For-profit hackerspace?

Anyone been to one of these TechShop places? They sound a lot like a hackerspace with professional management.


Also - look at the comments for this story. Anyone know who Lee Krieg is and/or heard anything about this Manufactory place?

Never been to one as most are out west, but I know that the ones that do exist are pretty nice. They don’t seem to be exactly like a hackerspace in that they are almost purely just tool workshops basically. You go there very specifically to use the tools they have and work on your project. So, similar, but different community.

There’s one near my house. The tools are nice, but it’s expensive and feels sterile compared to the average hackerspace. There is no community at all and it’s not “fun”.

The tools are all that TechShop and hackerspaces have in common, in my opinion.

–Jess, Texan

Techshop had a big tent at Maker Faire Detroit in 2011. My take was they were an early stage inventors’ incubator, and that their ideal customer was an individual looking to rapid prototype a commercial product.

The tent was slick, all the booth folks had iPads and were demoing some CAD thing, SolidWorks maybe?

I didn’t get the vibe that they were interested in teaching and community.

Techshop is okay. At least the one in SF. Yes, people do a lot of proto work and small lot bespoke kinda manufacture as well. No drama, but it's fairly expensive and scheduling time on some of the gear can be pretty difficult, especially the month or two prior to Burning Man. We get people into NB off and on who are only there because someone told them we had a laser cutter (which is a pretty crappy one compared to the gear at TechShop or Hive's unit) that people can just walk in and use. They tend to express great amazement at this concept of not having to schedule long in advance.

They aren't bad about the teaching, but it is more limited to how to use the equipment as opposed to the kind of presentations you find in hackerspaces. You also pay for those machine checkouts on a per session basis. Depending on how you got your membership they tend to come with some number of the machine classes.

There are a few members of the NB community who use techshop extensively since various factors about NB can make it less than optimal for serious hardware hacking. Hive is much better set up for that end of things.

Note that while I am familiar with TS, I am not a real user of the facility. If a couple of the things I am working on go a certain way, I will need them, but until then the money wouldn't be well spent so my forays there are brief.


I’ve actually been trading emails with Kenny Morand. He’s planning on stopping by Hive13 next Tuesday to see if there is any way we can collaborate. He would have been there last week or the week before to talk to us about it but scheduling conflicts came up.