The rise of crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, has spawned another movement to help people actually physically create and make things. TechShop is a member-based, do-it-yourself workshop studio for makers, that provides access to tools, software, mentoring and space. Think of TechShop as a playground for creativity, part fabrication and prototyping studio, part hackerspace and collaboration center for anyone from artists, engineers and entrepreneurs. TechShop provides access to over $1 million worth of professional equipment and software for its members with locations nationwide including San Francisco, Menlo Park, San Jose, Raleigh-Durham, Detroit, Austin-Round Rock and their newest location in my hometown of Pittsburgh. Each facility includes laser cutters, plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, a wood shop, a metal working shop, a textiles department, welding stations and a waterjet cutter. Members also have open access to professional design applications featuring the entire Autodesk Design Suite. It’s an amazing ecosystem that supports every layer of product design and development, along with a social network of potential project contributors of all ages, anywhere from welders to people using 3-D printers.
How TechShop Works
Simply anyone can attend classes. After successfully completing equipment-specific Safety and Basic Use classes, paying members can then reserve TechShop’s tools and facilities for use. Talented and knowledgeable staff members are also available full-time to help you develop ideas and improve your technical skills.
You really have to see it to believe it though, so check out Rackspace’s Startup Liaison Officer, Robert Scoble’s, interview with their CEO, Mark Hatch. They’ll also take you on a tour of their facilities and show you some awesome new projects currently being hatched! You can really tell how excited their CEO is about the venture, as this community is enabling people to start building their dreams. Maker businesses really could be the next great revolution in American industry!
Is there any manufacturing project or business idea you’ve been dying to start but lacked the necessary tools? It might be time to enroll in TechShop!