Category:Metal Shop

From Artisans Asylum Wiki
Metal Shop
Welding table
Metal Shop
Building Antwerp
Lead Eden Attar
User email list
Tool Testers

Sign up here, or come to the shop on the first Wednesday night of the month

Hours Same as membership hours

What gets made here?

Fabricated metal projects–generally larger and less precise than found in the machine shop. Frames, structures, sculpture. Core processes include MIG & TIG welding, brazing, heating, bending, thermal cutting, forging/blacksmithing.

Major Shop Rules

  • We require eye protection at ALL times, 24/7, in all parts of the shop.
  • Coated metals (painted, galvanized, etc) are strongly discouraged. A quick job is one thing, but hours of paint removal or welding on painted parts is not allowed.
  • No gloves when using bench/pedestal grinders.
  • No soft metals on pedestal grinders unless using a grinding wheel made for that purpose.
  • Turn on the air handlers when angle grinding or otherwise generating fume/particulate.
  • No loud tools during classes and our monthly public community events. Loud tools include angle grinders and abrasive chop saws.
  • Check all high-pressure gas cylinders are chained up every time you use the associated equipment (Oxy-fuel, MIG, TIG).
  • Policy for arc/flame use outside of welding booths:
    • For welding/cutting processes that require shade 5 or less (oxy-fuel and handheld plasma cutting):
      • Use outside of a welding booth is OK. Welding screens are not required.
      • Be considerate to other shop users--consider handing out shade 3-5 eye protection before starting work; have some spare shaded glasses/goggles available for onlookers.
    • For processes that require shade 8+ (MIG, TIG, stick welding):
      • Welding screens are generally required when using these processes outside of a welding booth.
      • Reasonable exceptions can be made, e.g. when the shop is otherwise empty or the welding job is very brief.
      • Users are obligated to set up welding screens if anyone requests.

Shop Communication & Governance

Metal Shop Working Group

The Metal Shop Working Group is our governance body, like a Board of Directors for the shop, helping Shop Leads with things like setting shop policy, making spending decisions, and generally determining the shop’s direction. Please join!

Metal Shop Users

Metal Shop Users is a group for users of the metal shop. Please join!

Shop Colors


Community Events and Education Program

Shop Events Calendar

See our shop's Google Calendar for the current schedule of our free community events and classes.

Monthly Free Events

We host several free community events every month. These are free and open to all, no membership or experience needed. Please come out to learn, share skills, and build community with us!

Shop Social & Skillswap

Are you new to metalworking, looking for ways to get familiar with the Artisan’s Asylum Metal Shop? Are you an experienced fabricator or an artist with techniques or ideas that you’d like to share? Attend our social night to swap skills, show off favorite projects, and find inspiration.

This event is free and open to the public. 5:30 to 8:30 pm on the first Thursday of every month. Demonstrations, if scheduled, focus on techniques and ideas that can be showcased in a group format. Testing of class ideas is welcome! Donations are accepted for materials and supplies, but are not required.

Stop by to learn, make things with metal, and participate in the Metal Shop Community.

This event is not a substitute for classes or tool training and testing. For safety reasons, instruction or prior experience is required for those who wish to weld, powder coat, operate the oxyacetylene torches, or use the plasma cutters.

Volunteer Work Night

Work Nite FAQ:

  • Q: What is Work Nite?

Work Nite is a monthly volunteer night in the Asylum Metal Shop. It's a chance to give back to the shop by building and improving our communal shop infrastructure. It's a great way to start getting to know the shop if you're new to the Asylum community or to the welding universe, and also a great way to offer expertise if you have more experience. Work Nite can involve a lot of hard, dirty work, but it's also usually a pretty fun, party atmosphere.

  • Q: Can I come help volunteer even if I don't know anything about metal/welding/etc?

A: OMG yes, please do, we need volunteers

  • Q: What should I wear/bring?

