If the smell of sawdust and the hum of a milling machine are calling your inner entrepreneur,
may be in your future.
The Menlo Park company is opening its seventh workshop studio in the country in early March in Bakery Square, across from Google’s office.
The 16,000 square-foot space is shaping up to be a lively and inviting one, splashed with color and tall windows that give curious shoppers a peek within. TechShop is a membership studio, offering sophisticated tools and machinery to make products and prototypes, everything from 3D printers to laser cutters and machines for textiles and quilt making.
“We have all the tools you need to make just about anything on the planet,” says Mark Hatch, CEO, who was in town last week giving tours of the emerging studio. “We want to make sure any maker has access to a facility like ours.”
The idea for the creation of nationwide workshops that encourage budding master crafters emerged from Richard Florida’s theory of creative class cities, says Hatch.
“We do a complete analysis of where creatives in the city live and lay it against the city’s grid, looking for retail locations with a flexible landlord,” he says. “Most of our neighborhoods (where TechShops are located) have a technology bent.”
In addition to gaining access to equipment for a monthly fee ($100 a month), TechShop will offer classes and training (such as how to launch a kickstarter campaign) and opportunities to nonprofits.
The studio already has its success stories. Hatch recounts how Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter, designed and made his first Square at the Oakland TechShop, the small, plastic piece that allows smartphone users to swipe credit cards.
The Pittsburgh TechShop was supported through an investment partnership with DARPA and the Dept. of Veteran Affairs. The collaboration gives veterans across the country a free one-year membership to the nearest Tech Shop.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Mark Hatch, TechShop
Image: Mark Hatch, CEO of TechShop in Pittsburgh