Shop space Question

Is anyone aware of any businesses or co-op's where a person can go in
and use woodworking, metal, or other types of tools and machinery for
personal or hobby use. A place designed for the person that doesn't
have the cash, space, or need for specialize tools but does like to
work with their hands. Any information would be appreciated.
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Sorry, I can't help you with that but your question got me to thinking that maybe local job-shops ought to offer people the chance to use their equipment and learn how to run a mill/lathe/ect, while getting some free work out of them?
For example, I run a (manual) vertical mill at work but would also like to learn how to use a CNC mill and lathe.
I'd be willing to stop by after work for a few of hours a week and work for "Joe Blow's Machine Shop", turning out parts on his CNC mill and/or lathe, in exchange for him teaching me how to use these machines.
I'd get some experience and training for free and he'd get some work done for free.
There would also be the added benefit of "cross-pollination" of potential employee/employer; He may need someone to replace an employee who leaves and would already know of a possible replacement and I may need a job in the future and would already know of a shop that might hire me.
Any of you shop owners think an idea like this might work and what issues would need to be considered before you'd be willing to give it a try?
Reply to
Hari Seldon
This concept existed...may still exist....up north (Ohio) the sixties for auto-repair. They supplied the lifts, tools, etc...and had a knowledgeable person on site to assist without actually doing the labor. They also had competitively priced common parts available on site.
I would assume that anything like this nowadays would be impossible from an insurance perspective, and even if it were, the first insurance settlement would destroy it.
Reply to
Jim Newell
"learn how" costs would only be second to "insurance costs"
Prior to retirement, I ran a number of navy shops and hobby shop facilities and "learning how" was very time consuming and generally hard on equipment and tooling. Hence, only qualified shop personnel were allow to operate shop equipment. In the hobby shops, we would have indoctrination sessions about once a week and verified that hobbyist had enough knowledge to not hurt themselves, other and finally, not damage the machines or tooling.
Assistance in set up, tool selection, machine speed, etc. can require considerable supervisory attention in a learning or hobby shop setting.
I'm not a very knowledgeable machinist, although I have been a supervisor of a medium size machine shop (yep! that was me.) Only now that I'm fully retired, go hang out with other metal workers and exchange ideas and shop practices. If I'm lucky, they might let me do a job on one of their machines. However, it is always evident that they would rather I make my mistakes on my own machines. Hence I am now, at the age of 68, setting up a medium size machine shop, plus my usual welding, wood working and metal fabrication equipment. The jobs I do will never justify the amount I am spending or the space it takes up, but at least I'm not working with someone else's prized machine.
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Just this past year, someone on this NG posted a link to just such a place here in the Peoples Republik of Massachusetts. I wnat to say that it was in Woburn, but am not 100% sure on that. A quick search did not find it, but maybe some more skillful googling could.
The place had a website that showed wood and metal shop machines and a forge with "more to come"... I think you had to sign up and take a saftey course to use the machines and you could purchase memberships for cheaper rates on shop time, classes and other benifits. Woburn is maybe 25 minutes from here, but I never went to see it, though I found the concept interesting.
Not sure if they still exist. My brain has lost any further details. Maybe someone else here can recall the discussion.
Al A.
PS - PLEASE! somebody find it so that I know I was not imaganing it all...
Reply to
Al A.
I occasionally see ads for shared shop space. Typically this is for floor space plus access to a big table saw and whatever else is in the space. Plan on hundreds of $$$ per month.
I have also seen flyers for auto shop with lift. $20 an hour or so.
A local community center may have wood (and other) shop space for the casual user. wrote:
Reply to
While I am no longer running my machines for gain, without question, I wouldn't permit *ANYONE* that is not a seasoned machinist to touch my machines. That includes family members. Machine tools are costly, and easily damaged by those that have little or no experience.
Reply to
Harold and Susan Vordos
Found it! It was called "Sparqs Industrial Arts Club" located in Woburn Mass. it appears to have fallen prey to any and all of the issues mentioned in this thread, and is now out of business. If you google the name, you will find links to a few articles that state that they ran out of funding.
I don't have much need for such a service, but I thought the concept was cool.
Link to the original RCM thread here:
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Reply to
Al A.
The best way I know of handling such a situation is to join a model making club (model engineering, model live steam, model ships, etc.) in your area, and get to know the better knowledgable members well.
Then for the services a member provides for you, you offer something of value in return (free legal, dental, medical, sevices etc. are always welcome)!
