Workshops/workshop skills

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Workshop Skills

Covering the basic tools in the main workshop, how to use them safely and effectively.

Ideal if you are not comfortable with some of the non-induction machine tools, or want to learn some of the basic skills used in the workshop.

Sessions can be in small groups or 1:1 to cover specific tools or techniques.

Sessions will be relatively short - 30 minutes to an hour. Content will be tailored for the group from the list below.

Core workshop

This content is always covered

Topic Detailed contents Rationale
Selection and use of PPE
  • Types of PPE
    • Goggles.
      • Required for pretty much any power tool
    • Face Shields
      • Alternative to goggles - may be more comfortable for long duration use. Protects the full face and allows use of prescription glasses.
    • Hearing Protection
      • Needed when there is a lot of noise being made - not just by your job but possibly by others in the workshop.
      • Put it on before you feel uncomfortable with the noise - by that time the damage may already be done.
      • Ear defenders & disposable ear plugs available
    • Dust Protection
      • Used when your work will generate dust and/or fumes, eg sanding, linishing, grinding, wood turning, using power saws etc. We have different types of mask available for different uses, including general purpose masks and ones for special protection for some jobs such as plasma cutting or forging.
      • FFP1 - >5 micron filtration. Non-toxic dusts, sanding, cutting, drilling, water / oil based aerosols
      • FFP2 - 2 - 5 micron filtration. Toxic dusts, metal fumes
      • FFP3 - < 2 micron filtration. Carcinogenic dusts, metal fumes
    • Gloves
      • Latex/Nitrile for general dirty jobs
      • Leather for heat work/welding
      • Anti-vibration might be wise for some tools but we don't have them because they need an accurate fit so bring your own.
    • Overalls
      • Cotton for regular workshop use, where they're hung up
      • Leather apron for metalworking
      • Tyvek disposable suits for paint and grease
Keeping the user safe in the workshop

Always covered - no one should be able to say "I wasn't told about using PPE"

General Workshop Ettiquette
  • Considering what others are doing, or might come in wanting to do
    • Work in one area at a time - don't spread out across all the benches
    • Don't leave things hanging out into the aisles
  • Only using a tool if you're sure you can safely
    • If you're not sure, ask maintainers/inductors/others in the workshop/mailing list for help
  • Where might you send sparks, dust, chips or swarf? Warn others or consider moving.
  • Maintain safe clearance around dangerous jobs
  • Warning people if you're about to make a lot of noise
  • Not "shoulder-surfing" unless invited to, most people will be happy to talk about projects, but be polite if they say no
  • Taking care of your safety
  • Stopping others from doing dangerous things
  • Trying to help out others if they're struggling
  • Cleaning up properly after yourself
    • Tidy up as you go
    • Allow enough time to clean as part of the job, this is absolutely required and you may get pulled up on it if you don't
  • And cleaning a little more of the general workshop if you have time, everyone is expected to contribute to keeping rLab a nice place to work
  • Putting tools and materials away when you're done
    • Putting batteries back on charge
  • How to report broken/non-functional tools
    • Reminder you won't be in trouble for breaking something; you will be for hiding it
    • Label the tool as broken so others won't try to use it
    • Tell the maintainers
    • If you're not sure who is maintainer for that tool, post to the mailing list
  • Learning to look after tools
    • Asking to learn how to do maintenance jobs
    • Becomming a tool maintainer
    • Becomming an inductor on a tool
Working with others in the shared space

Maintaining the workshop in a useable state

Base Modules

Discuss with the users which modules they want to cover, there should be time to cover most of these but some might get dropped if no-one taking part in that session needs/wants them

Topic Detailed contents Estimated Time
Marking out
  • Choosing a reference surface/edge
  • Pencils on wood, markout fluid and scriber on metals, Sharpie on anything :-)
  • Marking it
  • Using squares
  • Using rulers, tape measures & calipers.
  • Marks for reference, parallel, waste etc.
10 minutes
Measuring tools
  • Rulers & tape measures
  • Calipers
  • Micrometers
5 minutes
Tool selection
  • Cutting Tools
  • Joining Tools
  • Finishing Tools
  • Finding tools in the workshop
5 Minutes
Drill selection
  • Types and what they are used for
    • Metal - HSS / Cobalt
    • Masonry
    • Wood
    • Flat wood
    • Forstner
    • Hole saws
    • Step drills
  • Sizes
  • Centre punching on metals/starting with an awl on wood
  • What to do if they are blunt / broken etc
  • When to use cutting fluid
5 minutes
Using small (portable) drills
  • Battery drills
  • Mains drills
  • Dremels
  • Mag drill (When we buy one :-) )
10 minutes
Using the pillar drill
  • Using the chuck
    • What to do if it comes out of the quill
  • Adjusting table height
    • Not drilling into the table itself...
  • Speed selection and changing belts
  • Using the dust extract where suitable
10 minutes
Using the linishers (belt sanding machines)
  • What they do
  • Starting & stopping the machines
  • Controlling the work on the belt & disc
  • Changing a belt
    • When to change belt, how clogged is too clogged?
    • Reporting if we're low on belts, or ordering more yourself
    • Belt types available
15 minutes
Using the Air Compressor and its tools
  • Checking over and starting up the compressor
    • Special attention to the oil level
    • Not to be used on an extension lead - use a longer air hose instead
  • What tools we have - Listed on the compressor page
  • Blowing down and putting away
15 minutes
Selecting the correct saw 5 minutes
Using hacksaws
  • How to check/change blade
  • Starting cleanly in a cut
5 minutes
Using the Scroll Saw
  • Appropriate materials
  • Starting and stopping
  • Speed selection
  • Blade changing (and starting a cut from an inside hole)
10 minutes
Using hand files
  • Types and what they're for
  • How to lubricate a file
  • Cleaning with file card
  • Action for curved surfaces
10 minutes
  • Other techniques - some woodworking skills
  • Woodworking with hand tools
    • Chisels
    • Planes
    • Drilling
    • Joining - using glue, screws, nails, dowels, dovetail joints
    • Finishing with sandpaper, oil, wax

Advanced Modules

These modules cover slightly more advanced but still non-induction topics. If you'd like to cover these please let the person running the workshop know. They'll be done at the end of the workshop so that people who're not interested can leave earlier.

Topic Detailed contents Estimated Time
Screwcutting with taps & dies
  • Measuring an existing thread
    • Preferred sizes
  • Using the sizes chart to select a tapping drill
  • Different types of tap
20 minutes
Using the Blasting Cabinet
  • Must know how to use the air compressor first
20 minutes
Using the Ultrasound Cleaner
  • Cleaning solutions available
  • Setting up the tank
  • Using the controls
    • Setting temperature
    • Setting the timer
  • Cleaning up afterwards
10 minutes
Using the test oven
  • Capabilties of the oven
  • Using the control panel
  • Cleaning after use
5 minutes
Using angle grinders
  • Safety checks before use - power cord damage etc
  • Think before you use - where are the sparks going ?
  • Cutting vs Grinding
  • Changing a disc
    • Not using old / unknown age discs
    • Cutting discs
    • Grinding discs
    • Flap discs
    • Other fittings
10 minutes
Using the Horizontal Bandsaw
  • Appropriate materials
  • Work holding
  • Starting and stopping
  • Use of cutting fluid
  • Cleaning after use
15 minutes