students wearing safety equipment in a machine shop

Safety Training for All Learning Factory Spaces

The Learning Factory spaces are the hands-on makerspaces for the College of Engineering and are located in the new Engineering Design and Innovation Building on West Campus. We support coursework, research activities, and “passion projects” that interest our students, faculty, and staff. We provide access to a wide variety of tools and equipment, from hand tools to laser cutters, mills to an embroidery machine. All students in the College, with appropriate training, are eligible to use the facility. You must have our basic Safety Training to use any of our spaces.  For information on our additional training, see our Other Training page.


Note that Safety Training completed in the Learning Factory is valid only for work in the Learning Factory. I.e., our training can not be used to replace training in other research and fabrication labs on campus.


There are two components to our Basic Safety Training. The first occurs online: you read the materials on this page, watch a video, and take an online quiz. The second must occur in the Learning Factory on West Campus in the new Engineering Design and Innovation Building. The on-site training must occur after successful completion of the online portion.

Safety Guidelines – Online Training

Safety certification requires that all users of the facility have knowledge of the following:

  1. Learning Factory Safety Regulations
  2. Location and use of the emergency power cut-off switches within the shop
  3. Location of available telephones within the Learning Factory and the phone numbers of emergency services
  4. Location of first aid resources within the Learning Factory
  5. Location and use of fire extinguishers
  6. Hot work, non-powered tools, PPE, and power hand tools

 Safety Rules and Regulations

For everyone's protection, the following safety regulations must be observed while in the manufacturing shop of the Learning Factory:

  1. OSHA approved safety glasses or goggles must be worn in all areas of Learning Factory. Safety glasses must have wrap-around side shields. It is preferred that students provide their own glasses, although some are available in the Learning Factory for use while in the space. Cleaning them is your responsibility.
  2. Only students who have completed both the online and on-site safety trainings are permitted to work in the shop.
  3. Long pants, short sleeve shirts, and socks are required while in the shop area. Shorts, dresses, dangling or loose clothing will not be tolerated for safety reasons. Neckties must be removed.
  4. Shoes must have closed toes, and cover the entire foot. Protective spats should be worn in the welding areas. Over-the-ankle work shoes with steel toes are strongly recommended.
  5. Long hair must be tied back so that it will not fall into a machine or your work area.
  6. All jewelry (rings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, etc.) must be removed.
  7. Instruction manuals for all machines are available upon request. If you have any doubts or questions, ask for assistance before operating machines.
  8. Please respect others in the lab. If a class is in session, do not use any loud machinery.
  9. Working alone is prohibited.
  10. Do not attempt to repair or alter machines at any time. If there is a problem, notify shop personnel immediately and do not operate the machine.
  11. Anyone working in an unsafe manner will be asked to leave immediately and their working privileges will be revoked.
  12. It is strictly prohibited to be in the Learning Factory while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Anyone found in the facility under the influence will have his/her privileges permanently revoked.
  13. Please respect and preserve the facility. Clean up your own mess and return tools to their proper place.

Tool Checkout and Resource Clean Up Procedures

Many resources within the Learning Factory are equipped with a dedicated set of precision tools. Students are responsible for using these tools properly, cleaning them when done with their use, and returning them to the appropriate storage cabinet. If tools are damaged during a session, students are to immediately report this to a Learning Factory representative. Standard cutting tools (e.g., drill bits) are provided. Users are required to sharpen all tools after use. Machines are provided for sharpening of drill bits. In the case of excessive breakage caused by improper usage (two or more broken items), users will be asked to replace the broken items. To maintain a clean, safe working environment, it is a student's responsibility to clean up their work area after completion of their session. Brooms, dustpans, and shop vacs are provided.


Students are expected to provide their own construction materials and supplies. A limited supply of materials is available for student use in the Learning Factory. These materials are donated by industrial sponsors or purchased by the Learning Factory and may vary in availability, quantity, and quality. A restocking fee will be charged for the use of these materials.

Fees for Equipment Usage

There is no fee for using the machine tools (e.g., mill, lathe, saw, grinder, CNC mill), laser cutters, and hand tools. The inexpensive additive manufacturing machines (e.g., the Prusa Machines) are also available free-of-charge, although you must remain with the machine while it prints.

The other additive manufacturing machines and the water jet will be charged the replacement cost for all materials used and are detailed below. Full material replacement costs will be charged for research projects (graduate and undergraduate), clubs, faculty, and course development. Learning Factory-supported undergraduate engineering course projects will be charged at 50% of the replacement cost listed below.

  • FDM: Material replacement cost is $16 per cubic inch
  • Polyjet: Material replacement cost is $1.20 per gram
  • Water Jet: Material replacement cost is $8 per minute

Once you are familiar with the content above, please watch the video here:

After you complete the training, you must agree to the terms of use for the Learning Factory and take the quiz. Note that you must score 100% on the quiz, so review the materials above and the video carefully!


Good luck! Be safe.


On-Site Training

Learning Factory on West Campus

Your training is associated with your Penn State ID. Each time you access the Learning Factory you will need to “swipe into” the space with your ID at the kiosk outside the door. If you don’t have your ID you will not be allowed access to the shop.

To complete your in-person training you will participate in a scavenger hunt. It asks you to identify the location of specific devices in the space, including things like the fire extinguisher and the first aid kit. You will need your mobile phone and to be on-site at the Learning Factory. 




 Faculty Staff Directory

Other Training

Click here for more information about our other training and to schedule training on our booking page.



Our mission is to help bring the real-world into the classroom by providing engineering students with practical hands-on experience through industry-sponsored and client-based capstone design projects. Since its inception, the Learning Factory has completed more than 1,800 projects for more than 500 different sponsors, and nearly 9,000 engineering students at Penn State University Park participated in such a project.

The Learning Factory

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802