Idea Studio FAQ
What equipment is available in the Idea Studio?
The Idea Studio’s selection of equipment occasionally changes, as items are added or removed. For a printable handout of current Idea Studio equipment, please see the Idea Studio Menu. For more information on each piece of equipment, please visit our Equipment page.
Who can use Idea Studio equipment?
Most equipment use requires a user to be 13 years old or older and badged. “Badging” is the process by which a user gets trained on a particular piece of equipment. For more information on badging, please visit our badging page. To find out the specific age and badging requirements for a particular piece of equipment, please visit our Equipment page.
Does the Idea Studio provide supplies for using equipment, or do I bring my own?
It depends on the type of equipment. For instance, at this time the Idea Studio provides PLA filament for 3D printer users free of charge. Generally, however, users bring their own supplies. For further details on the supplies provided/needed for particular pieces of equipment, please visit our Equipment page.
As a convenience, the Idea Studio also offers some supplies for sale to users. With very few exceptions (such as the button maker), users are never required to purchase Idea Studio supplies for use on Idea Studio equipment. The Equipment page provides information on supplies for each piece of equipment. For a list of currently available supplies and prices, please see the Idea Studio Menu.
What are the guidelines for using Idea Studio equipment and software?
If a piece of equipment requires badging, the user must have been badged by the Idea Studio in order to use it. A badged user is welcome to bring non-badged users along when working on a project, however the badged user is the one responsible for the safe and proper use of the equipment.
While a project is running on a piece of equipment, the user is responsible for that project and piece of equipment. The user should remain in the space and be aware of the equipment while it is running. Users are welcome to do other things while a piece of equipment is running; however, they should stay in the same room as the piece of equipment, and stay aware of it as it is working on their project.
A user may only use one piece of equipment at a time. If, for instance, a project involves use of both the 3D printer and the laser cutter, the user must wait until the 3D printer has finished printing their job before beginning to use the laser cutter.
All Idea Studio users are expected to be safe, respectful, and responsible in their use of equipment. Staff members are always available during open hours, and are always happy to answer questions regarding proper setup and use of equipment.
During a badging class, users will be introduced to the pieces of software for each piece of equipment that the Idea Studio suggests for use with that piece of equipment. These programs are all loaded onto Idea Studio laptops and available for use. If users desire, they are welcome to explore other software options for use with equipment, however, they should be aware that Idea Studio staff may not be able to provide support and assistance for these pieces of software.
Who can be in the Idea Studio?
The Idea Studio is open to anyone 13 years old or older. Those under 13 are also welcome in the space as long as they come in with a responsible caretaker/guardian who remains in the space with them to supervise them, and as long as they adhere to the general rules of safe and responsible conduct while they are in the Idea Studio.
Do I have to be working on a project to be in the Idea Studio?
Users are welcome to spend time in the space, even if they are not using equipment or working on a project. The Idea Studio is, however, a DIY making space rather than a general hang-out space, so purposeful use of time spent in the Idea Studio is preferred, and those working on projects and using equipment will be given priority use of space, tables, and laptops.
What can someone under 13 or who isn’t badged do in the Idea Studio?
The Idea Studio offers a variety of maker activities and supplies for those who are not badged on equipment. Project bins and craft supplies are available, with new options being rotated in to the line-up. To see our current list of drop-in projects, please visit the drop-in projects section of our Projects page.
Who can use Idea Studio laptops, and for what?
Idea Studio laptops contain all the software necessary for using Idea Studio equipment, and that is their primary intended use. If there are laptops that are not being so used at any given time, they may be made available for use by any user of the space. The use of a laptop by someone who is under 13 is at the discretion of the individual supervising that person.
Use of an Idea Studio laptop does not require logging in with a library card, and laptops do not have time-limited sessions. Users are expected to abide by FDLPL’s computer use policies.
Are food and drink allowed in the Idea Studio?
Users are welcome to bring food and drinks into all areas of the Idea Studio except the Recording Studio. Users are expected to take sensible precautions to keep food from getting on Idea Studio equipment or laptops, and to keep drinks from being spilled.
What is “badging”?
Badging is the process by which a user gets trained on a piece of equipment. Some Idea Studio equipment requires badging before use, some does not. To find out which items require badging, please see the Idea Studio Menu. Badging is a one-time process, either as an in-person class, or through the viewing of training videos followed by a brief in-person skills test. After being badged on a piece of equipment, the badged user is welcome to use that piece of equipment during Idea Studio open hours. All users must be at least 13 years old in order to get badged on any piece of equipment. Some equipment, such as the laser cutter, requires the user to be age 18 or older.
How do I get badged?
There are currently two options for getting badged.
