Access to all the key tools, technology, and training that you will need to build your designs.
The Machine Workshop is a hands-on makerspace. We provide access to all the key tools, technology, and training that you will need to build your designs. At the Machine Workshop you can work with materials like timber, foam, plastics and aluminium on a range of machines like bandsaws, drop-saws, thicknessers, routers and a whole range of hand tools.
We believe that it is critical for every designer to understand how things are constructed, and the best way to learn is to build it yourself. We pride ourselves on providing you with all the support you need from a range of local experienced makers, such as furniture designers, architects, fabricators and woodworkers. We have helped students create furniture, full scale building mockups, prototypes and architectural models to name a few. If you have an idea for a project you want to create, we’ll be able to help you build it. So come in and have a chat.
Our facilities are open to all students and staff from the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning; both undergraduate and postgraduate. All you need to do is complete the Safety Training.
The Machine Workshop is open Monday through Thursday from 1:00pm - 5:00pm during Semester 1 & 2 to students that have completed Level 1&2 Inductions. During busy parts of the semester these times may be extended.
Have you done your Level 0 & 1 inductions yet? Complete them at the Training Center.
Plunge Cut Saw
Radial Arm Saw
Random Orbital Sander
Sliding Arm Saw
Wood Turning Lathe
The Machine Worksop is a hands-on makerspace providing access to a range of tools and technologies for you to operate and experiment with your own hands.
Many of the tools within the Machine Workshop are dangerous. To access the Machine Workshop you must complete:
- Level 00 MSD Building Induction
- Level 01 Safety Induction (Online)
- Level 02 In-person Safety Induction
- Level 03 Machine Specific Safety Induction (1:00pm - 2:00pm daily or by appointment)
All training must be refreshed every year.
If you want to use the power tools you must complete the Level 03 Safety Induction for each specific machine. This training will then be recorded on your personal digital training record.
Safety Induction System
If you have a desire to create we want you to have the opportunity to access and use equipment yourself as quickly and easily as possible in all the MSD Makerspaces. To achieve this we have developed a three tier safety induction system that is easily tailored to the varying safety risks of each area. Meaning you get access quickly while still ensuring a safe environment for everyone. You only need to complete the higher tier inductions if you need access to higher risk equipment.
Level 00 – MSD Online Building Induction
To get swipe access to the MSD Building and Baldwin Spencer Building you must agree to the conditions of use set out in the Level 00 – MSD Online Building Induction.
Level 01 – Safety Induction (Online)
This induction introduces and assesses your understanding of general safety principles and procedures that must be adhered to in all ABP Makerspaces. If you want access to any of these spaces you must successfully complete the Level 01 – Safety Induction (Online).
Level 02: In-person Safety Induction
This in person safety induction provides a tour of all ABP Makerspaces demonstrating safety procedures and features such as emergency stop buttons and fire extinguishers. You will also learn basic safe use of hand tools allow you to book equipment like power drills and hand saws. Completing this induction will grant you access to the advanced hand tools in the Forbo Model Making Space, the Robotics Lab (G23) and the Machine Workshop (G24).
Level 03 – Safety Induction (In person)
These in person safety inductions are specific to machines with higher safety risks, such as power tools and the industrial robots. After completing the Level 03 induction for each machine you will have access to operate that machine yourself. Level 03 training is provided individually for each machine so that you only need to spend time training for the tool you want to use. If you want access to others simply complete the Level 03 for that machine.
Materials & chemicals can be dangerous
For safe handling and disposal please refer to the specific MSDS Located on the Workshop website.
Cannot find the right MSDS or have a new material?
The material may not be safe to use, or we haven’t assessed it yet. We recommend using a known material as a substitute. If you must use an unknown material, please:
- Acquire the correct Safety Data Sheet from the manufacturer
- Email the SDS to firstname.lastname@example.org and request a review
- Wait for review and response... this may take several days
- If approved, it is safe to use in the Workshop
The full library of training information for all making and design equipment in the Melbourne School of Design is provided in the Training Centre.
The Machine Workshop is a window into the worlds of model making, woodworking, carpentry, and construction. It takes many years of training to understand the tools, techniques, and develop the skills to become a master at any of these trades. Our focus is to expose students to a wide breadth of techniques and hopefully inspire a lifelong appreciation of making.
