There’s a workshop out in Menlo Park, California, TechShop, that runs a lot like a health club. They installed all of the high end equipment you would need to build most anything you can think of but would cost too much and take up too much space for the average person to buy. Then they charge a membership fee to a limited group of builders who get full access to make whatever they like. Other members and staff are available to offer help and advice when someone runs into a problem, plus there are classes where you can learn to use tools you’re unfamiliar with.
What kind of tools do they have? There are Bridgeport milling machines, metal lathes, every kind of welder, industrial sewing machines, sheet metal brakes, CNC vinyl cutters, metal cutters and grinders, a full size vehicle shop, a complete electronics lab, there’s even a 3D plastic printer! There are english wheels, laser cutters and engravers, sand blasting cabinets, plasma cutters, powder coating equipment, a bin wall with parts and materials and much, much more. Wow!
TechShop was started by Jim Newton, former builder of BattleBots and a former MythBuster. Membership is $30 for a day pass, $100 per month or $1200 per year. There’s only one location now but they are looking to expand to other cities, most of which seem to be on the west coast but I can’t believe this concept wouldn’t be a hit almost anywhere it opened up. I bet more than a few of you would be interested in something like this. I would join today if they had one nearby, … please!
Guy Kawasaki did a very nice write up with a lot of detail, too, the above photos come from his visit.
Wouldn’t you know, one of our Australian readers pointed out this very cool California shop. Thanks, Dodgy!