One option is to take an in-person badging class at the Idea Studio. To do this, visit our calendar and sign up for a scheduled badging class. If there is not a scheduled badging class available for a particular piece of equipment, or the class is not at time that you are able to make, please contact the Idea Studio staff to discuss the possibility of scheduling an individual class session.
The other badging option is to watch the badging video(s) for a piece of equipment. Some pieces of equipment have multiple video modules; users should watch each of the videos listed for a particular piece of equipment. Users are welcome to watch the videos as many times as they wish in order to achieve mastery of its content. Once a user feels ready, the user will come into the Idea Studio during open hours and ask a staff member to complete the badging process. This involves filling out and signing the badging sheet, including the safety agreement and use agreement. After the badging sheet is filled out, the staff member will ask the user to complete a few basic tasks to demonstrate understanding of the equipment and its safe and proper use. Please note that not all pieces of equipment have badging videos available.
Completion of the badging process requires the individual being badged to have their own FDLPL library card, and users under 18 will require the signature of a parent or guardian.
If I already know how to use a particular piece of equipment do I still need to go through the training?
All users who have not been badged by the Idea Studio on a piece of equipment must go through the badging process prior to using the equipment, whether or not they are already familiar with that type of equipment. This allows Idea Studio staff to be sure that all users are starting with the same basic information, and are aware of Idea Studio expectations.
Does badging expire?
No. No matter how long it has been since a user has worked with a particular piece of equipment, that user’s badging is still valid. Users who have not used a piece of equipment in a while and are not confident that they remember how to use it correctly are welcome to sign up to take a badging class a second time if they wish, or to watch badging videos, in order to get a refresher on that piece of equipment. Technique Tutorial handouts can also help a user remember specific details for using a piece of equipment, and staff members are always happy to help users with any questions they may have.
What kinds of classes does the Idea Studio offer?
The main Idea Studio classes are badging classes for those interested in getting trained to use equipment. These classes go over the skills and knowledge needed for a user to safely and properly operate a piece of equipment, and include opportunities for the user to interact with the equipment.
Sometimes badging classes are offered in a project-based badging classes format instead. In a class with this format, participants will receive a full badging on the piece of equipment and also have the chance to make a specific project during that class, using that equipment. Project-based badging classes are often helpful for those who learn best by doing, or those who prefer immediate opportunities to practice what they learned.
The Idea Studio also offers classes and projects that do not involve badging. One example of this would be a Saturday Drop-In class, where instructions and materials are provided for making a particular project that does not involve the use of Idea Studio equipment.
How do I find out what classes are available?
Please visit our Calendar page to see the Idea Studio’s monthly class offerings.
Do I need to register for a class? If so, how?
Registration is required for many Idea Studio classes in order to ensure that enough laptops, supplies, or class time is available for each participant to have a successful experience. To register for a class, please visit our Calendar page, find the class you wish to register for, and click on the link for that class. If the class title does not show up as a link, then registration is not required for that class.
If I am interested in a class that is no longer being offered, what are my options?
For many classes, Idea Studio staff have created instructional handouts. These handouts are available in the Idea Studio’s handout rack, or online on our Handouts page. If a particular class does not have a handout, please mention your interest in the class to an Idea Studio staff member. If there is sufficient interest the class may be scheduled again, or a staff member may be able to schedule some time with you to help you work on the project from that class.
Do I have to be using Idea Studio equipment in order to work on a project in the Idea Studio?
Not at all. As a DIY makerspace, the Idea Studio welcomes projects of all kinds.
I have an idea for a project [or] I have a half-finished project, but I need some help. Can a staff member help me?
Although Idea Studio users are ultimately responsible for their own projects, staff members are always willing to assist with ideas and suggestions to the best of their abilities and within the limits of the time they have available. They are happy to answer questions and give advice to help facilitate projects. If a user has a project that may require lengthy consultation, or that requires the expertise of a particular staff member, they are encouraged to contact the Idea Studio staff to arrange a time in advance.
Can I leave an unfinished project in the Idea Studio?
Idea Studio users are responsible for their own items. Users cannot leave personal items in the space at any time. If a user wishes to leave an unfinished project in the space to be finished or picked up later, they should let a staff member know and follow their guidance as to where to store the project and for how long. Users should be aware that staff are unable to guarantee that an unfinished project that is left in the space will still be in the space when the user returns.
Do I have to stay in the Idea Studio the entire time that a piece of equipment that I am using is working on my project?
Yes. While a project is running on a piece of equipment, the user is responsible for that project and that piece of equipment. The user should remain in the space and be aware of the equipment while it is running. Users are welcome to do other things while a piece of equipment is running; however, they should stay in the same room as the piece of equipment, and stay aware of it as it is working on their project.