What do YOU want to make?

on Thursday, 14 April 2011. Posted in N21 Business Blog

Do you enjoy playing around with materials and tools?  Do you have an idea which you would like to turn into a model or a prototype? Then here is an idea for you.



TechShop is a new membership club, emerging out of California, which offers people access to an equipment-filled workshops. The founders describe their concept as "letting people turn their designs from dream into reality.TechShop is perfect for inventors, makers, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, FIRST robotic teams, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don't have the tools, space or skills. TechShop is designed for everyone, regardless of their skill level".


It has been described as the technical equivalent of a fitness club. Instead of gym equipment, members get access to “tools and equipment, instruction and a community of creative and supportive people”. There are personal trainers available for one-to-one support, as well as classes where members can learn new skills.


TechShop offers workshop space with large work tables, 115 volt outlets and compressed air at each work table, with access to a wide variety of machinery and tools including milling machines and lathes, welding stations and a CNC plasma cutter, sheet metal working equipment, drill presses and band saws, industrial sewing machines, hand tools, plastic and wood working equipment including a 4' x 8' ShopBot CNC router, electronics design and fabrication facilities, Epilog laser cutters, tubing and metal bending machines, a Dimension SST 3-D printer, electrical supplies and tools, enough tools and tools to get an techie drooling.


It also has computer workstations and software, wifi, a "creative brainstorming lounge", classrooms, and a retail store offering convenience materials and consumables. Rental cellphones let developers test their mobile apps — An open-source 3D printer for the masses and a Commercial kitchen for rent by the hour.)


Storage and private workshops are also available, as are 3D printing, personal prototyping, and a wide range of classes to train users on each piece of equipment as they need it.  The gallery shows pictures of some of the things that members have made http://www.techshop.ws/gallery.html


Individual memberships at TechShop are priced at USD 125 per month, around £75, about the same price as single membership at a local gym.  There are also with student, corporate and single-visit rates as well.


Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop, explains: "Our mission at TechShop is to engage, encourage and empower everyone — from hobbyists to inventors, entrepreneurs, artists and students — by providing sophisticated machines and tools in 15,000-square-foot workshops for our members. We lower the barrier to creativity by making tools that are usually only found in large companies available to everyone."


"TechShop is for EVERYONE! If you already know how to use all the stuff at TechShop, that's great. But most people only know how to use a few of the tools, machines and equipment at TechShop. If you want to learn about the equipment and tools you have never used before, you can take an "SBU" (Safety and Basic Use) class and get up to speed on that tool or machine in just a few hours. Don't be afraid to try new things, whether it is welding, using a milling machine, working with fabrics and leather or plastics, or cutting keyways in a gear. The whole point of TechShop is to empower you with a wide variety of new capabilities so you can start to see the pathway that lets you make new and exciting things".


There are currently four TechShops in the US and the company hope to expand across the States and beyond. They are interested in hearing from potential partners. Alternatively, is this a concept that could be 'rebaked' in Winchmore Hill?  There must be dozens of people in the Winchmore Hill area who want to improve their practical skills or have an idea for a product that they would like to play around with.


As the website urges, "Join TechShop today, and you can start building your dreams too!"




Do you enjoy playing around with materials and tools? Do you have an idea which you would like to turn into a model or a prototype? Then here is an idea for you.

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