Cool beans. We have a few people who are into props and cosplay, so you’ll fit right in. I’m actually a practical SPFX tech for film and TV, so I’m familiar with what your world is. (I creeped your IMDB; we have not worked on any of the same shows, but it was a near miss because I was supposed to have done Power Rangers but got shuffled onto Pirates 5 instead… small world)
The hack space is a great place for novice makers. There’s such a wide variety of skills in use at the hack space that we’re all novice at something or other, no matter how expert we might be at something else. It’s very conducive to skill sharing. I actually owe my career in SPFX to the hack space in Calgary; I was able to pick up the fabrication skills needed on my evenings and weekends, so that when an opportunity came to get into it full time I was able to pounce on it.
The only tool that requires certification at this time is the laser cutter, and that requires in-house training, which is run on a fairly regular basis. I think the Laser Cutter Comittee is working out how we can do laser training under the current conditions, so this might be a watch-this-space kind of thing.
Everything else in the space is trained on a ask for training or a check-out on the relevant Slack channel and somebody will work it out with you.
Most of the tools we have are pretty conducive to self-directed learning as you go, with technical support from the relevant Slack communities as you need it, but the more dangerous ones do require some training if you don’t already know how to use them. In addition to the afore mentioned laser cutter, these are: the welder, the machine lathe, the manual mill, the CNC mills, the table saw, and the plasma cutter. For these ones, we require that you either have prior experience or get an experienced member to show you how to safely use the tool. I’m currently developing an intro to welding course that should be up and running pretty soon; the rest are ad-hoc just ask on the slack channel. We’re also working on getting best practice signage together for each of the areas, which should be able to cover most of the frequently asked questions right at the source.
For any tool that you don’t feel comfortable with, whether that’s from a safety perspective or a “I don’t want to fuck up something expensive” perspective, you can always ask on the relevant Slack channel and somebody will give you some pointers.
Right now access for non-keyholder members is on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, or if a keyholder brings you in as a +1 at other times, for example working on a project together or giving lessons on a tool. We have an Appointy account that we’re using to manage that, accessible through the Member Login section of the website.