The following are a collection of questions that a new member might asked. However, for cultural reasons, we call these "frequently asked" questions even if only one person has done so...
If I wish to visit the FabLab for the first time:
- Do I need to make an appointment? Not usually. No appointment is needed to visit the lab during our open hours. If you have a large group or a special request, please fill out a request to bring a larger group to the lab. If you are requesting a larger group visit, it's a good idea to visit during open hours if possible and see what we can offer.
- Where can I park? As with any place on campus, parking can sometimes be a challenge. There are meters to the north around a circle drive and to the south in the parking lot just next to Art Annex 2. Usually these metered spots do not require money during open hours but please check as these things change from time to time. Furthermore, other spaces in the parking lot to the south are free after normal business hours to non-parking pass holders. Again, please check signs for exact times so you do not get a ticket.
- Is there someone I should ask for? We try to greet every new person who comes into the lab. If we do, ask that person! If we don't, walk straight back and sign in. After that, look for people with nametags or ask around. We always are ready to give a tour of the lab or get you started with your project!
Now that I am inside the FabLab:
- Where do I start? We have a few starter projects that a fab lab volunteer can get you started with. Generally we suggest making a small item on the laser to get you started with Inkscape and comfortable with the lab. You can find some instructions here. Feel free to bring your own project ideas or problems to solve with you though! The volunteers in the lab are happy to help you make your own designs as well.
- Where is the bathroom? In the electronics room (the door nearest the laser) there is a set of stairs up to a door. Go out that door and up the stairs to the bathroom.
- Are there any "free" (scrap) materials that I can play with? Yes! When someone completes a project, the often donate their scrap material back to the lab. These are great for small projects and tests. These are located in bins under the cabinet straight ahead as you enter the lab. In order to keep these free scraps avalible, consider donating your left over material to this collection.
- How do I buy materials that are not free? Ask! There is always someone on duty that can show you what supplies we have and complete your transaction. At this time, we can only accept cash and checks for all purchases and class fees.
- If something is lying out on the bench, can I use it? Maybe. Ask. Sometimes, tools require specific training before you use the tool yourself. Sometimes someone else is using the tool even if it looks like it's been abandoned. Remember, volunteers are there to help you and keep you safe.
- If something is broken or missing, who should I talk to? Again, ask a volunteer. If a machine is doing something strange, make sure you get a volunteer's attention quickly and try to shut down the machine. It never hurts to call out "I need help please!".
After a few visits to the FabLab:
- Can I leave my project-in-progress somewhere in the FabLab? It depends. Again, you'll need to ask. Most laser projects must be moved since the laser is the most popular tool. Modela and electronics projects take the longest time so there are places you can store your projects if needed. If you know your project will take more than one session, make sure you ask about these issues before you start. The laser has a 20 minute limit if the lab is busy so if you know your job will require longer than 20 minutes, you'll want to set up another time to run the design. Otherwise, you'll have to remove your job from the laser which might make it imposible to continue the job later.
And after that:
- How can I get involved with the CU Community FabLab as a volunteer? Keep coming to the lab! All the present volunteers started by visiting and getting hooked. As you visit, you'll learn more and more about the lab and be able to help others. As of now, volunteers needed and if you are interested, join our volunteer listserv to get occasional emails about volunteer opertunities. Also, consider joining a committee if you are interested.