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Equipment-filled workshops let consumers design, prototype and build

Lifestyle & Leisure

Innovations such as 3D printing are driving a growing trend towards homemade products. The fact remains, however, that it still takes high-end equipment to create and test many designs, and that’s where TechShop comes in. With a chain of equipment-filled workshops available on a membership basis, the company lets consumers turn their designs from dream into reality. Offering three locations in California and North Carolina and more opening soon in Portland, Detroit and Brooklyn, TechShop is like the invention-focused equivalent of a fitness club. In exchange for a monthly fee, members get access to “tools and equipment, instruction and a community of creative and supportive people,” in the site’s own words. Members who need to punch a hole in sheet metal, for example, can turn to TechShop’s large rotary punch; those needing to spot weld an enclosure need only head for the spot welder in the welding room. Most of the company’s climate-controlled facilities feature a 15,000+ square foot floor plan with a workshop space filled with large work tables, 115 volt outlets and compressed air at each work table, computer workstations and software, wifi, a creative brainstorming lounge, classrooms, and a retail store offering convenience materials and consumables. 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. Individual memberships at TechShop are priced at USD 125 per month, with student, corporate and single-visit pricing available 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.” Beyond the four further TechShop locations in the works, it also aims to expand across the United States and around the world. One to partner with or emulate in your neck of the MIY woods? (Related: Rental cellphones let developers test their mobile appsAn open-source 3D printer for the massesCommercial kitchen for rent by the hour.) Spotted by: Judy McRae

Email: info@techshop.ws

Website: www.techshop.ws

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