Open Source RFID System Keeps Untrained Members Off Dangerous Machines

A huge recurring problem I see at makerspaces is how the spaces handles machine access for people. Many of the machines we use are dangerous and require at least a bit of safety training. You can’t always be in the shop to monitor who is using what, so what do you do? There have been a few commercial access systems out there that let you scan a card, get verified in a database, and gain access to a machine, and now there’s an open source one!

The Open Source Machine Access system is, as the name would imply, open source and uses largely open source components. The system consists of a central computer that contains a database, an Arduino compatible board, some RFID readers and tags, and some relays. When a user scans their RFID tag, the system checks the database to see if they have the prerequisite training and then supplies power to the machine…or not.

You can find full instructions on how to use this system in your makerspace on Instructibles.


I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity I see in makers. My favorite thing in the world is sharing a maker's story. You can find me on twitter at @calebkraft

View more articles by Caleb Kraft