We've all seen the coolio remodeling gigs featured on HGTV and Apartment Therapy and thought "I can totally do that." Sadly, so many of us are limited not by our mad ninja skills, but by a sheer lack of space in which to build cool stuff. I have a nice oak table that's awaiting refinishing, and it's going to wait until I can borrow a garage. DIY kids in the Menlo Park, CA area now have a great option for sharing a fully stocked workshop.
TechShop can best be described as a machine shop slash laboratory that lets you buy a membership to play with all the cool toys. The extensive equipment list includes all the standard workshop tools, but there are a few hot to trot pieces of esoteric technology that would make my Hack Crew cry. Few of my friends have plasma cutters or sheet metal brakes, and none of them can compete with the coolest gadgets like a 3D prototyping printer or a laser cutter! I can just imagine the things I would do with access to a laser cutter!
Safety is going to be a high priority at the TechShop: The heavy iron power tools will require users to take one hour training sessions for safety certifications, and there's an impressive list of classes for members to expand their horizons by learning new craft skills.
Membership fees for unlimited usage are $30 for a single day pass, $100 for a month, and $1,000 for a full year. When you factor in the price of renting a studio, paying utilities, and buying pro grade tools, annual memberships in the TechShop start to look better than reasonable. It's even convenient; the long term plans are to turn the TechShop into a 24 hour everyday tool crib, but for the initial kickoff it's open from 9AM to 10PM on all seven days.