THERE ARE several important practical matters to think about when prototyping. First and foremost, before working in a machine or woodworking shop, we need to prepare by learning basic shop safety lessons. We thus start this appendix with a brief overall summary of shop safety. Then we discuss how we select materials, build things, and choose fasteners, as we build models and prototypes.


Safety in the workshop is critically important. Power tools can easily cause dismemberment and death. A moment's inattention can lead to a permanent change in lifestyle and career. Take these safety warnings seriously:

  • Do not use equipment or machinery for which you have not been trained.
  • Use protective gear and dress properly.
  • Do not use power or machine tools when you are tired or intoxicated.
  • Always have a buddy with you in the shop.

Almost all machine tools come with brochures that detail their safe use. Read that documentation. The time you spend may save you a finger or an eye. Most facilities have training programs or videos available, so be sure to ask for them and use them. In fact, you are often not allowed to use machinery or shops until you have passed the safety training. Do not try to bypass or cheat on the training. The main rule is: Keep your body parts away from sharp moving objects. There is almost always ...

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