Who can be involved with the space?

At present, you must be an active student, faculty, and staff of Columbia to join. Alumni will be accepted soon.

 

Safety Training

Safety training is mandatory for anyone wanting to become a User, and in fact, access to space is prohibited to anyone who hasn’t received this.  These sessions are about 30 minutes and are held multiple times throughout the week.  You do not need to register for these sessions in advance.  Please see the calendar for scheduled safety training sessions.

Once you have received the safety training, you are considered a user.

 

Tool Training

The first step after becoming a user is to be trained on specific tools, and this training is provided by superusers. Every superuser is familiar with and able to train most basic tools in the space, and you are welcome to ask them during their office hours without making an appointment. 

Some tools are more specialized and not every superuser can train them. For those tools, there is typically a subset of superusers that can. Check the list of superusers  to determine which superuser knows which tool, and you may wish to coordinate them for training.  

If you already know how to use a tool, not a problem. Speak with the superuser on duty and demonstrate that you do. They'll be happy to check you off on the tool or provide a refresher if needed.

 

Policies

As a member of the space, you are expected to know and follow these policies:

Safety

  • You must be familiar with and follow the lab safety policies outlined in the safety training. 
  • You must be trained on any tool you use in the space.

  • Ask questions if you are uncertain about any aspect of a tool's operation.  

  • Look out for yourself and your peers. If you see anything dangerous, please report it to a superuser.  

Respect the space

  • Clean up after yourself. This is both being considerate and for safety.  
  • You can only be in the space when a superuser or the lab manager is present. Also respect opening and closing times. See the calendar for listed hours.

  • Do not circumvent any space policy or safety procedure.  

Respect your colleagues

  • Be considerate of other users and superusers in the space.  
  • Share the tools.   

Respect the equipment

  • Do not borrow tools from the space.
  • Use tools for their intended purpose.  

  • Put tools and material back after using them.

  • Refill tools that are empty.  

  • Notify the superuser on duty if the space is low or out of a certain material.  

Materials

  • The space provides many materials (electronic components, cloth, wood, plastic, vinyl, etc.) for you to use. You are welcome to whatever you find in the public bins as long as you are not using a sizable portion of our inventory.  Talk to a superuser for details on what quantities are reasonable.  
  • See the Tools section for specific material limits.

  • If you are using a sizable portion of our inventory, we ask that you bring your own materials. We are happy to recommend suppliers.

Want to get more involved with the space?  Apply to be a superuser!

Users are always welcome and even encouraged to become superusers.  Perks for superusers include 24/7 access to the space, private storage lockers, and working with an amazing community of makers.  

Before applying, make sure you meet all of the criteria:

  • Know the laser cutter and 3D printer well enough to train others on them.

  • Know 3 other tools of your choice well enough to train others on them.  

  • Know the safety policies of the space and specific tools well enough to teach them and promote a safe work environment.  

  • Show that you are capable and willing to teach others

  • Show that you follow the space’s policies (above).

  • Read the superuser responsibilities (below).

  • Be a user for more than 1 month.

  • Know several superusers by name and make sure that they know you.  

 

Once you’re confident that you’ve satisfied this, contact us at surequest_makerspace@columbia.edu and please include the following:

  • A statement that addresses each of the criteria listed above.  

  • Outline a proposed seminar that you would like to offer.  A seminar should be 15+ minutes and focus an a particular application or project associated with a tool in the makerspace.  

  • For the superusers who have met you, remind them who you are.  For example, you may want to include a picture of yourself or share a project that you’ve been working on at the space.

  • For the superusers who haven’t met you, provide a sense of who you are and why you want to join.  

 

You should hear back from us within a week.  If you don't hear from us within this time frame, please followup with us.  If you're accepted, we'll send you a welcome email and include a list of instructions for you to follow to finalize your new position.  If your application is declined, we’ll provide some constructive feedback for improvement, and you will be welcome to reapply in 6 months.

 

Superuser Responsibilities

Super Users make up the core of the makerspace.  We volunteer our time to open the space, maintain tools, promote safety, and help users with their projects.  Superusers have the following responsibilities:

  • Promote safe use of the pace.  

  • Promote a positive and inclusive environment.

  • Assist in cleaning and maintenance of the space.  

  • Provide training to new and existing users.

  • Hold a minimum of 2 office hours a week.

  • You will be allowed 3 unexcused “no shows” and 5 excused “no shows”.  A “no show” means you've posted your office hours, on the calendar and didn't show up, or you didn't post hours at all.

  • Attend monthly superuser meetings.  

  • Hold 1 seminar a semester.

  • Responsible for maintenance for 1 machine in the space.