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HackPGH Rules, Regulations, and Everything in Between! (updated May 2018)


  • Members have 24/7 access to the shop.
  • To be considered a member in good standing, one must:
    • Be over eighteen years of age.
    • Pay dues in a timely fashion.
    • Attend at least one shop clean every quarter, or some other qualifying volunteer activity (such as garbage/recycling duty, event volunteering, etc.).
    • Have less than three strikes.
  • All members will have access to HackPGH's Slack Channel. There, you can chat with other members, contact the board, get help on a project, and much more!


  • Guests must sign a waiver of liability to be in the shop. There is a separate waiver for children.
  • Guests cannot use tools or equipment unless they are taking a class.
  • Guests must be accompanied by a member in good standing, except during Open Shop nights and/or another Board-approved time.
  • Only HackPGH members can use shop tools and equipment (Certain classes offered by HackPgh may allow exceptions for this)
  • Visitors and individuals attending classes must follow all rules and guidelines
  • No one under the age of 18 is allowed in the shop unless accompanied by an adult parent or guardian.
  • No children seven and under are allowed in the shop, and no children under fourteen permitted on the "dirty" side. Sorry, no exceptions!

Conflict Resolution

We abide by the Bill and Ted philosophy: "Be excellent to one another." However, we understand that with a growing membership and a growing shop, disagreements and mistakes may happen.

  • HackPGH has a Strike Policy to reinforce safety and harmony in the shop.
    • A member will receive one strike if they break one of the rules listed herein or if and when the Board deems it necessary.
    • The strike remains in place for six months.
    • After three months, the member's slate is clean unless they break another rule within the original six-month period.
    • Three strikes and you are OUT.
    • A member with any number of strikes may not run for a position on the Board of Directors.
    • The Board has the discretion to revoke the membership of anyone who is not obeying the rules of the shop.
  • Confrontation and Anonymous reporting
    • Anyone can ask anyone else to stop and verify that what they are doing is safe.
    • Is someone bothering you? Talk to them about it -- and be excellent while doing so. This is a pretty important step, and it usually has the desired effect. It should not be skipped if at all possible.
    • Did that not work? Seek assistance from one of the Board Members by either pulling them aside or emailing info @ our The Board will respond to you within 24 hours.
    • If you wish to report harassment anonymously or privately, use this contact form
    • Anonymously reporting should only be used for grievous rule-breaking and/or harassment.

Shop Storage, Donations, and Parking Tags

  • Every member may keep tools and project materials in a 12-gallon bin. We recommend the tote from HackPGH (SKU: 108653).
  • HackPGH is NOT a storage facility!
  • Project materials and personal tools that cannot fit in a bin must be clearly marked by one of the Parking Tags listed below and are subject to time limitations.
  • As a 501(c)3, HackPGH is always on the lookout for tools and useful materials to help our members Make! We will happily provide a tax-deduction receipt to anyone who donates money or tools to our space. However, there is a difference between donation and storage.
    • All donations must be approved by a Board Member OR claimed by another member for for a specific purpose. If you have an item(s) you wish to donate to the shop, contact the Board by emailing info@ our, or post the item on HackPGH's "needs and wants" and/or "general" channel to see if any of the members can use it. Once a member has claimed a donated item, they must tag it appropriately with one of the Parking Tags listed below.
    • If the items are not approved by the Board and/or accepted by another member, they cannot be brought into the shop! Try contacting Construction Junction if your local waste management department will not haul away the material(s).
  • Parking Tickets
    • Parking Permit (green): This tag should be used for any personal items or materials used on a project that cannot fit in a bin. Parking Permits have a fourteen-day time limit. If a project runs over the monthly limit, the member must get board approval to get another Parking Permit.
    • Parking Ticket (pink): Items that are left over a month, blocking a walkway, or missing a Parking Permit (or other acceptable tags) will be marked with a Parking Ticket. If an item has a Parking Ticket for over fourteen days, the property will be considered abandoned and either disposed of or declared "Up For Grabs."
    • Up For Grabs (blue): Donations or items tagged with a Parking Ticket over fourteen days will be given an "Up For Grabs" tag. This means that any member can take or use the item in question. Items with an Up For Grabs tag have a time limit of two weeks. After these two weeks, the item will be disposed of.
    • Borked or Broken (orange): This tag is used for tools or equipment that is not functioning in the way it is intended, signaling for the Board or other members to repair it. No one may use an item with a Borked or Broken tag until it is repaired!
    • Project Invitation (yellow): Items or tools with the Project Invitation tag are items used for a specific project by a member who needs either help, assistance, or advice. There is no time limit on Project Invitation tags.

