Working with Metal

A quick summary of metal manufacturing techniques

Introduction to Metalworking

UAS@UCLA does not use much metal in its design, but it is still important to be familiar with safety and manufacturing techniques in the off chance that you do need to use it in our system. If you have never worked with metal before, don't worry- most you will have to do is cut a small piece to size, file, or drill.

Working with Metal

Before you begin, make sure that you've read over the Basic Lab Safety Rules.


  1. All other lab safety rules apply.

  2. Wear a face mask and safety glasses when necessary- Always wear safety glasses when cutting, drilling, or filing metal to prevent foreign debris from entering the eyes. Most people don't typically use facemasks, but it is recommended if you are doing any of the previously mentioned actions in an enclosed space.

  3. Inspect the metal before cutting, filing, or drilling- Make sure the metal is free foriegn objects, cracks, and splits before working with it. This could damage the equipment or cause user harm if caught in a machine.


  1. Clean up your workspace after you are finished- Make sure to sweep, vacuum, and wipedown your workspace after you are finished cutting, drilling, or filing metal. It is our responsibility to keep the lab clean for all!

  2. Only cut wood with a proper and slow-moving blade- Similar to carbon fiber, cutting wood requires a stronger, slow moving blade with small, fine teeth (18-32 teeth per inch is recommended). Please never try to cut metal with a fast-moving blade designed for wood. If you need to cut metal, please let someone on leadership know so we can direct you to the proper location.

  3. Use High Speed Steel or Carbon Steel drill bits- These types of drill bits are suitable for drilling into metal, allowing the worker to use less pressure.

Additional Resources

Metalworking 101

Written by T. Kantner
Last Edit: 10/15/2018 by T. Kantner