Getting started in the makerspaces

A guide for learning about and getting started on projects in the libraries makerspaces.

3D printing and scanning

Filament 3D printers

  • Do not touch the nozzle of the 3D printer with your hands. It is over 400°F when in use. Always assume that the nozzle is this hot. Use tweezers to clean extra filament from the nozzle.
  • Use gentle pressure or twisting to break parts loose when removing parts from a print bed.  If this does not work, use the supplied tools.  This will keep the machines, your hands, and your print in good shape.
  • Start at one corner of the part and move slowly when using the supplied print removal tools. Only apply the necessary amount of pressure. Most parts can be freed by getting the scraper just under the part, then twisting the scraper slightly to loosen the part. Always push away from yourself. Never put your hand or any part of your body in the potential path of the sharp object.

Resin 3D printers

Adapted from Form 3 Safety Guide and Safety with Formlabs SLA printers

  • Never ingest resin in liquid or solid form, or isopropyl alcohol. If swallowed, immediately call a poison center or medical professional.

  • Resin may cause skin irritation or an allergic skin reaction. Wear gloves when handling liquid resin or resin-coated surfaces. Wash skin with plenty of soap and water.

  • Some methods of support removal may cause small pieces of supports to break away. Beware of flying debris and consider wearing eye protection and gloves to protect the skin and eyes.

  • Consult the SDS for any resin you are using. These can be found in the blue binder.

  • Do not pour liquid resin into the trash or sink. Liquid resin is a hazard and must be cured under UV light before disposal in normal waste streams.

  • If you spill liquid resin or isopropyl alcohol, alert a staff member immediately.

Diagonal wire/filament cutters

  • Shield the wire/filament you are clipping with your other hand so pieces do not fly off and hit you or other people.

Milling and cutting

Vinyl cutter

  • Don't reach into the working area of the machine while it is running. The cutting head moves quickly and unpredictably.
  • Use care when cleaning or replacing the blade. When in doubt, ask a staff member in the space for assistance. 
  • The pen and blade clamp on the Cricut can be difficult to snap shut. Watch your fingers when doing this so you don't pinch your fingers. 

Laser cutter

  • Watch the laser while it's running. NEVER let it run unsupervised.
  • Turn on the ventilation while running the laser.
  • Do not look at the bright light coming from the laser cutting/engraving process for long periods of time.
  • Remove your material from the laser system when you're finished.
  • Use the materials provided. If you want to use your own materials, contact the Laser Lab in the College of Design.
  • Do not try to look directly into the laser beam.

Dremel/rotary tool

  • Wear eye protection (available on the rolling cart) while use the rotary tool and, if using for an extended period of time, ear protection.
  • Clamp smaller pieces, or pieces that are likely to move, into the portable vise. Make sure your hands are outside the tool’s working area.
  • When grinding, cutting or sanding, consider where you are pushing, and where it will cause the bit to go, should it break through the other side of the workpiece or slip. If it will go into you or someone else, STOP. Re-evaluate what you are doing before you proceed.
  • Make sure the bit is secure in the rotary tool before turning it on.
  • Never touch the bit while it is spinning.
  • The trigger on the drill controls the speed and torque. Use the proper amount of “squeeze” for the materials you are working with.
  • Release the trigger immediately if a bit binds in a hole and switch the direction of the drill. Slowly back the bit out.

Soldering iron

  • Don’t touch the tip of the iron with your hands, even if you believe it is cold.
  • Work underneath a fume extraction fan whenever soldering and avoid breathing in the fumes.
  • Wash your hands after you are done soldering or wear gloves (available on the rolling cart) during soldering.
  • Unplug the soldering iron after use. NEVER leave the soldering iron on unattended.

Sewing and embroidery

  • Take care when adjusting or changing the sewing or embroidery needle.
  • When feeding fabric through the machine, keep your fingers clear of the presser foot and needle. 
  • Be aware of where pins are in your fabric. Do not feed them into the machine.
  • Try not to drop pins on the floor. Some folks wear sandals and we do not want anyone to be injured in the space. 

Paper activities

Button Maker

  • Keep your fingers out of the way when pressing down to jam the buttons together.
  • Make sure you're only using one of each supply per button (sometimes items stick together). 
  • It is not uncommon for button makers to get jammed -- ask a staff member for help! 


  • This machine melts sleeves around paper -- it will be hot! Exercise caution.
  • Make sure the machine is turned off when you are done using, to prevent any burn or fire hazards.

General safety guidelines

  • Exercise caution when using anything sharp or hot in the space. Do not make any abrupt movements or throw anything.
  • If something doesn't work, inform a staff member. If you know how to fix the problem, fix it with the staff member, but you are not obligated to repair an item. 
  • Keep sharp objects off the floor. 
  • Know where the first aid kit and fire extinguisher are. 
  • Ask questions if you are unsure about any equipment in the space. We want to help!
Last Updated: Nov 29, 2023 3:04 PM