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Makerspace Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use the equipment in the makerspace?

Some equipment requires certification prior to independent use (laser cutters, CNC machine, 3D printers). Makerspace staff will run machine-specific safety/use certification programs. Please see the library events calendar for upcoming certification programs. An online learning option with a required in-person test for certification will also be available.

Do I need to bring my own supplies/materials?

Customers are responsible for providing their own materials for the laser cutter and CNC machines, as well as material needed for sewing projects. A limited range of materials will be available for purchase for use with the laser cutter. Customers do not need to bring their own materials for use with the 3D printers, vinyl cutter, vacuum former, or large format printer. However, there are material charges associated with the use of those machines. See our materials price list for more information.

Can I bring in my own paper/vinyl/etc to use with the makerspace equipment?

Yes. For the machines listed on our equipment page that states you may bring in your own materials, please view our approved lists or the lists provided by the equipment manufacturer. A limited range of starter materials will be available for purchase.

Does the makerspace offer custom design/production services?

Exploration Commons offers a variety of programs to introduce customers to software and equipment available for use in the makerspace. Staff are also happy to answer questions and provide guidance, when possible, related to specific projects. However, Exploration Commons staff will not create, design, or fabricate custom jobs for customers.

What ages can use the makerspace?

The Makerspace is for ages 8 – Adult. Children ages 8 – 11 may work with an equipment certified adult in the use of some machines in the space but may not operate equipment themselves. Children ages 12 – 15 may operate machinery with the assistance of an equipment certified adult. Persons aged 16 and older may operate any of the available equipment. Users must be certified to use select equipment.

Do I need to reserve equipment in advance? How do I do that?

Much of the equipment and software in the makerspace is available for use on a walk-in, first-come first-served basis. The laser cutters, CNC machine, AR/VR room and AudioVisual lab require reservations. Non-booked reservable equipment/space may be available on a walk-in basis, but we cannot guarantee availability without a reservation. Equipment reservation time limits are listed on our equipment reservation page. To make an equipment reservation, visit the the reservation site.

Is there a fee for using the equipment or materials?

There are no fees associated with the use of most equipment/software available within the makerspace. The 3D printers, large format printer, vinyl cutter, and vacuum formers have fees related to the quantity or type of material used for each project. The makerspace sells a limited selection of materials to help customers get started.

Can I store my project at the makerspace?

A limited number of storage lockers are available in the makerspace for day use only. Please speak with a staff member or contact us to discuss availability of short-term storage for a specific project.

Can I cut or engrave metal using either the laser or CNC router?

The cutting of metal is not supported by either machine. Metal that is coated with paint or other surface preparation such as marking spray or anodizing may be laser engraved to reveal the bare surface. Engraving of metal using the CNC router is not supported.

Can I bring food and drink into the makerspace?

Food is limited to light snacks and drinks are limited to those with lids. Food and drink will not be permitted in the fabrication lab, AR/VR lab, and AV lab.

Is there a charge to attend programs in the makerspace?

Some makerspace programs have a registration fee to help offset the cost of materials used in the program. Any fees associated with a program are listed on the program registration page. Program fees are payable at the time of registration.

What is your cancellation or refund policy?

Program registration cancellations must be made prior to the start of the class or program. To cancel your registration, follow the link in your confirmation email. For fee-based classes, a refund will be issued to the credit card used for registration after the program has concluded.

Due to class prep-time and material purchases, if you do not show up for a class or event, your class registration is non-refundable.

Exploration Commons reserves the right to cancel any class that fails to attract sufficient registration or for other circumstances; all registrants will be notified and issued a full refund. In the event of an emergency closing, your registration will be transferred to the rescheduled class or a refund will be issued.

What sewing equipment is available in the makerspace?

We have several sewing machines, an embroidery machine, and an overlock-serger available for customers to use. Basic cutting and sewing tools, including an iron, are also available for customer use.

Can you turn my logo into an embroidery file?

Exploration Commons offers Hatch Embroidery Digitizer software for customers to design their own embroidery files. Staff are happy to answer questions and provide guidance, when possible, related to specific projects. Exploration Commons staff will not create or design files for customers.