Detroit Free Press Tom Walsh column [Detroit Free Press]
(Detroit Free Press (MI) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) May 05--You've always wanted to make something yourself -- be it a guitar, a toboggan or an automotive gadget -- but you've never had the tools or the know-how.
TechShop Detroit, a membership-based fabrication shop and do-it-yourself training center, could change your life.
With a two-day open house and grand opening celebration this weekend at 800 Republic Drive in Allen Park, metro Detroit becomes the nation's fifth location for TechShop, which has created lots of buzz among entrepreneurs and DIYers since founder Jim Newton launched the first one in Menlo Park, Calif., in 2006.
At a unique "ribbon-cutting" ceremony Friday, U.S. Rep. John Dingell donned green safety goggles to help Randy Visintainer, Ford's director of research and innovation, slice through a titanium and steel ribbon with a plasma cutter. Ford has partnered with TechShop and software maker Autodesk to launch the venture in a 38,000-square-foot building owned by Ford Land, next door to the Detroit Lions training facility in Allen Park.
Bill Coughlin, president of Ford Global Technologies, said the Dearborn automaker has offered free 3-month memberships at TechShop to any Ford employee who submits an idea worthy of patent consideration. As a result, he said, the number of employee ideas submitted has risen 30% since the start of the year. Ford expects to award more than 2,000 TechShop membership incentives this year.
How does TechShop work? Think of it as a fitness center, with a monthly membership cost to use the pool and workout gear, plus modest fees for yoga or aerobics classes.
But a $99-per-month TechShop membership provides unlimited access to a vast array of cutting, welding, woodworking and other tools plus software. Training classes on specific tools run about $60.
This grand opening weekend features discount deals such as one-month membership plus a training class for $79, or three classes for $99. For more information, call 313-583-3831 or go to http://techshop.ws online.
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