Lab rules are to be followed at all times.    

The VFL is a rapid prototyping lab serving graduate students across SVA. Staff members have expertise in different areas of design and fabrication, and are available by appointment to help you work through your design ideas and teach you how to use the tools that you will need to complete your projects.


Standard hours of operation are 10am -11pm Monday-Friday, and Noon-6pm Saturday and Sunday.  Holidays, School Breaks, and Summer hours will vary.


Lab Access



Use of the lab must be scheduled online using the request form: HERE . You will receive a confirmation email when your appointment is approved. If you haven’t received a confirmation email, then you don’t have an appointment.  When you arrive at the lab, check in with Lab Staff and leave your SVA ID in the office. If you’re not sure who is working, check the on-duty sign at the entrance.

The shop is a self-service facility! Be prepared to learn new things and do the work yourself.  The Lab is not a production facility, nor does it provide drop off service for users.

Be Responsible

Responsible use of the facilities is a condition of working in the lab, and misuse can result in temporary or permanent banning as noted below. Students are responsible for making sure that tools and workspace are left in good condition (tools returned to where they are stored, workspace is swept/vacuumed/wiped down as appropriate). When scheduling your work in the lab, make sure you have scheduled enough time for cleanup, and be prepared for the fact that jobs will take longer than you think. Appropriate attire (no open-toe shoes or loose garments/accessories that can be caught in equipment) is required in order to work in the shop at all times.  Tools and equipment are to be used as intended and as outlined in the Shop Manual.

Guests (including friends, family, partners, SVA undergrad students) may visit the Lab, but they are not allowed to use tools or equipment.  Guests must wear appropriate attire in the Lab as noted below and safety glasses in the woodshop when observing.  Making projects or reserving equipment to work on guest projects is prohibited.

Be Safe

Our first priority in the lab is safety. Ask a staff member for help if you feel unsure or unsafe using any of the tools, and follow any instructions given by staff. We know it’s a learning process! Don’t feel shy about asking questions early and often.

You MUST schedule and attend a consultation prior to your first use of any tool in the shop. Machines (with the exception of the 3D printer and Vinyl printer/plotter) may not be left running while unattended. Each tool will have a specific start up and shut-down routine that you will learn when you are trained to use it. If you need to step away from a job in progress, either pause your work, or arrange to have another student step in to keep an eye on your job. Use of some materials may be limited or forbidden in the Lab, so check with staff if you are unsure about what you can use on a certain tool.  Closed toe shoes must be worn at the VFL and eye protection must always be worn in the woodshop.  Face shields must be used on the Lathe and Grinders.  Other forms of protection such as ear protection, respirators, and lab coats are highly encouraged.


If staff determines that a Lab user is breaking rules, being reckless, irresponsible, fails to properly clean, or demonstrating other behavior that could put themselves, other users or lab property in jeopardy, the user will be given a warning.  Any additional infractions will result in the loss of Lab privileges.  This is non-negotiable.

1st Offense: Loss of privileges for one week

2nd Offense: Loss of privileges for one month

3rd Offense: Permanently banned from the Lab


Storage in the Lab is limited. Students can use the plastic bins to store small items, but all other personal items, projects, etc, must be stored off premises. If you have a larger project that requires temporary storage, drying time, etc, include storage needs in your access request and talk to a staff member to make arrangements. Items left unattended may be relocated to lost and found or disposed of. All personal items must be removed from the lab at the end of the semester.


Students, Staff, and Faculty are responsible for all charges incurred in the Lab.  The Lab is a prototyping space, so experimenting and failure are part of the process.  You are financially responsible for materials used, regardless of satisfaction with the finished product.  Any unpaid charges will be due prior to future access in the Lab.  This is non-negotiable.  If machines break down during an appointment, users will not be charged.   The Lab takes no responsibility or liability for stocking or supplying materials.  


The Lab closes at 11pm M-F and at 6pm on weekends. All work must be completed in time for staff and students to complete cleanup and shutdown, which means that access to some tool use will end 1/2 hour before close. Please plan accordingly.




  • Do be safe and follow Lab rules and staff instructions at all times.
  • Do schedule an appointment online when you plan to use the Lab. Book a consultation prior to your tool or space reservation if this is your first time using a tool, you need help, or training.
  • Do ask a VFL staff member for help, feedback, or advice. They are here to support your learning, show you how things work, and help you to work through your design and fabrication challenges.
  • Do understand that you will experiment and learn new things during the prototyping process, and give yourself time to rethink or rebuild as you figure things out.
  • Do treat the shop, the staff, and your fellow students with respect. The VFL is a shared resource, and we expect all users to be conscientious of how they use the space.
  • Do share your skills, excitement, and expertise with your fellow students! Much of what you learn, you will learn from your peers.
  • Do return any tool or material you have used to wherever it belongs (if you don’t know where something goes, ask), and leave your work spaces tidy (vacuum, sweep, wipe down as appropriate). If you are handing something off to another Lab user, or are working with a group, make sure you understand who is responsible for cleanup.
  • Do pay for any tool use or material purchases before leaving the Lab (even if it’s just to run across the hall).
  • Do be willing to adjust your goals and expectations as you master new skills. Some projects will change course, some may need to be scaled back or rethought if Plan A hits a snag.




  • Don’t arrive late for consultations or appointments. We will help you as much as possible, and will try to accommodate as much as possible, but we may cancel your appointment to accommodate other requests if there is high demand.  Appointments will only be held for 20 minutes.  After that time, we will allow others to book the equipment.
  • Don’t expect that staff will keep the shop open late for you. We will advise you if we think you may not have time to accomplish something during Lab hours, but ultimately your time management is your own responsibility.  The Lab closes promptly at 11pm on weeknights and at 6pm on weekends.  
  • Don’t remove tools, materials, or supplies from the Lab without permission.  A Tool Check-Out form must be approved by a staff member when borrowing tools.  Ask a staff member for permission before filling out the form.
  • Don’t Panic! Most problems and setbacks are temporary and a natural part of the design process. This is a learning environment, and it’s understood that students come to the Lab with different talents, interests, and goals. Take advantage of the support and expertise available to you, and have fun!