A: Come dressed in shop clothes if you have them, and bring PPE like eye protection, work boots, and gloves as well if you have them. We have plenty of PPE to loan if you need some.

  • Q: Do I need to show up for the whole event?

A: No, come for whatever part you can.

  • Q: Will there be refreshments?

A: Probably!

  • Q: What will we work on?

A: Depends on what's needed, it varies a lot from one Work Nite to another. The shop is a community effort, so if you can't find something to do, then look around and talk to other volunteers and come up with something that seems useful.

  • Q: Will I be able to learn _____ skill or get tested on ____ tool?

A: Probably not! Work Nite is NOT a class, a private lesson, or a tool testing session! You might learn or practice a new skill, but it's absolutely not formal instruction. Check out the Social Night if you're looking to learn or share a skill.

Tool Testing Night

If you're interested in getting tool tested, come out to the shop on the first Wednesday night of the month between 6 and 8:30 pm. There's usually a tester or two available for all metal shop red tools.

While this is the primary way tool testing occurs in our shop, you can still sign up for a 1-1 tool test. Tool testing night is an additional option, not a substitute.


  • Is this event the only way to get tool tested in the metal shop?

No! This is the preferred way to get tested out in the metal shop, but not the only way--message the shop lead to set up a one-on-one time if this event doesn't work for you.

  • Is the metal shop distinct from the machine shop?

Yes! We in the metal shop are more the blacksmithing, welding, and thermal cutting types. The machine shop is higher precision, generally producing smaller pieces with tighter tolerances. Also machining is subtractive, where the metal shop can be additive (e.g. welding). The metal shop is also dirtier, and often louder :D

  • Can I get tested on _______ tool?

Formal tool testing is only for RED tools, and only for people who have enough experience to "test out of" an intro/101 class.
You are eligible for testing only if you have experience equivalent to at least having taken an introductory/101 class on that tool.
If you need instruction on a RED tool that has a class associated with it, then DO NOT come to Tool Testing Night expecting instruction--take the relevant class instead.
For RED tools lacking an associated class, you are responsible for acquiring the knowledge necessary to pass the tool test on your own, using the metal shop tool manual, Youtube, and/or informal instruction outside of a Tool Testing Night. Tool testing is NOT instruction.
By definition, there is no tool testing required on GREEN tools. We can still offer guidance and help on those tools, but there's no formal recordkeeping for them. Most Asylum metal shop 101 level classes (including TIG 101 and Metal Shop 101) include tool testing as part of the class.
We do NOT do tool testing on loud tools when the shop is busy, which it often is on Tool Testing Night. This includes angle grinders and abrasive chop saws.

  • Do I need to be there at 6pm sharp?

No! This is a drop-in thing. Feel free to show up anytime during the event, just not, like, as we're packing up to leave for the night, please.

Welding with Neighbors

Welding with Neighbors is a discounted welding class for residents of under-served neighborhoods on the 2nd Friday of every month. The class topic differs every month but can include TIG + MIG welding, blacksmithing, hot and cold metal forming, and plasma cutting.

We invite residents from the following neighborhoods to join us:

Alston-Brighton, East Boston, Dorchester, Roxburry, Roslindale, and Jamaica Plain.

If you are not a resident of one of these neighborhoods, write to to get on the non-neighbor waitlist. We try to clear the waitlist 48 hours before the class runs.

Class topics:

March: MIG Welding

April: Metal Shop 101 (A 3-hour version of our 3-day Metal Shop 101)

May: Weld A Garden Trellis

Welding with Workers

Welding with Workers is a discounted welding class for all the lovely folks who run the Asylum. That means Tool Testers, Shop Leads, Deskies, Staff members, and anyone who is directly involved in the running of a shop or a major piece of Asylum infrastrucutre. Welding with workers runs the 4th Friday of every month. The class topic differs every month but can include TIG + MIG welding, blacksmithing, hot and cold metal forming, and plasma cutting.

