San Francisco Inventor's workshop

Copied from alt.inventors:
For all the inventors in this group who live in the San Francisco bay
area and don't have a place or the right tools to work on their
inventions and prototypes, there is a new open-access public workshop
that is scheduled to open in July 2006.
The workshop will offer members a full range of tools and machines,
including milling machines, lathes, welders, plastics equipment, sheet
metal machines, electronics design and fabrication equipment, and
classes covering all tools and processes.
Prices are expected to be $25 for an all-day unlimited pass, and $100
for a monthly unlimited pass.
More information is available at:
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You can also sign up for the mailing list to stay up to date on the
Reply to
Wayne Lundberg
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It will all be fun and games until someone puts an eye out....
Reply to
Jim Stewart
I seem to recall someone opening a place like that here in Red Sox Nation a few years ago, but I haven't heard anything about it since then. Anyone know if it made it?
Maybe 30 years ago there used to be "fix your own car" places around here where you could rent a stall with a lift and any needed "special" tools by the hour.
Haven't heard much about them lately either. I tend to agree that the liability issues probably made them go extinct.
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
There was a thread here about that place just a little while ago. I can't find it just now, but IIRC someone mentioned that they spoke with the guy that opened the place in Woburn, MA. (cummins park, I think). He indicated that it was mostly outrageously high rent that sapped all of his cash before he could get rolling. Apparently the sense was that a place like that would need to be near a large, mostly urban population and be easy to get to, in order to be able to attract enough customers to be viable. As I'm sure you know Jeff, for us here in Mass-A-Chew-Setts that equals severe big real estate costs.
I wanted to go take a look around the place, but it closed before I got a chance. I don't have much need for such a place as I have a shop that meets most of what I like to do, but I did like the concept.
Oh, here is a bit about it's unfortunate demise:
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-AL A.
Reply to
Yes, that's the place I was thinking of, thanks.
I never dropped in, prolly because of my good fortune in having my eldest son, now 41, start up a metalworking business making fancy workbenches, which currently numbers among its employees my youngest son, who's just 19.
His place has all the larger machines I don't have at home, plus guys who can weld better than I could ever have hoped to, and a huge powdercoat paint oven. When I have an occasional "too big" job, that's where it gets done.
Proud papa gloat follows:
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Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Jeff, you have every reason to gloat over your son's accomplishments. Congratulations.
Reply to
Hi Wayne...
I am one of the founders of TechShop, and I came across your message...and I wanted to thank you for forwarding our information anout the new TechShop facility to the folks on this NG.
Liability is of course a big issue! That's the first thing we needed to address. We have consulted with an attorney and two insurance agents and we can get full coverage for under $7,000 per year.
There are several other similar businesses here in the San Francisco Bay Area including the Sawdust Shop in Sunnyvale, the Crucible in Oakland, QBox and the Shipyard in Berkeley, and they have dealt with this liability issue as well without any problems. Insurance is often the scapegoat used by failed businesses to cover poor business planning and management.
I designed and taught a "BattleBots" class for adults at the College of San Mateo for a few years, and a machine and fabrication shop is not as dangerous an environment as many people think. Everyone gets a complete safety briefing before operating a new machine or tool, and it seemed to work well in the classes with no injuries more serious than a band-aid would fix.
I was the Science Advisor for the Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" show for 9 months during season 3, and learned a lot about safety and shop dangers there. ;) We nearly got blown up the second day of the season when the big vacuum chamber imploded while we were a foot away from looked like a potato chip afterwards, and luckily nobody was killed or even hurt at all! It shook the whole building when it imploded. Too bad the cameras were not rolling yet. ;) There were some injuries there now and then, but nothing too major.
But your points are well taken about the liability issues. We will be very strict about issuing warnings to people if they are observed acting in any unsafe manner.
The liability issues having been addressed, we are very excited about the level of interest in the TechShop project! We have had 300 people express their interest in becoming members immediately, and those people all signed up for our mailing list since Saturday at the Maker Faire! Our web site is getting a lot of traffic, too. We have learned from people on the mailing list and at the Maker Faire and at the Hobebrew Robotics Club that the TechShop facility is something that people really need and want. We have struck a nerve!
So if you live in the San Francisco area, I think you will like the TechShop facility...please visit the web site and sign up to be on our mailing list!
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(www DOT techshop DOT ws).
--Jim Newton, TechShop
Reply to
Thanks for posting here.
I sent you an email earlier today with some questions I had. Maybe you could answer them here for the benefit of this group.
My biggest question is how you are handling expendable items like gas for the torch, and wire for the welder, and material for the 3D printer. It seems to me like these type of items could go well beyond your $25.00 per day fee.
What happens when somebody crashes your expensive equipment?
What kind of hours will you keep?
How will you make sure small tools don't "walk away:?
Reply to
Dave Lyon
--Hi Jim; good to see you reading r.c.m.! Lookin' forward to checking out the shop when you get it rolling. Re: liability issues I hope there are plans to have something akin to a "lifeguard" around when folks are hackin' away; one thing I learned from the CSM classes was the apalling lack of knowhow in folks who were bashing away in that shop! :-)
Reply to
What's your plan for machine maintenance and prevention of users butchering the equipment? All it takes is one second for a careless person to drill hole someplace that wasn't intended, or crash something. Keep that up for any length of time, and you'll soon have a collection of anchors made of drillium.
Having said that, I forwarded your URL to a few people and all have expressed interest. I truly wish you the best of luck and hope the project becomes successful because I see myself as a user in the future.
Reply to

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