To ensure the safety of shop users and the maintenance of the facilities (as well as to be in compliance with various regulatory agencies), we have established a materials policy for the San Francisco Studios. Supported materials may be used only in specified locations. Unsupported materials may never be used.

Supported Materials

The following types of wood can be machined in the Model Making Studio and the Furniture Studio:

  • kiln-dried wood
  • hardwood
  • plywood

Renshape, urethane foam, and styrene foam are only allowed in the Model Making Studio. Respiratory protection is recommended. High-volume carving and sanding must be done under the supervision of a studio manager in the enclosed Sanding Area.

Thermoplastics (styrene, PETG, acrylic, etc.): These materials may be vacuum-formed, cut, or machined in the Model Making Studio.

Found/used/recycled wood and construction-grade lumber may be used in the Model Making Studio only with specific hand-power tools. Please check with a manager for guidelines prior to working.

Metal and fabric may be used in the Alternative Materials Studio.

Paint, water-based acrylics, and latexes may be used neatly in small quantities in the Model Making Studio. All solvent-based paints, stains, and clear coats may only be used in the Spray Booth.

Resins (including polyester, epoxy, urethane and Bondo, as well as some mold making rubbers) must be used in the Spray Booth / Vapor Room only. Please check in with a manger for guidelines and recommendations of the least-toxic, most-sustainable options before beginning.

Plaster and concrete (and other gypsum and cement products) may be used only in the Plaster Room.

Unsupported Materials

The following materials are not allowed anywhere in the building:

  • balsa foam (contains phenolic resins that pose an inhalation hazard)

  • fiberglass, carbon fiber, and other composite materials (they pose too great an inhalation hazard to be accommodated in CCA's facilities)

  • spray adhesives not only pose an inhalation hazard outside of the Spray Booth but also tend to clog the Spray Booth filters. Therefore, they are not allowed in the building.

  • pressure-treated wood (treated with chemicals that pose an inhalation hazard when cut)