Tool control is here!

This is important reading for all @members as it will affect how you use the space.

The first tool to have tool control has been setup on Monday evening, this is the laser cutter. This will mean going forward you will need to use your tag to access this tool.

What do I need to do right now?

First, while our techs have done a great job of logging most induction members have passed in the system it is possible they’ve made mistakes, so please go to your member profile on the membership system now and check you have the permissions you are expecting, if not contact the relevant tool tech, while only the laser cutter is using tool control right now, it will be rolled out across all inducted tools eventually and checking this now will avoid difficulties for you later.

Follow this link, and login to check what permissions you have:

Second, you need to make sure you always bring your tag to the space, it’s too easy to presume someone you know will be there to let you in, but with the introduction of tool control members will need a tag to activate tools, and under no circumstances should someone else activate a tool for another member.

How it works

Tool control is simple to use, you just insert your tag into the card reader, the system checks that your membership is active and you have permission to use the laser cutter (i.e. you are inducted), if these checks are passed the system activates the tool, you must leave the tag in the machine to keep using it.

Different tools will be activated in different ways however in most cases the power to the tool will be cut off, so without a tag, active membership and valid permission to use that tool you won’t be able to even turn it on.

Laser cutter tool control

With the laser cutter specifically it is not recommended by Trotec that we cut the power to the machine during operation as the tube needs to be cooled. For this reason we are instead breaking the interlock chain, this has the same effect as the lid being open, and will result in a message in Job Control saying the lid is open if you try to use it without activating the tool.

Status lights

When the tool control reader is sitting idle you will see a flashing orange light.

When you insert a tag all the lights will illuminate for a moment while the system checks your access, the lights will then turn red to deny use of the tool, or green to activate the tool.

If the lights do not show red or green with a tag in the reader there could be an issue with the position of your tag, try adjusting it, if this doesn’t help you may wish to try someone else’s tag, or replace your tag via the members kiosk.

The following diagram should help members understand common issues they may face and how to deal with them.

Why the laser cutter first?

This tool was actually the first to get tool control a very long time ago when the space first opened but it was removed when phase 2 was finished and never reinstalled, so we know how to do this, and also there is overlap in that Jonathan is both an @lasertechs and @systems member.

The best reason however is the laser is in very regular use and it will enable us to get the best idea of if it is working.

Next steps

In setting up the prototype a number of members including @joatkin2 have been involved, so @jonathanjo will be a revising the board with various improvements, and I will be doing a redesign of the plastic housing.

Once the laser cutter board has prove reliable, it is likely that the next target would be the table saw as we are about to start inducting members on this, and there is already an interim tool control here that could be replaced more readily.

Beyond that we’ll need version 2 boards which are being worked on now, we will probably replace the existing tool control with those and then roll out to more tools, in the interim myself and @joatkin2 are going to do some work to start getting the wood and metal work areas ready for tool control i.e. installing data cables etc.


Great work! What is approx cost of each tool control point?

Also - will the tool control still work if the fob is on a keyring with a lot of keys/weight?

  1. Not sure as I didn’t do the PCB but I’d guess about £30 max.

  2. It’s designed to hold an entire keychain yes. However we found there were some issues with the design that will be improved based on this.

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Can we have an update on this ?

You need to speak to @jonathanjo it’s his project still.

£30 for a bare PCB or the entire board?

3 posts were split to a new topic: Arch 2 Tool Control