The Big Think

October 3, 2012

TechShop

Filed under: Maker — jasony @ 5:37 pm

A few years ago TechShop opened in Menlo Park, California. The idea was simple: create an industrial space full of all the tools that anyone could ever want and offer membership on a monthly or yearly basis. The equipment list is extensive. Everything from a full woodworking shop to laser cutters, water jet cutters, plasma welder/cutters, machine shop, metalworking tools, CAD/Shopbot machines, milling, textile equipment, embroidery, rapid prototyping, electronics bays, industrial CNC equipment, silkscreening equipment, vacuum forming, and on and on.

They also have classes:

Arts and Crafts (ART)
Silkscreen Printing Basics
Autodesk (AUD)
Autodesk Inventor 2012 – Basics
Autodesk AutoCAD 2012 – Basics
CNC (CNC)
Concepts of CNC
Vinyl Cutter SBU
CAD / CAM Software – Level 2
Tormach SBU – Level 3
ShopBot SBU – Level 3
Waterjet SBU
Computers (COM)
Illustrator for CNC
CorelDRAW for CNC
Electronics (EEE)
Soldering and Electronics Basics
Electronic Instruments
Fabrication (FAB)
Vacuum Forming SBU
Sandblasting and Powder Coating SBU
Laser Cutting (LAS)
Laser Cutter SBU
Laser Rotary SBU
Machining (MAC)
Milling Machine SBU
Metal Lathe SBU
Metal Shop (MTL)
Basic Metal Shop SBU
Angular Sheet Metal SBU
Project (PJT)
Build a bird feeder- SBU included
Build a Planter Box – SBU included
Build a wine rack + Basic Wood Shop SBU
Build a Night Light + SBU
Rapid Prototyping (PRO)
MakerBot 3d Printer SBU
Textiles (TXL)
Basic Sewing Machine SBU
CNC Embroiderer SBU
Industrial Serger SBU
Walking Foot Industrial Sewing Machine SBU
Welding / HotShop (WLD)
TIG Welding SBU
MIG Welder SBU
Wood Shop (WOD)
Wood Shop SBU
Hand Tool Basics
Wood Lathe SBU
Jointer/Planer and Table Router SBU

So all in all, it’s pretty much a wonderland for a nerdy builder/maker type person. Too bad it’s all the way in California. I’ve been watching the development of the idea and hoping that they would be successful enough to bring one to Texas. Maybe I could see one someday and at least mash my face against the window longingly. But even if one came to Austin, geographical odds were that it would open far too far away to be any good to me other than occasional use.

Well, I was up at our local Lowes store tonight and discovered that they’re just about to open one here. That’s right! Only the 6th TechShop in existence is opening up not five minutes from my doorstep. Can you tell I’m excited about it? When I looked through the adjoining window from Lowes and saw the 3d cutters, ShopBots, laser welders, and milling tools I had to try hard not to squee like a little girl with a lock of Bieber’s hair.

They’re also looking for woodworking instructors. Wonder if they’d pay me in memberships? :)

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