Sunday, September 25, 2011

TechShop Comes to San Jose!

Yesterday I spent a few hours at the grand opening of the TechShop in San Jose. This open access tools shop is amazing. On large chalk boards they engaged the public with the question "What would you make if you could make ANYTHING?" This was a great question to hold in one's head as one entered the space.

I liked how they describe themselves on their website:

"You can think of TechShop like a fitness club, but with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment. It is sort of like a Kinko's for makers, or a Xerox PARC for the rest of us.
TechShop is designed for everyone, regardless of their skill level."
 Above: Vacuum form machine. Our engaging TechShop tour guide said "This is where clone troopers are born".

I was particularly interested in their textile equipment. They had an industrial single stitch sewing machine, two walking foot industrial sewing machines, several regular sewing machines, an industrial serger, a digital CNC embroidery machine and this free arm quilting machine below. It was exciting to learn that their etching machine (in another room) can etch fabric as I would love to experiment with velveteen etching.
They have a lot of software on their computers and have a partnership with Autodesk. This has enabled the TechShop to have about 20,000 worth of equipment on each computer. I signed up for their 3 month membership special yesterday and look forward to experimenting with the wealth of resources in both tools and people expertise. Everyone there was so friendly.

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