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IIT College of Architecture

    Materials Lab Policies

    The Materials Lab is only open to qualified, currently enrolled, architecture students. Before you can use the facility you must qualify by passing a written test. This test measures your knowledge of safe operating procedures of the shop’s equipment. If you are entering the five year bachelor's degree program or the three year master’s degree program, this safety instruction will be part of your studio work.

    However, if you are a transfer student or if you are in one of the other master’s degree programs, you will have to make a special effort to qualify yourself, which you do by passing a written test on machine and work place safety, and a schedule for these test sessions will be posted by the door of the M&M shop office. A list of students who are qualified to use the shop is kept by the door to the shop office.

    To prepare for this test you can either attend one of the two-session Safety Orientation Classes or you can watch the video of this class. Signup sheets for the classes, which are held during the first weeks of each semester, are posted on the bulletin board by the shop office door in M&M.

    Students must observe safe working practices when working in the shop, and these are explained in the Safety Orientation Class and Video. Failure to do so can result in expulsion from the Materials Lab. Whenever you are in doubt about the safety of an operation, please ask for advice or assistance from the staff.

    Machine guards must be used whenever practical. In particular the table saw guards must be used when ripping any part wider than 12”. The machining of small parts poses particular dangers. No work piece that is smaller than 3” in its longest dimension may be cut on the table saw. Long hair, loose sleeves, dangling jewelry or cords present a special danger around machinery. Bare feet also pose an unnecessary risk of injury. Students must eliminate these sartorial hazards before working in the shop.

    This facility is staffed when it is open for use, and students may not work in the shop or the laser lab after the posted hours. After 10:00 pm these staff members ask everyone to leave, and for safety, liability and security reasons lock up for the night. Students are not allowed to work alone or after hours.

    During periods when school is not in session, Faculty may obtain access keys for their own use. They may also bring students into the shop that are working directly under their supervision. Under no circumstances is the faculty person to leave the student(s) unsupervised, nor are they permitted to give the access key to a student.

    Laser Cutters
    Only students who have passed the special laser cutter training session can use the laser cutter. The schedule of these training sessions, which are offered during the first few weeks of each semester, is posted by the doorway to the laser room. The list of those students who are permitted to use the machine is posted on the wall in the laser room.

    Students who have attended the laser cutter training can make appointments to reserve up to two hours per week on the laser cutters. Students needing additional laser time can only obtain it on a standby basis. Appointments can be canceled at any time, but missed appointments can result in termination of reservation privileges. Students who use unapproved materials, or who do not stand by the machine while it is working will forfeit their access to the machine.

    Students must make laser cutter reservations in person. To make a reservation please go to the shop crib during regular business hours and speak to a student attendant. Appointments can be scheduled for any given week beginning on Thursday noon of the previous week.

    While you cannot reserve a time online, the laser cutter schedule is available online.

    CNC Milling Machines
    Using these milling machines is more complicated than operating the laser cutter. Only students in certain studio classes in which the process is taught, or students working under the supervision of one of the Materials Lab staff may operate this equipment.

    Commercial Work
    The Materials Lab exists to support the educational mission of the College. In addition, faculty and currently enrolled students may use the facility to work on personal projects if it is not busy. However, commercial projects, such as a model for an architectural firm, can be brought into the shop only if all commercial work conditions are met.

    Commercial Work Conditions for Use:
    1. Only currently enrolled students may perform the work.
    2. The project must not interfere in any way with school projects.
    3. An overhead fee of $100 per hour per worker must be paid to the College. The charge will be assessed for the number of hours that the worker(s) are in the room.

    Tool Check-Out
    Architecture students may borrow hand and power tools from the shop’s collection for use in their studio projects. Students may borrow tools, preferably, for no more than three days. Because our collection is shared among a large number of students, students who need a tool for a prolonged period of time are encouraged to buy their own.

    If you bring your own tools into Crown Hall, please clearly mark your name on them, so they can be returned to you when they are misplaced. There is an engraver in the Shop’s Crib, so you can mark indelibly on practically any material. Apart from drills and Dremel tools, students may not bring personal power tools into the college because the university will not be responsible for their unauthorized use.

    Storage of Materials and Projects
    Unfortunately, there is not enough space to store non-active projects. Therefore, do not bring your materials into the shop until you are ready to use them, and then pursue your project aggressively. Normally students store materials on the shelves with their names and contact information clearly marked on them. When you leave for the day, clear your project off of the workbench and store any small parts in one of the lockers beneath the benches or in a box on one of the shelves.

    Each morning when the shop is straightened out and the workbenches cleaned off, materials left about will be placed in the scrap pile. Materials in the scrap pile are free and available to anyone who wants to use them. Abandoned projects will be thrown out, however, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between abandoned projects and idle projects. Protect yourself by completing your project swiftly and then removing it from the shop. If you have a special storage problem, please speak with John Kriegshauser or one of the assistant supervisors.

    Spraying Paint
    The spray booth located at the south end of M&M is the appropriate place to spray paint, aerosol adhesives and lacquers in the College because it provides an exhaust fan and air filters. Using aerosols at your desk results in overspray mess and a toxic atmosphere in the studio. Adjacent to the booth is a paint cabinet in which you can store your paint. Please put your name on any cans of paint that you want to keep.

    Paint, ink, solvents and other flammable or toxic liquids may not be poured down the sink. Instead discard these materials in the red paint waste containers located by the spray booth. Aerosol cans, whether empty or full, should be disposed of in the box marked for that purpose by the spray booth. These materials are then removed by a specialized waste hauler.

    Students can borrow spray guns directly from the shop supervisor by putting up a $20 cleaning deposit. If the gun is not completely clean upon return, the deposit will be forfeited.

    Materials Lab Policies (PDF)
    Hazardous Materials Policies
    Incident Investigation Form