1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Where can beginners learn shop skills?

  1. Mar 6, 2012 #1
    Wasn't sure where the best place to ask this would be, but I feel like the Engineering forum is my best bet.

    Lately I've been interested in constructing my own physics demos. I've managed to slap together a few sad-looking contraptions, but they're really kind of pathetic, and involve a lot of glue. I've quickly run up against a wall concerning my lack of any sort of shop skills. I'm a complete beginner. I'd feel confident hammering a nail, and that's about it. So I've become really interested in learning some practical skills. But all of my school's metalworking classes are only available to engineering majors, and the woodworking classes are only available to art majors. I looked at the local community colleges, but the tuition is too steep for me. So where else can a complete newbie go to learn how to actually build things? I don't have the money to buy my own equipment, and I certainly want at least some formal training so I don't kill myself. But I have no clue where to even start.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2012 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Check out the resources and tutorials at MAKE magazine:


    I've been impressed with the wide range of projects and the quality of some of them.

    They also have a series of "Maker Faire" events in many locations. If one comes to a city near you, it's worth having a look:


  4. Mar 6, 2012 #3

    If you happen to live near one of these, you can join and use all they have. They offer required classes as well, so you can operate the tools safely.
  5. Mar 7, 2012 #4
    I got my shop skills two ways. I made friends with lots of people who had extensive home shops. Some were fully equipped machine or carpenter shops. I volunteered to help them with their projects. Built air boats, engines, furniture. Did auto body work, welding, gun smithing, and casting. Then I got part time jobs in several machine shops.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook