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The makerspace classifies tools into two categories: simple and complex.

Simple tools are those that require no in-person training, are often portable, and would cause limited or minimal injury or damage if misused. Examples of simple tools include:

  • hand sewing equipment, such as needles and thread
  • basic hand tools such as screwdrivers, hammers, tape measures, speed squares, etc.
  • cordless drills
  • the Cricut vinyl cutter
  • crafting supplies such as paper, glue, tape, acrylic or tempura paint, etc.
  • computer lab computers and laser printers
  • cleaning equipment and supplies

Any member can use simple tools at any time. 

Complex tools are those that require training, are usually not portable, and would cause significant damage or injury if misused. Members must be trained and certified by an area lead prior to using complex tools. Examples of complex tools include:

  • the laser cutter or engraver
  • 3D printers
  • any woodshop power saws, planers, jointers, or sanders
  • any metalworking or jewelry making equipment
  • sewing machines
  • the upright vinyl cutter
  • the X-Carve and Shapeoko CNC wood milling machines
  • hot-air rework equipment
  • any other equipment marked with a "Training required" tag or sticker

All complex tools are marked with "Training Required" stickers. If you have any questions about simple vs. complex tools, please talk to a staff member, area lead, or board member.

Tool Locations

Each area has a sign near it with an assigned color. Tools for that area should have a band of tape corresponding to that color. If you use a tool from a tool area, please return it to its proper home when finished.

If you are not sure about a tool's proper home, you may leave it in the landing area next to the ops desk in the front of the makerspace. 

Personal tools

Members may bring in their own tools to use at the makerspace. Please mark your own tools! We are not responsible for them.

Do not use another member’s tools or supplies (our insurance policy cannot cover liability of tools that the Bellingham Makerspace does not own).

Checkout classes follow the SOP for that tool. There is no need to memorize how to run a tool – in fact we prefer you check with our volunteers and the wiki page for a tool for details. The wiki includes links to the specific operating manuals and other safety details for all of our tools.

Tool Safety

Tool safety is important. Failure to follow safety rules can result in suspension of membership.

  • Do not use a complex tool or machine without getting properly trained and checked off.
  • If you are ever unsure about how a tool works, ask for help.
  • Consult the wiki page for a tool to get the manual.
  • Follow the instructions of the tool champions and area leads.
  • Report broken tools and equipment immediately!
    • This is the only way we can ensure all tools are working when you need them.
      • It also helps us provide consumables such as drill bits and extra blades.

Dull Tools

Dull tools are extremely dangerous. They:

  • Require excessive force
  • Can pose a fire hazard
  • Have a higher likelihood of ejecting material from the work area.

If you think a tool's blades may be dull, DO NOT USE IT. Please bring any dull tools to the attention of the area lead or operations staff as soon as possible.