The Maker Lab is run as part of the Schools Maker/Innovation Interdisciplinary Program. One or more ML Staff members and Affiliated Faculty members assist the ML Director with the management of the ML facilities and programs. Several Teaching Assistants (TAs) are also employed to staff the lab, assist Lab users, maintain equipment, etc. Volunteer "ML Coaches" also assist with running the lab primarily in terms of assisting Lab users, typically while ML TAs and/or Staff are managing use of the Lab; Senior ML Coaches are authorized to host a limited number of Lab open hours.
- For extensive in-Lab lectures/labs/exercises that involve hands-on work and tool use, course TAs (as opposed to the ML TAs) are typically required to provide supervision of such activities; this means that the course TAs need to have appropriate ML skills and supervisory capabilities, typically equivalent to that required for a ML Coach designation. It is noted that this means such class TAs should have significant ML experience PRIOR TO the quarter of the class that they are supervising.
- Courses may not require use of the entire Lab. In general, the Lab may still be open for general use. On occasion, with the approval of the ML Director), certain tools/machines may be designated as having priority use for students in the course.
- Extensive use may also require that the course (e.g., the departments running the courses) provide funds to cover use of 3D printer materials if they are used. Additional materials to be provided to students must typically be coordinated and acquired by the class TAs.
- For a course requiring Lab open hours beyond those routinely scheduled, it may be possible to accommodate those requests if made far enough in advance. Another option, however, is for a course TA (not an ML TA) with Senior Coach status (graduate student standing) to run a limited set of open hours sessions. Timing can be a function of the needs of the course; however, these times will be posted as open hours for the general community as well.
- Course materials may not be left in the Maker Lab outside of class hours. For courses that require significant auxiliary equipment/materials, instructors are encouraged to use carts for transporting such items into/out of the Lab.
- For single session activities that can bypass the completion of standard training modules, the level of orientation and training given the activities planned and tools to be used should be reviewed with ML Staff.
- First, that person may not use equipment that is safety-critical and which requires direct hands-on manipulation of tasks, such as power hand tools, benchtop drill press, benchtop mitre and band saws, etc. Use of the laser cutters and 3d printers are permitted since these are stand-off computer controlled machines.
- Second, that person must notify an "on-call" buddy if he/she engages in any tool/machine use while alone in the Lab. The duty of the on-call person is to take action if the lab worker doesn't check in periodically as well as at the end of the work period. Action begins with trying to reach the lab worker to ensure that he/she is safe. If that person can't be contacted, then other members of the ML Management Team and/or Campus Safety should be contacted to check the state of the ML locations.
- Remnants: Remnant materials from prior projects and/or vendors may be available for free. The types of stock available varies widely but generally include materials such as plywood and acrylic.
- 3D Printer Material for Academic Use: 3D printer material may often be used for "free" by students for curricular and co-curricular projects. In reality, this use is often tracked and the sponsoring department or program that hosts these activities provides the funds directly to the Lab to support the acquisition of these materials. The number and volume of these prints - both individually and collectively - may be limited. Academic use beyond those levels may require students to pay for the resulting excess material.
- 3D Printer Material for Personal Use: For ease of management of the 3D printers and their materials, a limited amount of 3D printer material for personal use may be provided for free. This, however, is a courtesy. For large prints and/or for numerous prints over time, students will be required to pay for material. A material cost calculator is available such that students can estimate the cost of their prints prior to executing them. The threshold for material volume that triggers these charges is posted in the Lab and/or is communicated by the Lab teaching staff. Furthermore, abuse of this courtesy (such as having other students print on one's behalf in order to circumvent this policy, etc.) may result in the loss of free printing privileges for personal use.
- Commercial Use: The ML may not be used to support the production of items for commercial sale or use, unless approved by the ML Director. Industrial use is possible through the industrial partnership program, but such use is oriented towards educational mentoring of students and sponsored R&D. Innovation contests with a sales component may also be hosted in the ML given their integration into the maker/innovation educational program.
- Large Scale Production: The ML is not a production facility in the sense that it is not equipped, managed or financed to support the manufacture of a large number of items and/or items with substantial manufacturing times. Projects with manufacturing times on the order of 10's of hours or more for 3D printers and/or laser cutters require approval of the ML. Approval for projects requiring 100+ hours of machine time are routinely rejected. Given the current Lab operating model, requests of this type that are approved require early coordination, a manufacturing plan addressing schedule and personnel issues, consideration of other users, and monetary support to defray costs of machine maintenance and degradation.
For service animals, it is recommended that Lab users with service animals notify Lab managers prior to using the Lab so that policies regarding service animals can be made clear and the potential for additional accommodations can be assessed. Students requiring a service animal a) should take ML hazards into consideration when making decisions about their animal, and b) assume responsibility for all risks involved in the use of their service animal in lab areas, including the risk of exposure to hazardous materials and objects to their service animal.
Service animals should remain in the "classroom" end of the Lab when present. If there is a need for the animal to enter the "machine" end of the Lab for any significant period of time (e.g., longer than simply walking through the area), the animal will be required to wear booties and safety goggles; additional protective gear may be required given the type of animal and activities being performed in the Lab. Furthermore, a service animal can be excluded or asked to leave the room if its behavior is dangerous or significantly interferes with activities that are unrelated to the job or task that the service animal is performing, or if the presence of the animal will fundamentally alter the nature of the learning outcome. If there is a belief that a fundamental alteration exists due to the presence of a service animal in the Lab, this decision will be made in collaboration with the Office of Accessible Education.