Class topics:

May: Weld A Garden Trellis


Over the past year and a half, the Metal Shop has been developing a comprehensive metalworking curriculum to better serve our users and community.

Class Catalog
101 Courses Level 2 Courses (have pre-recs) Topic Courses (no pre-recs)
Welding Prelim Plasma 2 Sculptural Chain Welding
Metal Shop 101 TIG 2 Weld a Garden Trellis
TIG 101 (5 hrs, Saturday) TIG 101 (5 hrs, 2 weeknights ) MIG 2 Weld a S’more-a-Saurus!
Introduction to Blacksmithing Welding 102
Plasma Cutting 101 (CNC & handheld) TIG Stainless
Oxy-Acetylene Cutting and Welding TIG Aluminum

Standard Monthly Class + Event Schedule
(E= evening, A = afternoon. See Eventbrite for precise times)
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1st week Welding Prelim (A) Metal Shop 101 pt. 1 (E) Tool Testing Night (E) Skill Swap + Social Night (E) Welding with Neighbors: Daytime Edition (A)
2nd week Welding Prelim (A) Metal Shop 101 pt. 2 (E) New Class Experimental Laboratory (E) Blacksmithing Basics (E) Welding With Neighbors (E) TIG 101 - 1 day edition (A)
3rd week Welding Prelim (A) Seasonal Topic Course (E) Metal Shop 101 pt. 3 (E) Plasma Cutting 101 (E) TIG Welding 101: Half-off daytime edition pt. 1 (A)

Shop Nite (E)
TIG Welding 101: Half-off daytime edition pt. 2 (A)
4th week Oxyacetylene (E) TIG 101 pt. 1 (E) Blacksmithing Basics (E) TIG 101 pt. 2 (E)
5th week TIG Aluminum (E) Welding 102 on odd numbered months TIG and MIG 2 alternating on even months (E) Plasma 2 (E) TIG Stainless (E)

Residency Program

Starting in January 2024, the Metal Shop has invited artists and makers who would not otherwise have easy access to our shop in as residents. During their residency, participants receive free classes, mentorship, and teacher training.

Tool Testers

  • Scraps Sparcs (they/them)
  • Jessica Klein (she/her)


Tool Class Tool Tester(s)
Angle Grinders RED Tool Testing Night
Jet Horizontal Band Saw GREEN Tool Testing Night
Milwaukee 6232 Portable Band Saw GREEN Tool Testing Night
Wilton Horizontal Band Saw GREEN Tool Testing Night
Belt Sander RED Tool Testing Night
Bench_Grinders RED Tool Testing Night
Compact Bender GREEN N/A
Hydraulic Pipe Bender GREEN N/A
JD Squared Air Assisted Bender GREEN N/A
Pro Tools Tube Bender GREEN N/A
Roller Tube Bender GREEN N/A
Shop Made Benders GREEN N/A
Box and Pan Brake GREEN N/A
Buffing Machine RED Tool Testing Night
Abrasive Blade Metal Chop Saw RED Tool Testing Night
Carbide Blade Chop Saw (Metal Devil) RED Tool Testing Night
Cold Saw RED Tool Testing Night
Dake Drill Press RED Tool Testing Night
Flex Shaft Die Grinder RED Tool Testing Night
48-inch Jump Shear GREEN N/A
Atlas Plus Forge RED Tool Testing Night
Ironworker GREEN Tool Testing Night
ONYX Compressed Air Tools RED Tool Testing Night
Oxy-Acetylene Torches RED Tool Testing Night
Hand Held Plasma Cutter RED Tool Testing Night
Slip Roll GREEN N/A
Lencospot Mark II Welder RED Tool Testing Night
MIG Welders (Category) RED Tool Testing Night
Spot Welder Chicago 61206 GREEN N/A
TIG Welders (Category) RED Tool Testing Night
Foot Shear GREEN Tool Testing Night
Cyclone Sand Blaster RED Tool Testing Night
Powder Coating RED Tool Testing Night