Tool training/certification

I am looking for a tool training/certification process that veteran teams are using for onboarding new recruits. I am a lead mentor for FRC Team 8033.

Thanks in advance!

I spend a few minutes with the student, and teach him/her how to use the tool safely. My favorite is the ruler, followed closely by the hacksaw.

Is there a way to turn this into a documented process?


This might help.


We make use of the university’s machine shop so our students go through the same training that a college student needing to us the lab for a course would. There are some general safety courses (online) that they must do first, then to use any power tool in the shop they must first pass the training for that tool. Sometimes there is a video pre-training, but every tool has a hands-on training where a member of the staff guides them through safely using the tool and then observes them making some small piece on the tool. If their performance is satisfactory then they get that tool stamped on their “Boyd Badge” and they are allowed to use it. For our student team members, we also always have at least one of our mentors in the shop when we have students there.

Other people’s answers are pretty much what we do.

The general answer is “don’t use it if you haven’t been trained how to use it”. Depending on the size of your team, you may need to have a formalized process for recording who received what training and when. If you’ve just got three or four students, just spend a day teaching all of them, and call it your onboarding process.

Striking fear into their hearts with bloody gore is another method of achieving safety, though I like to think positive reinforcement trumps negative.

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Nothing really did teach me lathe safety as good as googling “lathe accident” did (CW: gore). For other tools I stick to regular practices, but the pictures of a medium-sized lathe causing a horrific accident made me far more careful around lathes than I would have been otherwise. They’re a different breed of machine tool.


4926 takes all new students, in a larger group, through a ‘proper use and safety’ training on several basic tools: Roll-in Band Saw, Drill press, disc/belt sander, and various hand tools. Basically a mentor demonstrates how to use each tool and its safety features, if any. This process also includes hole layout, center punching, drilling, and deburring/filing.

Then in pairs over several weeks, we have them make a ‘simple’ assembly under the guidance of a mentor that forces them to use all of those. I’ve attached the last version of this ‘do nothing’ part. We make them cut, sand, drill, rivet, and bolt this work of art together. I’m sure we’ll revise it again, but that’s what we do right now.

As a community team we use a Safety Passport. The form lists all machines and portable tools we use and has columns labelled Exposure and Proficiency. Each of those contains 3 sub columns labelled Date, student initials and mentor initials. A lesson is taught on each machine after which the student and the mentor who is taught the lesson sign off for exposure on that machine. When the student first wants to use a machine a mentor quizzes him or her on the machine and watches them use it after which both sign off for proficiency. Some machines have more than level of proficiency. The passports are kept in a binder in and do not carry over from one year to the next. Not only is it the student’s licence to use the machine it’s also a CYA form in the event of an accident which hasn’t happened so far. Safety inspectors and our insurance company love it. DM me if you’d like a copy.

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