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Be Your Own MythBuster at TechShop

A new space in SF with all the tools, workspace and skills for budding inventors, tinkerers and crafters.
By - posted 10/19/2011 No Comment

Have you ever watched the guys work on MythBusters and wished you too could get your hands dirty? Ever combed through the awesome blueprints on Instructables and wished you could make your own badass Steampunk lamp? Ever longed for more than a glue gun in your craft-making kit?

At the rescue is TechShop with a new location in San Francisco, another in Menlo Park and one coming soon in San Jose. TechShop is a one-of-a-kind, do-it-yourself, membership-based workshop that’s got all the equipment you could ever need access to: from sewing machines to welding gear, to woodworking, to mills, lathes and laser cutters.

It’s a place dreamt up for inventors, makers, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, robotic teams, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and all those who lack the tools, space or skills, but not the willpower to make cool stuff.

TechShop At-A-Glance:

What is it? A do-it-yourself workshop packed full of cumbersome and expensive tools.

How Much Does It Cost?
—Memberships: $125/month or $99 with recurring membership or $75 for students.
—Classes from $30 to over $100.
—FREE Wi-Fi, coffee & popcorn.

Where is it?
— San Francisco: 926 Howard Street – (415) 263-9161
— Menlo Park : 120 Independence Drive – (800)-640-1975
— San Jose (Opening Soon in Summer 2011): 300 South 2nd Street

The trouble with many of those awesome projects you have is that they require equally awesome tools, the kinds that bend metals, shape and make holes in them or the precision woodworking saws you just don’t have the space or the budget for. For example, a band saw with a stand costs $369 at Home Depot while drill presses go for $429. Want a rotary turret punch (for sheet metal work)? Those sell for at least $2k on eBay and a single laser cutter alone costs something like $25k.

With TechShop, you can access these for $125 a month after a $60 class. That may seem spendy (after all, when have you seen something that’s $125 on the Funcheap list?) but for some people it’s an investment: careers have been started there and local artists come down to push their wares to the next level (ever tried a laser cutter on paper? It’ll put your scissors to shame.)

The initial $60 class you need to take (and pass) is mainly for safety reasons. “You won’t be an expert in what you just learned once you’ve passed TechShop’s class, but you are approved to use, practice, and learn on the equipment and go about your project,” said TechShop’s Devon McGuire.

Like Role-Playing Games, sometimes you need to acquire experience points before you go on. That’s what the classes are for. They got everything from Electronics: Measurements Made Easy to Carbon Fiber Basic and Moldmaking & Casting Basics. For a complete list of classes offered at TechShop click here.


  • Abrasives: Disk Sander, Grinders, Sand Blasting Cabinet, Wire Wheel, Vibratory Polisher
  • Arts and Crafts: Vinyl Cutter, Glass Cutters, Soldering Irons, Sewing Machine, Sewing Machine, Overlock Machine, Embroidery Machine
  • Automotive: Floor Jack and Jack Stands, Motorcycle Lift, Transmission Jack, Engine Hoist, Battery Charger, Pneumatic Tools, also: Powder Coating Station and Oven, Spray Painting Area
  • Electronics: Multimeter, Oscilloscope, Soldering Station, Power Supply, Signal Generator, Frequency Counter, Variable Transformer
  • Fabrication: Cold Saw, Drill Press, Horizontal Band Saw, Vertical Band Saw, Tubing Bender, Angle Iron Bender/Notcher
  • Plastics & Prototyping: Vacuum Forming Station, Heat Strip Bender, Injection Molder, Router Table, 3D Printer, Laser Cutter, 3D Scanner
  • Sheet Metal: Box and Pan Brake, English Wheel, Planishing Hammer, Rotary Turret Punch, Sheet Metal Shear, Slip Roll, Throatless Shear, Corner Notcher
  • Wood Working: Wood Router, Table Saw, Compound Miter Saw, Table Router, Band Saw, Belt/Disc Sander, Lathe, Scroll Saw, Drill Press
  • Also: Lathes and Milling Machines for machining, SLR Cameras and Projectors, Assorted Hand and Power Tools, Calipers and Micrometer for measurements, Granite Surface Plate and Height Gauges for layouts, Plasma Cutters and Welders for welding

FunCheap Tip: Some people maybe just want a little know-how about “normal” tools such as hack saws, drills, chisels, glues and rulers. That’s fine. TechShop offers a $55 Hand Tool Basics class where you’ll learn about the proper tools and techniques to cut, shape, assemble and finish a small project. If you don’t already have those kinds of tools simply check them out for free at a Tool Lending Library near you. Depending on budget cuts, service ebbs and flows but most large cities have them.