How Do I Get Authorized?

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Most of the equipment at PS1 requires authorization before you can use it. Look at the equipment label on the thing, to see if it requires authorization or not. Authorization will acquaint you with basic operational and safety procedures, but doesn't generally include extensive instruction on how to best use each piece of equipment. For that, you have several options, including online sources, classes at one of the several Chicagoland organizations that offer them, or a knowledgeable member.

You are responsible for becoming properly authorized, and access to most equipment is mostly via the honor system (the main exceptions being the computer-controlled tools, e.g. the ShopBot or the Epilog, which require that your authorization be recorded on the member site in order to log in to the computer). Negligent or improper use of a piece of equipment can result in loss of access. See the Authorization Policy for details.

Authorization requirements can be found on the wiki page for most pieces of equipment. Tools should have an [Template:EquipmentPage|equipment label] on it that lists the appropriate wiki page URL.

Regularly scheduled authorizations MIGHT be listed on the PS1 calendar for certain things (again, look at the thing's wiki page to see if that might be the case). Other authorizations are done in a few different ways. Viral-type authorizations only need you to find a willing already-authorized member to show you the ropes and sign off on your authorization. Some are handled by an area's volunteer authorizer or a short list of trainers or proctors. Check the specific tool/equipment wiki page. You can try to contact the volunteer authorizer directly, or sometimes the protocol is to post a request on the PS1 mailing list. For further details about the process, visit Authorization: An Overview for New Members

There is a move afoot to transfer some of the burden for authorization and safety awareness for tools and equipment to an LMS (Learning Management System) called. Canvas. Canvas will not encompass all tools, or all aspects of tools, but will probably be adopted for gauging interest in tool authorization, because you'll be able to review safety and pre-authorization requirements online, which is then visible to authorizers, as well as for preliminary pre-authorization 'homework' you can do on your own time, or for simple and not-very-dangerous things, you might be able to meet all the authorization requirements online. Canvas is not ready for use just yet (as of January 2018) but there is an active group of members working on it, and there is a live instance of it running as a PS1 subdomain; meaning that it is addressable at See the Canvas page here on the wiki for a little more information. Why tell you about Canvas if it isn't running yet? So you can volunteer to help make it happen!

See also a list of authorization processes that currently require improvement.

Any tool that has an equipment label has a URL, right on the label, showing you where to look to learn all about that tool including the authorization process and requirements.

For ANY tool, the authoritative process for it's authorization, such as it is, is on the tool's own wiki page. Any mention here of process or requirements is liable to be somewhat out of date, unless that has been updated to a link to the tool. For tool maintainers and wiki maintainers, it's good to convert things to links so that the pertinent information need only bee maintained in one place [a kind of basic design principle for wiki content, don't double-post when you can link.]


Canvas is a learning management system, still in the early stages of deployment at PS1.

Laser Cutter

See the respective pages for each laser: for example. Search for "laser" on the wiki, or look in the CNC category for all tools hosted in that area.

3D Printer

The MakerBot Replicator and 3dSystems CubePro do not require authorization. Other 3D Printers are authorized as specified here.

Cold Metal Machines (Tier 1)

Authorizations for many of the most commonly used metal tools, including the drill press, bandsaw, Johnson bandsaw, chop saw, belt sander, bench grinder, and angle grinders, are bundled together into a single session. Search the calendar for Tier 1 Metals, or contact one of the Tier 1 authorizors ( , or monitor the mailing list. Tier 1 authorization is a prerequisite for authorization on any of the other metalworking tools.

Metal Lathe, Bridgeport, and Gear Head Drill Press

Anna Yu performs authorization for the Clausing Lathe every Tuesday. You must email her first. Her contact info is on the side of the lathe.

Authorizations for the Bridgeport CNC Mill and Boice Crane Drill Press are available on request. Contact the area host or post a request to the mailing list.

Before requesting authorization on these machines, you should complete Tier 1 metals certification.

Hot Metals

Authorizations for various hot metal tools, including the MIG welder, TIG welder, and plasma cutter, are performed on request, often in conjunction with hot metals office hours. It is recommended that you contact the person holding office hours in advance if you are interested in authorization. See the calendar for details, including contact info.

Wood Shop Tools

Authorizations are generally Thursday evenings. Check the events calendar

Sewing Machines

No certification is required for the tabletop sewing machines. For the Singer 20U Industrial Sewing Machine, there is a tutorial video, followed by a required authorization session with Shellie Lewis (Arts & Crafts Area Host). The Singer Serger 14T948DS differential feed sewing machine also requires authorization. Shellie generally holds Arts & Crafts & Digital Media & Knitting office hours weekly and offers instruction then. Check the Google calendar for times and contact information.


There are 2 required classes for complete Shopbot Authorization. The first class is a software-only class to cover CNC concepts and the VCarve software. This class is unlimited capacity, so anyone can attend. The class is a prerequisite for the second class, the hands-on ShopBot authorization, which will be significantly shortened since it will only cover the specifics of the tool itself.

If a class is not scheduled in the calendar, check the mailing list for scheduled sessions. If one has not happened for some time, you would like to request a class for different times than are regularly available, start a new thread requesting a class with a date and time that works for you and contact the ara host or volunteer authorizer.

Front Door

Come to Orientation on the 4th Sunday of the month at 4:00pm and come to a general meeting on Tuesday at 8:00pm and get your ID verified by two board members.