A New Playground for the Innovatively Inclined

If you have visions dancing in your head of new products that don’t yet exist, the new Tech Shop in San Francisco, at 926 Howard Street (near 7th Street) is where you can make your new idjit a reality.

On Friday, January 14th, the Tech Shop had a grand opening. The new facility’s parent is the original Tech Shop in Menlo Park, founded by Jim Newton, which opened October 1, 2006. A candy store for the innovatively inclined, the tech shop is a membership based, open-access do-it-yourself workshop.

The Tech Shop has grown outside the Bay Area as well, with locations in Raleigh, NC and Portland, OR. This year new shops will also open in San Jose, CA and Detroit, MI.

Classes cover the gamut if you want to create something. Before you use a specific tool you have to have proficiency of it and it may require that you first take an “SBU” class which covers safety and basic usage. Among the many tools at the Tech Shop you’ll find laser cutters, TIG welding, plasma cutters, vinyl cutters, industrial sewing machines, mold makers and more. There’s even a class on patenting your invention.

It’s couldn’t be more appropriate that the tag line for the Tech Shop is “Build Your Dreams Here.” But you don’t have to have a new product in mind to enjoy what the Tech Shop has to offer. There’s also classes like basic woodworking (I signed up for this one). In this class you learn to make a small bench that you can sit on while you put your shoes on.

This class will complete the WoodWorking Safety and Basic Usage requirements at the Tech Shop. Plus, you’ll learn to use a circular saw, jig saw, drill press, power screwdriver, radial arm saw and table saw to create a bench. Then, you can use the scroll saw or jig saw or CNC ShopBot to decorate the bench. Do you know what CNC ShopBot is?

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