Caring for the Space

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All members are responsible for taking care of Fat Cat Fab Lab's physical space. Everyone must chip in to keep the place clean and organized for others. This includes putting tools and materials back where they belong, making sure power tool batteries get recharged, emptying waste baskets, cutting down scrap material for garbage, sweeping, cleaning off tables, making sure AC's, lights, and equipment are turned off when not in use, taking care of the fridge and kitchenette, etc.

Garbage and Recycling

Bags go out Monday's & Thursday's (except Federal holidays) after 8 PM, directly in front of Cellar Dog (75 Christoper St).

Please be sure to apply an orange Action sticker to each bag/bundle!

Put out up to:

  • 2 black bags of garbage.
  • 1 blue/clear recycling bag of glass/plastic/metal.
  • 1 blue/clear recycling bag of paper.
  • 1 bundle of cardboard. Cardboard should be broken down and taped up into packs.

If it's after 11 PM, look to make sure there are still bags there, otherwise it's too late. Packs go inside the metal fence around the tree in front of 75 Christoper (the garbage people are very specific).

General Lab Maintenance and Cleanup

  • Wipedown and clean tabletops and benches.
  • Sweep and vacuum floors.
  • Empty fridge every Monday (particularly FOOD).
  • Check and replace vacuum bags.
  • Put away misplaced items and tools to where they belong.
  • Put away and restock paper towels.
  • Refill dish soap containers.
  • Refill alcohol and water spray bottles.
  • Refill printer trays with paper.
  • Refill tape guns.
  • Refill label maker catridges.
  • Replace printer ink cartridges.
  • Help out by emptying waste bins into the large garbage bin.
  • Cut down waste materials (scrap wood, acrylic, etc) to hand-size before putting into waste bin. This helps prevent the bags from getting ripped.
  • Sort and toss unusable materials from laser, wood, metal scrap areas.
  • Clean the sink.
  • Check mouse traps.
  • Check and clean air conditioner screens.
  • Make sure windows are closed when air conditoners are on.
  • Make sure air conditioners are turned off every night (last person out).

For any consumable that is low or out, post a message in Slack (#members) so we can order more!


There are 32qt and 70qt bin options for membership storage. Large items must be worked on actively, with Parking Passes updated every three days. There is an Oversize Storage area (PVC Pipe shelf) for large thin items for acrylic. Items stored here must be labelled with the member's name and original date of storage, and each item can only be stored in this shelf for a maximum of three months.

3D Printer Maintenance

Our 3D printers are used heavily. There are certain regular checks that need to be done. Full maintenance and repairs can be found on the 3D Printing page.


Remove the glass plate before oiling. If any oil gets onto the glass, you must clean it, or prints will fail.

The 3D printers need to be oiled when bars are dry. Use sewing machine oil (mineral oil) in the 3d printing area--do not use grease! Apply oil to:

  • X, Y axis beams supporting the head (smooth, shiny)
  • Z axis bars (smooth, shiny)

Actuate the print head to spread the oil around.

Turn on the printer. Navigate to 'Maintenance' -> 'Advanced' -> 'Raise Print Bed'. Once raised, select 'Lower Print Bed' from the same menu.


Leveling is the process of making sure that the print beds are flat and leveled, and that print heads are the right space away from the plate at all points. Follow the directions provided by the printer screen to level the build plate with a Post-It note. Bed should be leveled like when you change the nozzle.

There's a file on each of the Ultimakers in a folder called 'UM-Tools' on most lab SD cards, called 'bedlevel_nozzel_0-4'. Print that, and a square zig-zag should be printed. You can use this to check your level and make on-the-fly adjustments if needed. Visually, and with your finger, test (feel) where is thick and where is thin. During the print, adjust the screws on the bottom of the plate (for Ultimakers), until the lines from the print are even across the plate.

Laser Maintenance

  • Talk to Joe Stilin, David Choi, David Gomez if you are interested in caring for the laser. Here is a list of maintenance tasks that need doing at different intervals.
    • Lens cleaning
    • Mirror cleaning (there are 3, two of which are easy to access)
    • Air filter cleaning/replacement.
    • Beam alignment (this is rarely done, usually after tube replacement)
    • Bed leveling (also rarely needed)
  • Mirror #3 is on the laser head.
  • Mirror #2 is inside the right side of the laser cabinet.
  • Mirror #1 is probably by the laser output.
  • Mirror #3 needs to be checked daily and cleaned if necessary.
  • Mirror #2 needs to checked weekly and cleaned if necessary.
  • Mirror #1 check and cleaning schedule is in the manual.

CNC Router Maintenance

  • Talk to the Board if you are interested in caring for the CNC. Maintenance tasks are:
    • Resurfacing the spoilboard (every 4-6 weeks depending on usage).
    • Greasing the Z ballscrew and Z linear bearings.
    • Greasing X and Y linear bearings.
    • Laser alignment.