Wednesday, December 4, 2013

TechShop Comes to Chandler, Arizona!

The East Valley is already home to entrepreneurial powerhouse Gangplank and maker heaven HeatSync.  A couple weeks ago, one of the most fascinating companies I've watched over the last several years opened its newest location right here in the Phoenix area.  I had even gone to San Fran to see if it was as amazing as I thought it would be, and it was and so much more.  I wrote about my account here:

Around the same time, I was so hyped up (and at the time there were no publicly announced plans to come to Arizona), that I started formulating a business case to present to the good people at TechShop in hopes of influencing them to set up shop here.  As part of my research, I issued a survey, but remember that this was long before I understood marketing or social media utilization, so my survey didn't get enough responses to be worthwhile.  However, I am still amazed and excited about the possibilities TechShop brings with it, so I thought I'd spill out some of the benefits I saw back then:

I believe TechShop appeals to several markets in the Phoenix area:
- student organizations can take classes and get hands-on experience with things like injection-molding and prototyping
- professional societies can hold events there to explore fields that the individuals may not otherwise have exposure to
- entrepreneurs and the organizations that support them can utilize the facility for prototyping and low-volume fabrication
- car and motorcycle enthusiasts can design and fabricate custom parts and work on their vehicles with the equipment available
- manufacturing companies can utilize the facility to turn a part quickly instead of having to send it back if something was wrong
- individuals can expand their knowledge base with classes and practice
- engineering courses can utilize the equipment for better fabrication of their projects
- crafters, sewers and quilters will love the quality of sewing and quilting machines available
- architecture courses can utilize the large workspaces to build their projects

The benefits to Phoenix would be:
- entrepreneurs are enabled to start companies and create jobs
- more dreamers can become entrepreneurs
- individuals can enhance their skills and be better prepared for their next job interview
- TechShop provides a unique venue to host company parties and organization events
Now that TechShop is here, I thought I'd add some tidbits and ideas to get you as excited as I am.  

Ideas to get you going
  • Getting married?  Consider using the laser cutter to etch a design into champagne glasses instead of paying for the same customization.
  • Expecting a grandchild or nephew or niece?  The CNC quilting and sewing machines make it easy to embroider beautiful designs.
  • Play board games?  You could actually design and print unique game pieces using the MakerBot II.  
  • Need to advertise something in a really BIG way?  TechShop has a huge printer.  Depending on what you need, it may be worthwhile to print your own instead of going to an office store. 
Did you know?
  • Almost all of the signage, wall hardware and decorations of TechShop were made at TechShop.
  • TechShop has Dream Consultants to help the less-than-mechanically-savvy inventor make what it is they drew on their napkins.
  • TechShop tradition is for the most recently opened facility to train the staff of the next facility to open.  So, our Chandler employees were trained in Pittsburgh, and they will soon be training the DC employees.  
  • Many of the products coming out of the classes are gear-shaped, to remind you of the TechShop logo.

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