Tag: techshop

Lunch 2.0 at TechShop Portland, DIY Heaven

img_0389.jpgYesterday, about 40 or so people gathered at TechShop Portland in Beaverton for our second venture into the wild and wooly suburbs.

Unfortunately, we conflicted with the opening day of InnoTech so many of the usual suspects weren’t able to make it.

I did see a lot of new faces, just like at Lunch 2.0 at the OTBC in January, which is a good thing. It’s always nice to meet new people or people you follow on Twitter but never see IRL because they live way far off in the ‘burbs.

TechShop is almost complete and ready for its official opening this coming Saturday, April 25. The warehouse area seems to be done, with only a few finishing touches and furniture remaining in the front office area.

To get us started, Denney Cole, our host, gave a quick intro about what is TechShop. The short version is it’s like a health club, for DIY people. You sign up to be a member, then you bring your projects.

What projects you ask?

Pretty much anything from soft goods (sewing, embroidery, upholstery) to wood-working (cutting, gluing, planing, sanding) to metal-working (melting, welding, grinding, cutting) to painting to robotics and electronics in any combination.

You could conceivably construct a couch from scratch, including the woodwork and finishing work at TechShop, or as Denney says, cut up the aluminum wheels on a junker, melt them down, and resurrect them as door handles and cabinet knobs.

Did I mention they have a laser etching machine too? That, apparently is the crown jewel of the original TechShop, in Menlo Park. I saw one of those in action at Web 2.0 Expo 2008, and that’s a fun toy to have at your disposal. The urge to etch can be strong.

Beyond providing tools and space to store your stuff, TechShop has classes. So you don’t kill, maim or embarrass yourself.

Wm Leler also talked about Open Tech Space, which is housed within TechShop.

Open Tech Space is a freely available gathering place for anyone interesting in creating prototypes, sharing and mentoring, and promoting business development in the technology and art communities. Even if you’re not a TechShop member, you can go to Open Tech Space and hang out with like-minded people. The goal is to put people with ideas together and encourage them to grow those ideas.

That’s really TechShop’s goal too.

After the talking, came the tour.

It’s probably best that we didn’t get a full crowd, since even with 40 people, it was a bit tough to hear Denney in the warehouse.

As we walked around, you could see the wheels turning in people’s heads. We like to build things, take them apart, improve them, and TechShop is full of the tools you need for that kind of learning. I overhead a few ideas flying around, and that’s the great thing about TechShop. It removes the sunk cost of buying and storing tools.

It also removes the spousal reminders to clean up your mess and finish the project already.

While in the wood shop, we saw this mold for a harp switch, which would have made Aaron very happy. Sadly, he didn’t make it.

When we went outside to check out the furnaces, we got a sweet demonstration. One of the furnaces got a bit cranky and decided to shoot flames about ten feet in the air. Not as dangerous as it sounds and very cool. Don Park took some video of a different furnace that gives you an idea.

As the tour wrapped up at the laser etcher, Amye pointed out this friendly reminder on one of the large cutting devices, a Pexto Jump Shear, used to cut large pieces of sheet metal.

ZOMG take the safety class!Did I mention the safety classes?

After the tour ended, the lunch wound down as people wandered around more to soak in the awesome collection of toys, erm tools.

Thanks to Denney for having us. TechShop Portland officially opens on Saturday, April 25, and there will be an open house at 3 PM complete with demonstrations and ideally, fewer geysers of fire. Although, I enjoyed that.

Don’t forget these Lunch 2.0s, coming soon:

If you’re wondering about the WebVisions’ lunch, it will be open to anyone, attending the conference or not. There’s also a rumor that Open Source Bridge may be hosting a lunch before the conference (June 17-19) sometime. