TechShop is a chain of member-based workshops that lets people of all skill levels come in and use industrial tools and equipment to build their own projects. They have three locations in California, one in North Carolina; now closing, one in Michigan, one in Texas, and one in Pennsylvania.
Typical tools and equipment offered by TechShop include:
- manual mills, Tormach 3 axis CNC mill, and metal lathes.
- ShopBot 3 axis CNC router.
- welding equipment including MIG, TIG, gas, arc and spot welders.
- sheet metal fabrication equipment.
- a 4-foot by 12-foot CNC plasma cutter that can cut 1/2" steel plate.
- oscilloscopes and other electronics equipment.
- a variety of equipment for working with plastics and composites, including carbon fiber.
- Epilog Laser Helix laser cutter / engraver units.
- a Dimension 3D printer that builds objects by depositing fine layers of ABS plastic via fused deposition modeling.
- a textiles area with a variety of home and industrial sewing machines and a large cutting table.
TechShop offers safety and basic usage training on all the tools and equipment, and on various other topics. For most equipment, a safety and usage class must be completed before it may be used. Membership is available yearly, monthly, or daily. There are also "family" and "corporate" memberships for a discounted price.
TechShop is affiliated with the Maker culture, and they participate in Maker Faires in the San Francisco Bay Area and North Carolina. They have machine demonstrations and classes available during the two day Bay Area fair.
TechShop was founded by Jim Newton and Ridge McGhee. Jim Newton originally wanted to establish a place with tools to work on his pet projects, like building a digital clock, which he has still not gotten around to building. Newton, who'd been a science adviser to the TV show Mythbusters and a College of San Mateo robotics teacher, was also motivated by his students' frustration with lack of access to equipment. Ridge McGhee, a resident of Atherton, California, was upset by the loss of American manufacturing capability to other countries. After a highly successful donation drive, the first TechShop officially opened to the public on October 1, 2006 in Menlo Park, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley.
In October 2013, TechShop moved its original location from Menlo Park to San Carlos.
TechShop opened partnership locations in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina and Portland, Oregon. After being open for a year, the Portland location closed and went bankrupt; the Raleigh location remained open but owned by TechShop inc, but shutdown April 20, 2013.
A location in Metro Detroit opened on May 4, 2012 in a 38,000 square foot facility in the suburb of Allen Park. This facility was launched in a partnership between Ford and software company Autodesk, and is the largest TechShop facility to date.
A location in Round Rock, Texas, serving the metro Austin area, opened on October 13, 2012. This location is located adjacent to a Lowe's home improvement store and is partnering with the chain to host workshops, supply tools, and provide materials.
An additional twenty locations are planned over the next three years.
- Dickinson, Boonsri (July 5, 2011). "Tooling around San Francisco's TechShop". CNET. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- "Seeking a 'place to go build stuff'". The Examiner. April 24, 2006. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Boyce, David (October 4, 2006). "Atherton man unveils industrial workshop for public use in Menlo Park". The Almanac. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Rivlin, Gary (June 26, 2011). "Where Entrepreneurs Go Shopping". Newsweek (July 4 & 11, 2011): 18.
- "TechShop Mid-Peninsula (formerly Menlo Park)". TechShop. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
- Rogoway, Mike (2010-04-20). "TechShop Portland goes Chapter 7; new site possible in 2011". The Oregonian. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
- "TechShop Detroit Opens in Allen Park". The Michigan Standard. May 4, 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
- "TechShop Announces Partnership and Co-location with Lowe’s in Austin Area". Informed Infrastructure. October 13, 2012. Retrieved 8 Nov 2012.
- TechShop official web site
- Official TechShop page listing locations
- TechShop - A place for Makers to work on their projects
- Bay Area craft resources - a brief list of businesses that provide art and/or craft instruction in San Francisco.
- TechShop: Geek Heaven - walk-through of Menlo Park TechShop's features
- Photos: Hobbyists heed TechShop's siren song