Except it’s all of the woodworking tools, electronics tools, saws, welders, laser cutters, routers, computer programs, and staff support that you’ll ever need, available in a SOMA warehouse for $125 a month. The member-based shop offers access to its facilities after you’ve taken the necessary SBU (Safety and Basic Use) class for each piece of equipment. I discovered the place about a year ago when I was asked to help document the projects of its members, and from there it’s not hard to imagine how this story came about.
After spending time at TechShop, I’ve realized that its amazing business model of fostering a creative community through shared resources has helped it become ground zero for many San Francisco start-ups. Whether the initial idea is to build the next super-computer or to tinker with an art project, TechShop is the place to turn dreams into tangible realities.
Below are a few TechShop members who have taken full advantage of the facilities to create interesting new business opportunities.
Product: Bosavi Headlamp
What is it? A rechargeable headlamp (USB and solar), with packaging that doubles as a lantern.
What was used: injection molding machine, laser cutters, CNC mill, manual mills
Product: Oru Kayak
What is it? Foldable kayak, which can be assembled in minutes from a suitcase-size box, and weighs only 20 lbs.
What was used: laser cutter, ShopBot, metal shop
Product: Laser Helmet LH80 PRO
What is it? An FDA-approved consumer-level hair growth helmet. It stimulates cell activity in your scalp and hair follicles, increasing the flow of blood and leaving you with a full head of hair. Although the technology has been available for several years, this is the first home model.
What was used: ShopBot, industrial sewing machine, silk screen, laser cutter, vinyl cutter, woodshop, soldering, and electronics
Product: Folia Design SF
What is it? Laser-cut jewelry and home goods
What was used: laser cutter
& David Steinrueck
Product: Wood Thumb
What is it? Wood ties and wood bow ties made from repurposed wood.
What was used: table saw, chop saw (for metal and wood), CNC router
TechShop has five locations around the U.S. (three are in the Bay Area – San Francisco, Menlo Park, and San Jose), with a sixth opening in Brooklyn, New York. Check out the different membership options and start making, inventing, and tinkering today.