You don’t need your own exercise equipment to get fit, so why do you need your own machine tools to build something cool?
Such thinking led Jim Newton to found the first TechShop, a high‑tech workshop open to anyone who pays a modest membership fee. Think of it as a health club for geeks. Instead of treadmills and elliptical trainers, you’ll find laser and plasma cutters, milling machines and lathes, oscilloscopes and frequency generators. What’s more, you’ll run into like-minded folk who can give you tips on everything from tungsten inert-gas welding to computer-aided design, either through organized classes or informal coaching.
That first TechShop opened its doors in Menlo Park, Calif., in October 2006. Now it’s branching out. Two new facilities, one in Durham, N.C., and another in Portland, Ore., are opening soon, and more are in the planning stages [see sidebar, “A New Crop of Shops”
What a nifty idea!
Communities (like Milwaukee aka for “fixing Milwaukee”) would do well to promote these things with an rapid permit approvals and fee waivers. Heck, waive property taxes for a couple of years! The payoff will be worth it.
From IEEE Spectrum 10/2008
Photo w/o permission: Timothy Archibald