Materials

Know your materials

Know your materials and what they involve before you use them. Are they water soluble or oil-based? What aggregate or thinning substances will you need? Will you be using any dangerous chemicals? How do you plan on disposing of your waste?
Please see below for a list of common materials that you can & can’t use If you want to use something not on this list, you must provide a MSDS and get it approved by the Makerspaces staff before using the material.
CAN USE
CAN’T USE
  • Cement / Concrete
  • Plaster & Gypsums
  • Liquid latex
  • Wax
  • Natural pulp or fibre (such as paper)
  • Paints, solvents & timber finishes
  • Additives (such as pigments, aggregate & thinners
  • Hydrochloric Acid
  • Sulfuric Acid
  • Nitric Acid
  • Acetic Acid
  • Ammonium Hydroxide
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Hydrofluoric Acid
  • Sodium Hydroxide (lye)
  • Aerosol sprays (can be used in spray booth)

Silica and associated risks

Silica is one of the most common naturally occurring elements on the planet. Silica, the mineral compound silicon dioxide (SiO2), is found in two forms – crystalline or noncrystalline (also referred to as amorphous). Sand and quartz are common examples of crystalline silica.
When these materials are worked on, silica is released as a fine dust known as respirable crystalline silica or silica dust. Exposure to excessive levels of silica dust can cause severe respiratory issues and even death.
Please be cautious when using materials containing silica and make sure a P2 respiratory mask is worn by everyone in the space.
Materials Containing Silica
Asphalt
Brick
Cement
Clay
Concrete
Fiber Cement products
Grout
Gunite/Shotcrete
Mortar
Paints containing silica
Plaster
Some Plastics
Refractory Mortar/Castables
Rock
Sand
Soil

Material Properties

MATERIAL
ADVANTAGES
DISADVANTAGES
Cement
Excellent binding material
Easily workable
Good resistance to moisture once cured
Heavy
Plaster
Cures extremely quickly
Easily workable
Cost efficient
Resistant to water
Minimal shrinkage with thermal and moisture changes
FIne particles can cause mess
Extremely liquidy before curing, so mould must be water-tight
Acrylic Paint
Water proof
Dries quickly
Some contain additional toxins
Oil-based Paint
Durable
Smooth finish
More resistant to scratches and damage than other paints
Dries slowly
Difficult to clean up after painting
Needs a solvent for thinning during use
Glues
Quick adhesive method
Many different material options to use on
Can have highly toxic fumes
Sand
Inexpensive
Easy to obtain
Heavy
Once wet, can take a long time to dry

Materials and Associated PPE

MATERIAL
PPE REQUIRED
REASON
Cement & plaster
Respirator
Gloves
Cement & plaster dust can cause harm to lungs
Contact with skin can cause irritation & dryness
Latex, oil paints, solvents & some finishes.
Respirator
Fumes can cause headaches, dizziness & nausea
Sand
Respirator

Sourcing Materials

It is important to acquire materials from a reliable source, where ingredient lists or Material Safety Data Sheets are available for the material.
Some reliable stores in Melbourne are:
Bunnings Warehouse: Extensive general construction materials and equipment
Barnes: Moulding, casting and sculpture
Mitre 10: Extensive hardware and construction supplies
Demak: Outdoor timber and hardware
Bowens: Timber, hardware and building materials

Storage

Storage in the Wetworks is limited. The shelves located inside the wet room are for short-term storage of projects only. Please label all of your work and materials using our project cards located at the Guru desk.
The Wetworks undergoes regular clear outs in an effort to keep the workspace clean & safe. If your work, material & equipment is not clearly labelled with a collection date it will likely be thrown away. It should also be stored properly on a shelf, nothing should be left on ground level.
If you require larger or more long-term storage, please speak to Maker Spaces staff and we will try to arrange an alternative for you.

Disposing of materials

Do not pour cement, casting solutions, liquids of large particles or high viscosity into the sink. If it is water with residue in it, please use a sieve to filter out any larger particles.
Whilst we have a separating tank, it is only designed to catch small amounts of debris. It is important that as many solids as possible are removed from any water before it is poured into the sink.
If you are not sure how to dispose of your material safely and in an environmentally friendly manner, please speak to Maker Spaces staff.