TechShop Detroit is finally a reality, after its grand opening today in Allen Park next to the Detroit Lions training facility and headquarters. Part fabrication shop, part vocational training facility, the TechShop idea was started in 2006 in Menlo Park, California as a way to provide access to industrial tools and fabrication equipment to the public.
TechShop Detroit is the fifth franchise, with three in California and one in North Carolina. For a monthly or yearly membership fee, members are given access to various tools and equipment that would otherwise not be available to them. Tools like MIG and TIG welders, plasma cutters, 3D printers, CNC routers, CNC mills, lathes, oscilloscopes, and even industrial sized sewing machines are all included at the facility.
Additionally, there are classes at the facility that teach members how to use the equipment and allows like-minded creative types to interact with each other. It is expected that this type of creative environment, combined with the tools and equipment available will serve as an incubator for patents and business ideas. With the new patent office opening in Detroit, and the highest per capita number of engineers in the nation, it would seem that Detroit is well poised to move into the future as a hotbed of innovation.
The 38,000 square foot facility is located at 800 Republic Drive in Allen Park, next to the Detroit Lions training facility and was launched in a partnership between Ford and software company Autodesk. To use the facilities you can purchase a monthly membership for $99 or save money by getting the annual rate. Additionally, there are classes offered that are generally less than $100. Look for several package deals available such as one that provides 3 months membership to the facility and any two classes for $299. A list of the classes offered, along with their descriptions is here: http://techshop.ws/take_classes.html?storeId=6
Ford is offering free memberships to TechShop Detroit to any employees that submit ideas that are patentable. They have already received hundreds of submissions and expect to give away around 2,000 memberships due to the incentive in the first year. The hope is that many of these inventions will bring jobs to the area and help reshape the economy of Detroit.
For more information, visit their website or call 313-583-3831.