Garbage/Recycling Disposal

  • HackPGH has no employees, so it's up to all of us to keep the shop clean!
    • A clean shop is a SAFE shop. Leave all machines, tools, and shop areas as clean as you found it. Report all broken items to the Board and tag it with a "Borked or Broken" ticket.
    • If you eat in the shop, make sure all food and beverages are properly disposed of and/or put away. In the summer, open containers and garbage invite ants and fruit flies!
    • Due to past abuses, the Board of Directors will be checking the security cameras if they find large amounts of debris, broken tools, and/or exceptionally dirty areas.
    • Those who do not clean up after themselves will be given a strike.
  • Garbage
    • There are several garbage cans throughout the shop, and one large green bin in the parking lot. To avoid insects, place all full garbage bags in the green bin!
    • City trash collection for the shop is Monday night. There is a whiteboard schedule for garbage/recycling duty on the whiteboard in the lounge area. Volunteering for this chore counts towards your volunteer/shop clean hours and helps keep your membership in good standing!
      • Trash should be deposited: at the front of the building on Fifth Avenue on the sidewalk to the left of Avenu's driveway. Garbage and recycling MUST be taken out of the large bins because the garbage collectors will not pick them up!
      • Fresh garbage bags are located in the kitchenette area, on the bottom of the wire rack shelf set: black and white bags should be used for trash, blue for recycling.
  • Recycling
    • There is a blue recycling bin under the kitchenette where members can dispose of glass, plastic, and cans.
    • There is a wooden box for clean cardboard and paper recycling. Do NOT place pizza boxes in here!
    • Full recycling bags can be taken out to HackPGH's large recycling bin in the parking lot.

Emergencies, First Aid, and Fire Protection

  • In case of emergency, call 911. Do not speak to the press, and contact a Board Member immediately.
  • No sleeping at the shop! This rule is pretty simple: the shop is not your home. You are always welcome to work or hang out no matter what the time of day (or night). But if you get tired, go home and sleep!
  • There are two First Aid Kits, one in each side of the shop. There is also an Emergency Eye Wash Station across from the welding area. .
  • There is a Health and Wellness Box on the shelf next to the kitchenette filled with bandages, OTC medicines, flashlights, finger splints, and much more. If possible, please use the supplies from this box before using the First Aid Kits.
  • There are five Fire Extinguishers throughout the shop: three in the shop, and two in the classroom. All extinguishers are clearly marked and inspected annually.
    • All Fire Extinguishers are powder, ("ABC") except for the one next to the laser cutter, which is a CO2 Extinguisher (for flammable liquids and electrical fires).

Shop Safety

Shop safety rules are in place to protect everyone. What is safe in your studio or at your job might not be safe at Hack PGH, our rules apply at the shop. All HackPGH members are required to do a safety tour after joining. Please note, we do have security cameras both inside and outside of the shop for our members' safety!

  • No food or drinks in the tool area!
  • Do not work alone when using any power/machine tools. Use the buddy system!
  • Guideline: Try to avoid working alone in general, if possible.
  • No fire art, pyrotechnics, or other dangerous/flammable projects inside the building. (Heat-based tools are okay)
    • Example: no fire spinning or fireworks, but a hand torch for soldering copper is fine as long as it is done properly.
  • No illegal projects
  • No RF jammers, pirate radio transmitters
  • Nothing that would get you arrested if someone complained, such as realistic looking airguns or fake bombs.
  • Loud Stuff
    • Our landlords live upstairs. They like us and we'd like to keep it that way!
    • Keep the music down and loud tools off from 12am-9am on weekdays, and 2am-9am on weekends.
    • Scheduled classes and events take precedence over personal projects and music: turn it down or put it off until the class is over.
  • Clothing
    • When in doubt, wear eye protection!
    • Shirts and shoes must be warn at all times!
    • No long sleeves, loose hair, jewelry, gloves, or other snag-able items when using the lathe, mill, or power tools.
    • Guideline: No long sleeves, necklaces or jewelry, or loose clothing at all
    • No gloves or rags on equipment with moving parts: lathe, drill press, mill, saws
    • Use discretion when wearing open-toed shoes and/or sandals.
  • Clean/inspect tools before plugging them in and after use.
  • There are instructions on most large tools on how to clean them properly. Contact a Board Member if you have any questions about safe tool use and cleaning.
  • Tag out any suspect tools with a "Borked or Broken" ticket on the switch. Unplug the tool and contact the Board Member.
  • Clean up the waste after you work. This includes vacuuming, sweeping, wiping down tables, etc. If you do not have time to clean up after yourself, you do not have time to use the tool!

