General FAQ

Q: Can I use the shops if I am not a Mechanical Engineer? If I am not an Engineer at all?

A: If you are a current Cal Poly student of ANY major, you can take the Red Tag Tour and Test. Upon passing, you have access to many of the tools in the Mustang ’60 and Hangar shops. Read the Rules and Regulations and Red Tag Tour pages.

Q: What can I do at the shops? What can’t I do?

A: Our shops are here for you to make all your school related projects! For acceptable projects please see our Rules and Regulations page. We have a wide variety of machines and tools, check out the capabilities sections on our locations pages. If you don’t know how to use a particular tool or how to make something out of a material or even what material to use, please ask on of the Techs! We’re here to help you be successful and safe.

Q: I need to get my Intermediate Trainings so I can machine and weld but I don’t have anything to work on. How should I get the required two hours in the shops?

A: You can use the required 2 hours logged in the shop to build jigs and fixtures for your project, prepare the raw materials by cutting and preliminary shaping or you can request a fabrication project that will benefit the shop. The purpose of the 2 hour requirement is so we can observe your safety awareness and work skills, and know that you are ready to take on larger, more dangerous equipment safely. We also have a number of practice projects available to help you to fulfill the 2 hour requirement. Check out our Pinterest page or ask a tech about 2 hour projects next time you sign into the shop! Also: Don’t forget your Hour of Cleanup!

Q: What personal safety equipment is provided?

A: We have all the required safety gear for the equipment that we provide in our facility including: safety glasses, dust masks, nitrile gloves, welding gloves and masks, work gloves, face shields, and more. 

Q: Can I have something shipped to the shop for Senior Project or a Club?

A: YES! Make sure you get a tracking number and please use the following address format:

           Your Name (and phone number if possible)

           1 Grand Ave, Cal Poly

           Mustang ’60 Machine Shop

           San Luis Obispo, CA 93407

Tour and Test FAQ

Q: Can I take the Red Tag Tour in either shop?

A: No. Red Tag Tours only take place in the Hangar, Building 004. Do not come to Mustang ’60 for a Red Tag. Other Trainings vary location by type of training, so check your Picktime reservation carefully. 

Q: Do I need to reserve a spot in a Red Tag Tour or other training course?

A: Yes. All tours, certifications and trainings require a reservation. These are made through our Picktime reservation page.

Q: Do I have to stay for the whole tour and test?

A: Yes. The tour and test times vary, but expect to stay the entire time. Do not plan to get out of the test early.

Q: I am in a machining class or have worked in another machine shop before. Do I still have to take the tour and test for the shops?

A: Yes. The tour and test for this shop is specific to the Cal Poly Student Machine Shops. We are required by OSHA to give the red and yellow tours and tests for the appropriate certification levels and provide proof of the certification to the state when requested. Other certifications are not transferrable to our shops.

Q: Do I still have to do the bookend project?

A: Yes. Everyone must complete the bookend project in order to use the student machine shops. This is another OSHA requirement. We must be able to sign off that each student has used all of the machines involved with the test at least once under tech supervision before they are allowed to work on any other project on their own in the shop. To view the Bookend Project Overview video click the link.

Q: Can I take the red tag test during the yellow tag time (or vice versa)?

A: No. The red and yellow tag tours and tests are completely different and are not interchangeable. The red tag tour takes three full hours where the yellow tag test only takes two. Additionally, the Hangar must be closed for the duration of the red tag test, which eliminates the possibility of having red tags on Tuesdays, Thursdays, or Saturdays. 

Q: If I am in a machining or welding class, can I use the mills, lathes, or welders with my red tag?

A: No. The yellow tag certification is still required to use the mills, lathes, and welders in our shops, regardless of prior machining or welding experience. Again, this is an OSHA requirement. 

Q: Do the hours I spend in my machining class count toward the ten hours required for yellow tag certification?

A: No. The ten hours required for certification must take place in our machine shops in order to verify that you are becoming familiar with our specific set of tools and policies. 

Q: What if I can’t make any of the times posted on the red or yellow tag schedule?

A: Email the shop scheduling supervisor, Broghan Martin at: to deal with any scheduling conflicts.