We all gained a heightened awareness of safety during the pandemic we have been living through. At Benicia Makerspace, not only are they dealing with the additional safety concerns and protocols that the Covid-19 virus has brought, but they also work every day to ensure that their members are safe as they work on projects in this community shop. With tools like saws, mills, and welders available for members to use, Benicia Makerspace has strict guidelines and training to make sure people are using this equipment safely.

One tool that they are constantly vigilant about when it comes to safety is the table saw.

Table saws are incredibly useful tools for woodworking projects, but also can be dangerous if not used in a safe manner. Since inception, Benicia Makerspace saw the need for a safer table  saw in their shop, but as a small non-profit organization, they could not afford one on their own.

Recently, Valero donated $2500 to purchase a SawStop table saw, which is specially designed to prevent accidental injuries when cutting wood. The blade carries a small electrical signal, which the safety system continually monitors. When skin contacts the blade, the signal changes because the human body is conductive. The change to the signal activates the safety system which immediately stops the blade from turning.

“Safety is our main concern at Valero, so it was only natural for us to help out a non-profit organization like Benicia Makerspace with the donation of a safer table saw,” said Paul Adler, Director of Community Relations and Government Affairs at Valero Benicia Refinery.

Benicia Makerspace is a non-profit organization, founded in 2014, where people can come together to learn, collaborate, invent, prototype, and test new ideas using state-of-the-art equipment. They have a community shop where students, hobbyists, and entrepreneurs can make things, use shared equipment, learn new skills, and incubate new business ideas. Areas of interest include 3D printing, laser cutting, IoT (Internet Of Things), electric vehicles, alternative energy, sustainability, robotics, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, vintage computers, woodworking, and metalworking.

At $50 per month for adults and only $25 per month for students, Benicia Makerspace is one of the most affordable Makerspaces in the Bay area and relies heavily on volunteers and donations to keep their costs down. If you are interested in making sure tools, equipment, and hands-on learning are available to everyone by helping at the space or making a donation, please contact Aaron Newcomb aaron@beniciamakerspace.org.