Metal Essentials will teach you some basic principles you need to know before you work with metals and show you how to work accurately and safely using some key metal working tools.

The course begins with some basic information about the properties of metals, and how they differ from wood. Once you've learnt these steps, you'll be ready to come down to the Lab for the practical part of the course. This will teach you how to use the hydraulic guillotine, mill/drill press, spot-welder, magnetic pan folder and slip roll. You'll then be able to use all these tools for yourself.

Please be sure to concentrate when you go through the following points, as you'll need to pass a short quiz before you can book a place on the practical part of the course. The booking form immediately follows the quiz - IF you get enough of the answers right!
You should only need about 5 minutes to go through the points, and 5 minutes to complete the quiz.

We all use metal tools and objects all the time, but most people have much less experience of working with them. Metals have very different properties to more commonly used materials like wood. Most obviously they tend to be much stronger, heavier and harder to machine and form. This offers new opportunities, for thin but strong structures, but also poses new challenges. In particular there are various hazards you need to be aware of before working with metals.

Metals like steel and aluminium are tough, and they put up a fight! There is much you can do with well-designed hand tools like hacksaws, files and tin snips, but often you will be working with machine tools like the guillotine or Mill/Drill. Metal machine tools are typically more powerful than wood-specific counterparts, but they usually share the same common hazards - which is why we have grouped all our analogue machine tools together in the Machine Room. They almost all pose hazards involving entanglement, flying particles and material. This is why we keep to blanket rules for working in the Machine Room. Remember that:

You cannot enter the machine room unless you are wearing Safety Glasses, your hair, clothes and jewellery are contained, and you are wearing robust leather footware or safety shoes, with full-length socks.

Before you work with metals, you need to be clear that they also pose further specific hazards:

* When you cut metal, it often shears the material and leaves a very sharp edge called a burr on the underside of the cut. So:

Always wear the cut-resistant gloves we provide when working with sheet metal.