Work Room, Class Room/Kitchenette, and Storage Room

  • Since March 2018, HackPGH expanded into the space next door, leaving us with a separate Work Room, Class Room/Kitchenette, and Storage Room.
    • The Work Room includes the laser printer, CNC machine, wood shop, metal shop, etc.
    • The Class Room includes large tables and chairs for computer work and Members Meetings, ALL printers (including plotters, 3D printers, and paper printers), fabrication station, and electronics station.
    • The Storage Room can be found up the stairs from the Class Room.
    • Please keep all food and drink in the Class Room/Kitchenette areas. Beginning Summer 2018, we will be renovating and moving a lot of items around. Subsequently, this section may be edited as needed.

Food and Beverages in the Kitchenette

  • Beverages are available for purchase in the fridge. Prices are listed on a sign on the fridge door. Pay by using the "box of paymetization."
  • Bottled water is free. Try to keep our plastic consumption down by refilling your bottles at the cooler by the window.
  • The vending machine has snacks and items for purchase.
  • Beer may be brought in and consumed by members 21 or over. Take a beer, leave a beer!
  • Snacks that cannot fit in the vending machine are located in a box above the microwave. Prices are listed on the outside of the box. "box of paymetization." If the Board notices that people are not paying for their snacks, this box will be removed.
  • A popcorn machine is located in the kitchenette. Members MUST clean up after themselves when making popcorn! If we continue to find popcorn on the tables and floors, the popcorn machine will be removed.
  • K-Cups (coffee, tea, etc.) are free for all members. Please keep the Keurig clean!
  • Members may keep small meals in the fridge for a limited period of time. Unclaimed food items will be thrown out on the regular.
  • The Board of Directors will periodically refill the fridge and vending machine. Members should let the Board know ASAP if food or beverages are running low! Do NOT wait until there is nothing left!

Specific Rules about Tools

  • No dangerous materials - use common sense!
    • Noxious fumes (including paint, stain, bondo, etc.)
      • The ventilation for the building is interconnected. Do not spray paint or use anything with fumes in the building.
      • You MAY paint or use the above-mentioned materials outside, but please ensure that your items are dry before re-entering the shop.
  • No working on radioactive or regulated materials, including using thorium electrodes
  • Guideline: Test sources for Geiger counters are okay as long as they are clearly marked and stored safely.
  • Galvanized steel is okay to drill, but is not okay to weld
  • No fireworks, explosives, gunpowder, black powder or similar flammables
  • Wood is not always safe, plywood and MDF have glues, walnut and some hardwoods have residual oils. Control the dust generated when cutting wood. If in doubt, look up the *MSDS for what you're working with!
  • Lathe - Classes will be offered on this periodically. Check the Calendar for dates.
  • Drill press - Takes 5-10 minutes, can be done after any meeting or safety tour.
  • Mill - Classes will be offered on this periodically. Check the Calendar for dates.
  • Locked-out machines cannot be used, they are marked for repair or inspection
  • Do not use compressed air to clean chips from a cutting tool
  • Use clamps to hold material on drill presses, the lathe, mill, etc.
  • Use clamps with hand tools when possible
  • Welding, glass, and hot work
    • Ensure work area is properly ventilated
    • Verify that everyone within indirect line of sight has appropriate visual and physical protection
    • Hand torches for brazing and soldering copper are considered welding in terms of safety


  • Guideline: use lead-free solder
  • If using leaded solder:
    • Verify ventilation.
    • Warn people nearby.
    • Do not touch your face, eat, or drink while working.
    • Wash your hands and thoroughly clean up your work area when you are done soldering.
  • Eye protection is encouraged for anyone soldering or working near someone who is soldering
  • All soldering irons are always considered hot. Use caution.

Looking for a rule, regulation, or guideline that isn't listed here? Contact the Board of Directors via Slack or email us at info@ our!