What to do when you break something

Posted: August 15, 2018 2:48 pm

We’ve had a few members approach leaders at the makerspace lately to say, “I just broke a machine! What should I do!?” This topic is covered in safety classes but we wanted to reiterate some best practices.

Here are some things you should NOT do:

  1. Have no idea what to do
  2. Leave without doing anything
  3. Blank stare for extended period of time

Here are some things you SHOULD do:

  1. Turn it off.
  2. Unplug it.
  3. Gather information. Examine the situation as best you can. What’s damaged? Will new parts be required?
  4. Notify the area lead via email. Use this page for contact information or just remember the popular emails –
    metalshop@makeict.org for all woodshop operations
    woodshop@makeict.org for all woodshop operations
    fablab@makeict.org for 3D printers, laser cutter, other fablab
    info@makeict.org if in doubt this is the fastest way to inform lots of us and we will forward to the right place
  5. Make a big obvious sign with your name, your contact information, the date, what’s broken. Tape it to the machine in a place that’s obvious to see, like right over the power switch.
  6. Use the lockout/tagout equipment if the machine is unsafe to use.

Be sure to review area policies around maintenance practices before attempting to repair any damage yourself.

If you made a mistake that caused damage we’d appreciate it if you’d pitch in on the repair costs, but this isn’t required, we understand that not everyone is in a financial position to pay for repairs. MakeICT has an equipment repair budget. We don’t want anyone to be afraid to report damage. Tell us what happened!

And finally, always remember that safety classes are free for members. If it’s been a year or two since you got an authorization, it might be time for a refresher. You can ask more questions based on your experiences and gain confidence that you’re using the equipment safely.