That's how I do it, but not just restricted to the list above, which is a little, but only a little, tongue-in-cheek. Eg. offer to buy a nice-to-have tool which could otherwise not be justified.
Under NO circumstances would I allow anyone to operate my machinery, for the very good reasons given by others here. A band saw or drill press might be an exeption.
The only alternative I can think of is to take machine shop classes at your community college. Once you have learned the basics of machine tool operation you can talk to the professor and he would cut you some slack to make your own stuff........I certainly would have.
But, without good and demonstrable machining skills it is highly unlikely that you will get to use privately owned machines.
Trust this helps.
Reply to
I just acquired and am moving into a 2650 sqft shop and I am planning to expand that by another 1600 sqft.
Now most might question why anyone would need 4000+ sqft of shop if not in business. The answer, I live in the rainy Pac. NW, have many interests and hobbies and frequently jump from one to another. Hence, many incomplete project to protect. Vehicles take up a lot of space and spare parts vehicles take up some more.
My original intent was to rent out half the space to another hobbyist but along came my brother who is heavy into VWs and 2/3 of the original floor plan has been absorbed my his collection.. Funny, I don't see a rent check coming every month (so far). However I have installed a separate power circuit and meter to his end of the building.
Now, I must figure out how to contain him to 1/3rd of the space.
My point, check around for a family member or friend who might have some space to rent.
Another prospect and I did this in San Diego. Rent a storage unit where the manager will look the other way while you work in you space. The place I found had one group of 12X20 unit which opened to the exterior of, otherwise, fenced compound. This allow less security but did allow 24hr/day access and no need to go thru the gate. There were a couple Mexican mechanics working out of their units. The draw back was very limited electric power. Mainly it was the lighting circuit with drop cords and you had to be sure no one else was loading it down when your compressor was turned on.
There may be some smallish industrial parks that could offer a small portion of a Co-op leased area for an individual to rent/lease and then provide your own machines or maybe share some common machines.
Just my thoughts.
Reply to
A few years ago, in the San Fran. area, the old Hunters Point (former) navy shipyard was mostly vacant and the city was offering loft or shop space for about $.25/sq ft. Not bad. You could get a small area for your hobby or Cottage Industry. The last time I was there, it was still mostly, under utilized.
Just a thought
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According to :
The followups which I have seen so far have focused on the reasons why such are rare at best.
But -- unless you have free air fare to anywhere, and lots of time, I would think that such a question would be best accompanied with a rough idea of where you live, so someone could have an idea whether an existing facility would be close enough to you to make it practical.
Good Luck, DoN.
Reply to
DoN. Nichols
True, but one could start on simple stuff or only do one operation at a time and I'm looking at this as the employer/"teacher" only dealing with working machinists as "students", not newbies who have no idea what's going on.
And maybe a way to deal with the insurance issue is for the "student" to be treated as a contractor, exchanging work done for the employer for skills learned?
Reply to
Hari Seldon
It's not a matter of cost, it's a matter of availability. I thought about doing something like this a few years ago and had my insurance broker check around. Not even one of the specialty insurance companies would touch it.
Reply to
I was the one who posted about Sparqs. I dropped in once, out of curiosity and spoke to the owner. It was a nice setup and he was/is a nice guy. I said something about insurance, about it must be a killer. His reply was no, the insurance isn't so bad - the killer is the rent. He needed quite a bit of space and it had to be in a good (convenient = expensive) location. Nobody was going to go to the boondocks to use machines. He had dreams of franchising it. Didn't last long, too bad.
Reply to
Bob Engelhardt
Here in Louisville back in the 1970's there was a garage called Rent A Wrench or something like that, that would rent out space and/or tools as needed. They provided a lift, compressed air, wrenches and any other tools that would be used for ordinary parts replacement-type work at so much per hour. Customers could, of course, bring their own tools if they had them. They closed down around 1979, don't know if it was due to lack of demand, lack of money or what, and since then there have not been any other shops in the area that do this. If the unavailability or high cost of insurance is the problem, one way around this might be to just operate without it, and advertise that fact, therefore (in theory) discouraging lawsuits since there would not be enough money available to make it worth a lawyer's time. The concept of a co-op machine shop open to the public is a good one up to a point, but if I was the owner I would want to be able to verify that the customer knew how to operate the equipment before turning them loose with it.
Reply to
It all depends on the individual and his basic skills and how he handles himself around machinery. I have no problem letting some one run my machines if he has good basic skills with tools.
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