on the shelf.
    7. Do not overtighten the collet nut. Snug will suffice.
    8. Before Starting:
      1. Material secure
      2. Tool secure
      3. Spindle wrench removed
      4. Rotation path clear.
  3. 4’ Brake
    1. Used to bend sheet metal.
    2. Wear gloves (preferably cut-resistant) when handling sheet metal.
    3. Adjust clamping force as needed.
    4. Distance from clamping fingers to the edge should be about double the material thickness.
    5. If it isn’t bending, don’t force it.
  4. 4’ Sheer
    1. Used to cut sheet metal.
    2. Wear gloves (preferably cut-resistant) when handling sheet metal.
    3. 16 gauge steel capacity. See chart for equivalent aluminum and other steel capacity.
    4. Place material as far to the left as possible for best leverage.
  5. Sandblaster
    1. Maximum air pressure 120psi.
    2. Glass bead media in various grits.
    3. Don't open bottom flap unless there is a container there to catch media.
  6. Hydraulic Press
    1. Used to make press-fit assemblies (such as a bearing into a wheel hub).
    2. Work table is very heavy. At least two people required to adjust.
    3. Compressed air can be used to take up slack in cylinder. Manual pumping is required to apply final pressure.
  7. Bandsaw
    1. Non-ferrous metal only (aluminum, brass)
    2. Use coolant or cutting fluid.
  8. Drill press
    1. Don’t drill into the work surface. Place wood between material and work surface.
    2. Clamp material to work surface.
    3. Return drill bits to storage.
  9. Unimat mini lathe
    1. Same precautions as the Hardinge lathe, just smaller.
  10. DynaMite CNC Mills
    1. Schedule a separate orientation with the Zone Coordinator to learn about the use and operation of these mills.


  1. Can I cut wood on the lathes/mill?
    1. No.
  2. How about plastic?
    1. Plastic is okay. Make sure you clean it all up.

Reference Information

Material Resources

  • Bullet

Projects for Inspiration

  • Bullet