General Information

**Before entering our plastic shop location students should read the following information.**
Shop Technicians are here to maintain a clean, safe work environment and guide you in the learning process. Students must adhere to the rules and requests of the VPA Shop’s staff, as those rules are in place to ensure the safety of everyone using the shops. If you are at all unclear about any policies or how to safely and properly use a tool, please ask a shop technician first.  We strive to be an inclusive, intimidation-free shop. There are no dumb questions, especially when it comes to your safety!
**A technician will be available during all open hours**

 Appropriate Dress for Plastic Shops:

  • Proper eye protection must be worn when using any hand tool, power tool, or within close proximity to anyone else working with the same.
  • Closed-toed shoes must be worn at all times when in the shop, closed-toed sandals or flimsy footwear do not count. Boots are preferred. 
  • Heels over 1” in height are not safe to wear while working in the shop.
  • Long hair must be tied back.
  • No loose-fitting clothing.
  • Jewelry and other accessories, including rings necklaces bracelets and watches, must be removed.
  • Hearing protection is not required, but strongly suggested.
  • You may not wear headphones for music while in the shops.
  • Personal Electronics may not be accessed in the shop unless the user is photo-documenting their work and safely removed from tools and others working.
  • Loud music is prohibited.
  • A limited number of eye and hearing protection is available for use while in the shop.  These are not available for check-out.

VPA shops are here to support academic research and inquiry. It is important that everyone respects each other, their right to work and the space. Inappropriate or unsafe behavior will not be tolerated.


  • First Aid kits can be found throughout shops on walls, columns, inside the tool cage and in the office.  Consult a shop technician for the location of the nearest first aid kit.
  • Report any injuries immediately to a Shop Technician.
  • If a serious injury occurs, immediately hit one of the Emergency Stop switches to shut off power to the shop.
  • If someone is injured and requires medical assistance, 711 will be called and an ambulance sent.
  • Emergency contact information is posted in the shops.

Material Usage

  • All material deliveries must be vetted through a shop technician.  You will be responsible for unloading your materials when they are delivered or make alternate arrangements.  Any deliveries that arrive without prior knowledge may be sent back.
  • Any outside material or substance must be approved by a technician before it may be used in the shop.
  • Students must provide a Safety Data Sheet for any material or chemical brought into the shop that is not included in the provided SDS book.  Once approved by a technician it needs to be appended to the materials SDS book.  Consult with a technician.
  • The plastic shop is for plastic only. All other materials should be worked on in their appropriate workspace.
  • Other material restrictions may develop or apply. Consult a shop technician before beginning work with any new materials.            
  • All hardware must be removed from material and checked by a Shop Technician. 
  • Small hardware, plastic glue, cutting/grinding disks, and finishes are free to use within reason.  Large quantities of these should not leave the shop.  For in-shop use only.  If a student needs large quantities for their studio, they should purchase their own.  “Within Reason” will be defined on a case-by-case basis by the Shop technician.
    • We will provide Tung Oil, Danish Oil PolyWhey and Polyurethane finishes
    • All finishes must be used in a spray booth and stored in a flammable storage cabinet
  • Some shop areas may have consumables for purchase.
  • Eye and ear protection, sandpaper, and other consumables may be purchased with Papercut.
  • Hardwood, basswood, plywood, MDF, Masonite, acrylic, steel, etc. may also be purchased with Papercut.
  • Material in scrap bins are for everyone’s use.  Do not put unusable or unsafe material in these bins.
  • Waste material with hardware, paint or finish should be placed in the waste can or dumpster.
  • All shop rags with solvents or flammable chemicals must be disposed of in the red fire-proof bin.


Due to available shop space, we are unable to provide storage in the Plastic Shop.  Please speak with a technician to see if they are able to offer suggestions for alternative storage.

Tool Check-Out

 **No Plastic Shop Tooling is allowed for checking out. All plastic shop tools are site specific and should only be used within the plastic shop location. This is to ensure a level of safety for both the students and the environment they are working in. **

The Nancy Cantor Warehouse Plastic Shop is the VPA’s only plastic shop on campus staffed full time by knowledgeable shop technicians. This shop specializes in vacuum forming and mold making. All students and Faculty who have received the appropriate shop authorization are welcome to utilize this space during shop hours. The Nancy Cantor Warehouse Plastic Shop is built specifically for students looking to work with any in-organic materials in the fabrication process. The shop features a robust ventilation system that mitigates the potential off gassing of hazardous fumes caused by working with in-organic materials. This shop has access to all tools covered in both the first and second tears of the VPA’s plastic shop tools.