Metalworking tools usage

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Back to Tools and Equipment

NOTICE: All members using the Metalworking area are expected to join the cnc channel, AND refer back to this page frequently to keep abreast of important notices, changes, warnings, etc.


  • Many of the tools and equipment in the Metalworking area are EXTREMELY HAZARDOUS. Misuse can cause serious injury or property damage.
  • Persons entering the Metalworking area must dress appropriately, including wearing/using the appropriate protective equipment.
    • Loose fitting clothing, long sleeves, gloves, long hair, jewelry, etc., can all get caught in the moving parts of many tools!
    • Wear footwear with non-slip soles. Steel-toed shoes are advisable in many circumstances.
  • Use of the Metalworking area, and the equipment therein, is at the discretion of the Area Captain(s). Failure to follow the rules and proper procedures is cause for immediate removal from the area and revocation of privileges in the Metalworking area.
  • Willful disregard for these rules and procedures may be cause for immediate ejection from the space and termination of Rockford MakerSpace membership.
Safety goes beyond a set of information and rules to memorize. Safety is a culture.
You live it by learning it, and learn it by living it ... so that you and others can go on living.
SAFETY is very important!

This page is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Please check back regularly for updates.

General rules for the area

  • Nobody, whether member, guest or visitor, may be in the Metalworking area when power tools are in use unless they
    • have a signed Liability Release on file, and
    • are wearing the proper protective equipment -- safety glasses, hearing protection and respiratory protection when required.
  • Nobody, whether member, guest or visitor, may be in the immediate vicinity of a power tool in use unless they
    • are actively participating in the operation of that tool, or
    • are being trained on the use of that tool, or
    • are viewing a presentation of that tool by an authorized user.
  • Anyone using the Metalworking area must clean up after themselves.
    • brush, vacuum or otherwise remove chips, small scraps, etc., from the tools and surrounding area, and
    • place usable leftover materials in the appropriate bin, unless you are taking it with you.
  • Report broken tools or accessories immediately:
    • mark the item as unavailable, and
    • notify the Area Captain.
  • Keep the area around tools free from obstructions or slip hazards.
  • Give your work undivided attention. Looking around, carrying on a conversation and "horse play" are careless acts that can result in serious injury.
  • Do NOT attempt to repair any tool or other equipment without prior approval of the Area Captain.
  • Do NOT operate any power tools in a wet environment. If the floor or work surface is wet, power tools must not be used.
  • Do NOT eat or drink while running power tools. (Food or beverage may be consumed in the Metalworking area, but must be done in a safe manner, away from any power tools in use.)
  • Do NOT operate any power tools if you have been drinking alcohol, using any drugs or medications that may impair your ability, are sleep-deprived or are in any other way impaired.
  • Do NOT make adjustments while the machine is operating; wait until the machine has come to a complete stop.
  • Do NOT use measuring tools (calipers, tape measures, gauges, etc.) on a workpiece while the machine is moving.
  • Do NOT leave a power tool unattended while it is running.
  • Do NOT use makeshift tools.
  • Do NOT remove protective equipment (safety glasses, hearing protectors, face masks, respirators, etc.) from the Metalworking area without prior approval of the Area Captain.
  • Use of the Metalworking area, especially certain powered tools, may be restricted when such use would interfere with a training class or other event in an adjoining area. Examples would include training in laser cutting/engraving, electronics, etc.

All tools

  • Because these tools are shared among many users, all tools should be considered "unsafe" until they have been checked for safety.
    • Ensure that blades, cutting bits, etc, are
      • properly and securely installed before use, and
      • in good functional condition, not broken, bent or otherwise unsafe to use.
  • Floor tools with wheels must have the wheels locked when in use.
  • Floor and bench tools must be made "safe" when you are finished using them.
    • All tools must be powered off.
    • If temporary power cords or dust collection hoses are used, they should be removed and properly stored to avoid becoming a tripping or other hazard.
    • Drill presses should have drill bits removed and properly stored.
    • All tool work surfaces must be clear of anything not normally part of that tool -- no other tools, parts, accessories, material, etc.
  • Locate and ensure you are familiar with all machine operations and controls before using that machine.
  • If a circuit breaker trips when using a power tool, unplug the power tool before resetting the circuit breaker.
  • Do NOT stand on the machine.
  • NEVER leave a running machine unattended.
  • Return handheld tools to their proper storage location when you are finished using them.


  • Lathes are red tools. Use is restricted to trained members only.
  • Wear safety glasses with side shields or safety goggles, or a face shield (with safety glasses or goggles) to protect yourself from flying chips.
  • Wear hearing protection that is suitable for the level and frequency of the noise you are exposed to in the woodworking area.
  • Wear respiratory protection when dust is generated (e.g., during sanding operations).
  • Wear protective footwear when required.
  • Work only with adequate lighting.
  • Inspect chucks for wear or damage. Flying pieces can be very dangerous.
  • Nothing that is not part of the current turning operation should be on the lathe when it is in operation.
  • Before the lathe is turned on, make sure that all clamps and fittings are secure and that the work piece is free to turn.
  • Use stock that is free of defects.
  • Use only furnished or approved tools that are meant for lathe work.
  • Select a speed that is appropriate for the job. Operate at speeds recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Turn off power and lock out the machine when making any adjustments or changes to the set up.
  • Use a vacuum, brush or rake to remove cuttings only after the lathe has stopped moving.

Additional online resources:

CNC Routers

  • All the CNC routers are red tools. Use is restricted to trained members only.
  • Nothing that is not part of the current routing operation should be on the router table when it is in operation.
  • Before the router table is turned on, make sure that all components are secure.
  • Use stock that is free of defects.

Additional online resources:

This section is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Please check back regularly for updates.