TechShop in the LA Times
techShop061008.jpg

Congrats to our pals at TechShop for the article about them in yesterday’s LA Times.

Since opening in October 2006, TechShop has attracted 300 members, each paying $100 a month for hands-on access to the sophisticated tools. The operation also sells supplies and charges for classes.

“It’s like a health club,” said TechShop founder Jim Newton, a former science advisor for the TV show “Myth Busters.” “But instead of exercise equipment, we have welders and laser cutters and sheet-metal equipment.”

Now TechShop is poised to expand. Newton, 45, plans to open 11 additional locations in the coming year. Soon, TechShops may appear in markets as diverse as Austin, Texas; Orlando, Fla.; and Los Angeles.

TechShop: Where do-it-yourself inventors do R&D

10 thoughts on “TechShop in the LA Times

  1. we had a rental workshop here for a while, but it died. i think i know the problem: they weren’t charging $100 a month.

  2. Even at $100 a month they must be running the business like a charity. Many members are paying less due to various promotions. Even if all 300 members payed $100/mo, that’s $360K/yr, which is less than the lease on a good sized warehouse in Silicon Valley. The leases on all the equipment they offer have got to be more than that. And we haven’t even started on the paid staff.

    They talk about branching out in the article, but how will they survive? Silicon Valley has the most rich nerds, and it sounds like a tough business even out here.

  3. I think Tech Shop makes much of its money with the classes it offers. To qualify to use a tool, you have to pay $30 to take a 1 hour qualification class. Advanced classes are also offered to help you get more out of the tools. Classes are also offered to anyone, reaching far more than it 300 member base might imply.

  4. Is the equipment just available to the 300 members or do they make money renting time hourly? I can see a lot of people would use it a few hours a month, but not a lot to commit to that kind of level. I probably would if there was one a lot closer to here.

    $30 for a 1 hour class is great, but I’d resent having to pay $30 for permission to use a tool I’m already paying a monthly fee for. The qualifications should be free for members.

  5. The fees were recently raised to $125 a month. There was actually a sign-up special during the month of May, I got a six-month membership for $500. I followed news about TechShop since the day it was announced, and I wasn’t even living in the area yet. After I moved here, I helped demolish and rebuild the internals of the office building they converted to a workspace. I’ve been a member off and on over the past years. A lot of the equipment is older, either cheap or donations, but is still in good shape. The classes are mainly for high-tech/fragile or dangerous equipment, such as laser cutters and engine lathes. You do learn a lot in the introductory classes, it’s worth the $30 to understand the house rules for a piece of equipment and not waste time looking for adjustment knobs or the tool rack.

Comments are closed.

Tagged

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn