Wood and metals workshops

Brunel Building W2, W3 and W4

Wood Shop Cutting | Shaping | Steam Bending | Thicknessing | Planing | Wide Belt Sanding | Joining | Finishing | Tools

The wood workshop is a vibrant and active space for students to explore their creativity in a safe and productive environment, open to all students in the faculty through an induction process.

We run a two-type induction process to meet your needs, these being basic and advanced.

The workshops hold a range of machinery. Having completed a basic induction, students can use band saws, pillar drills, sanders and all hand tools.

An advanced induction is available for students wishing to further their skills and gain access to machinery including the radial arm saw, panel saw, surface and thickness planers, wide belt sanders, wall saw, hand-held routers, table router, domino cutters and biscuit cutters.

There are opportunities to work with wood and metal lathes as well as exploring the techniques of steam bending, laminating, veneering and vacuum forming. Brunel workshops also have facilities for working with plastics, acrylic, concrete, a range of different styrofoams, modeling boards and card.

In addition, we stock a wide range of timber, including birch face, plywood, MDF, chipboard, PSE softwood, Jelutong and kiln-dried ash. In addition, we hold pre-cut plywood and medite for laser cutters.

BRL W2 & W3: Construction Areas

Machines and available processes:

1 × Vacuum former - 600×600 mm

1 × Incra Router table with micro control

1 × Downdraft table 2000×1000 mm

2 × Small band saws, 1 × medium band saw

1 × Bobbin profile sander for curved work

1 × Small vertical sander, 1 × disc sander for smaller items

1 × Linisher for larger pieces with angle adjustment

1 × Extra large bobbin sander

4 × Pillar drills

1 × Universal mortiser with angle adjustment

2 × Fret saws

2 × Plastics line-benders

1 × Large bag press for laminating and veneering

1 × Large frame press wall-mounted panel clamp (approx. 2000×1200 mm)

1 × Steam-bending facility

BRL W4: Cutting & Machining Area

Machines and available processes:

1 × Vertical wall saw for cutting up to 5 m

1 × Table/dimension saw for all timber materials

1 × Radial arm saw for cutting longer lengths of timber

3 × Band saws, two of them deep-throat for larger work

1 × Metal lathe for turning plastics and light alloy

1 × Wood-turning lathe; max dimensions 450×1000 mm

1 × Planer-thicknesser; max width 400 mm

1 × Under & over wide belt sander; max material width 600 mm

1 × Oscillating linisher, 150x600mm

1 × New axial glide mitre saw


Induction maximum capacity: 16 people

Workshop maximum capacity: 24 people

Access to this workshop is through timetabled induction and completion of the Access & Loan Agreement.

BRL W1b: Wood Workshop Store

The store within the wood workshop provides a central hub for accessing the workshop and tool loans.

Workshop access can be booked using the SmartHub for as little as 30 minutes or for as long as the whole day. These bookings are activated by visiting the stores prior to entry into the workshop, where you will receive an access card allowing use of the workshop (dependent on training).

The store also provides a facility for students to rent tools. These can be for use in the workshop or as a 24-hour loan if they are to be used away from the workshop.

Your initial induction will cover which tools can be loaned and taken away from the workshop area. The store can also provide consumables and COSHH items for use in projects.

The store sells a wide range of materials for use in projects, including foams, hard woods, soft woods, laser cutter materials, plastics and acrylics.

The University uses a SmartHub system for all bookable spaces and tool loans, and runs a cashless card system for the purchase of materials.

BRL W8C: Metals Workshop

The Metals Workshop has a range of specialised metal working tools and machines, encompassing two methods of metalworking and forming: hot and cold working.

As the name suggests, cold working is a method of shaping and joining metal that can be achieved without the craftsperson having to apply any external forms of heat. It includes – but is not limited to – cutting, shearing, drilling, folding, bending, rolling, turning and milling.

Many of these processes can be carried out on the workbenches using simple hand tools and bench vices. This is the predominant and most accessible form of metalworking.

In contrast, hot working requires external heat to be applied to the metal in order to manipulate it. Two key examples of this are forging and welding. There is a ceramic chip forge and anvil set up for students to try their hand at blacksmithing. MIG, TIG and spot welding facilities as well as a traditional brazing hearth and gas torch are also available.

Students can book a general induction demonstrating the basic tools and processes, instruction of safe working practices and appropriate PPE.

Once induction is completed, students can access the workshop through the SmartHub booking system.

Students are encouraged to discuss their plans with the workshop technical staff, who can guide them in the appropriate processes.

Workshop maximum capacity: 9 people

Contact wood and metals workshops

Wood Workshop Stores

+44 1752 585193

Metal Workshop

+44 1752 585266

Wood Workshop

+44 1752 585177

Rooms W2–W4 & W8C, Brunel Labs, University Of Plymouth, Drake Circus, PL4 8AA

Woodwork: Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri: 09:00–17:00 (Closed during lunch) & Wed: 09:00–13:00 | Metalwork: Mon, Tue, Thu & Fri: 09:00–17:30 (Closed during lunch) & Wed: 09:00–13:00 | Last entry 30 mins before closing