This morning the Entrepreneurship Winterim was in downtown SF checking out the TechShop on Howard Street. This is a great business that enables start ups and individuals with great ideas prototype and/or build a live product. Moreover, it is a venue to retool (quite literally) and learn new skills (hardware and software skills) to stay up to date with the changing tech landscape. What is the TechShop you ask? TechShop provides you 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, and pretty much everything you’d ever need to make just about anything. The TechShop is for EVERYBODY! (note, I stole a good deal of this description from their website, because I couldn’t remember exactly the types of machines they actually had from memory!)
And not only do you get access to the machines, but also to computers set up with cutting edge CAD and design tools, many of them powered by AutoDesk. PLUS, you can use the office space upstairs to sit and flesh out the businessy aspects of your business, as well as make use of the conference rooms in the facility. All this for $125/month! Of course courses cost extra, but many of the basic training one would need before using the machines and certain software are actually credited back to be used for another course. So they really give big incentives to help you get started. So get going, to a location near you, and start building! TechShop is currently in Menlo Park (CA), Raleigh (NC), San Francisco (CA), San Jose (CA), Detroit (MI), and soon to be in Portland (OR), Brooklyn, (NY), and Los Angeles (CA).