The Machine Workshop is an environment that requires hands-on building by you under direct supervision and guidance by our staff. Below is our guide to follow prior to starting a build.
The Process of Making
Complete the Safety Inductions
Without completing the Level 01 & Level 02 Safety Inductions will not be allowed in the Machine Workshop.
Sketch out an idea of what you’d like to make
This can be a rough hand sketch of a shape or form, drawing of a piece furniture, Rhino model, or even just an idea of what you’d like to make. If you’ve never made anything before feel free to come ask the Machine Workshop staff about the process.
Determine you timeframe
What’s your timeframe for completion?
This is a critical step that can quickly disregard your intricate sketch or expectations. Even after over 10 years of making I find it is hard to estimate how long things take to complete. A good rule from a former coworker on model making was “Estimate it, double it, and add a day” Whilst this initially sounds excessive, taking into consideration Level 3 machine inductions, material purchasing, and inevitable mistakes it’s not hard to understand the origin of this estimate. The Machine Workshop staff are happy to discuss timeline expectations with you before beginning work.
Get specific about materials and costs
What is the projects scale, materiality, budget?
Add dimensions to your drawing or sketch to communicate intended scale. The size and material type will inform the cost estimating.
- The cheapest material is MDF, followed by Plywood, then pine, with Hardwood being the most expensive.
- Plywood works well when long flat areas are needed, it’s stronger, denser and more resilient than MDF.
- Hardwoods are typically used for making furniture, because of their strength, density, and beauty.
- The Fablab website has a list of prices for all materials we sell,including MDF & Plywood, excluding pine and hardwoods which must be purchased from outside suppliers.
- We often have extra materials for free that students can use so feel free to ask a Workshop staff member about availability.
Check with workshop staff about your project's feasibility
If you haven’t discussed your project with a Workshop Staff member now is the time to do that. We can go over your sketch, timeframe, scale, materiality, and budget. Once we understand these things we can then advise on the best methods for building.
Purchase your materials
Acquire your material from the Fablab or outside suppliers.
Build your project!
Open Access for making is from 1pm-5pm daily during semester. You will need to have completed your Level 1 & 2 Inductions prior to entering the Machine Workshop and can complete your Level 3 Machine Inductions during Open Access as we guide you on completion of your project.
Cleanup and storage
The Machine Workshop has limited storage and you must check with workshop staff about storing your pieces. Cleaning up dust and debris, returning tools and equipment, and properly disposing of materials is an expected daily process within the Workshop.
How do I get access to the Machine Workshop?
Access to the Machine Workshop is restricted to students and staff who have completed Level 1 and Level 2 inductions. Students wanting to use the larger power tools must complete Level 3 inductions for each specific machine.
Does the Fablab/Machine Workshop provide materials?
We have materials for purchase, with prices listed on our website. The Machine Workshop typically has offcuts of plywood and pine free to use, just check with staff before grabbing material.
Can I grab a hand-tool from the Machine Workshop and use it in the Model-Making Space?
No, any tools from the Machine Workshop are to be used exclusively in the Machine Workshop, unless otherwise authorised.
Where is the Machine Workshop located?
The Machine Workshop is located within the Fabrication Workshop(i.e FabLab) on the ground floor of the MSD building in room G23.
When can I use the Machine Workshop?
The Machine Workshop Open Access is 1:00-5:00 Monday through Friday during Semester.
Who can get access to the Machine Workshop?
All Melbourne University students, faculty, and staff can use the Workshop during Semester, after completing the required Inductions.
Will you help build my project?
We encourage every student to learn how to use the wide array of tools/machines in the Machine Workshop to build their own projects. However, we are happy to help with tasks that require more training and experience.
Is there access between Semesters?
Access between Semester is by appointment only.
Can I work on my own personal/commissioned project?
You can work on personal projects, and we encourage experimentation, so long as it doesn’t infringe on other students making projects for their Subjects. We don’t allow production or for profit work within the Machine Workshop.
For more information about the Machine Workshop, please contact:
David Fedyk (Machine Workshop Coordinator)
T: +61 3 9035 6598
Extended Workshop Hours
Week 3-13: August 12th - Nov. 1st
*Reminder* Level 2 Induction Required, Inductions Reset Every Calendar Year.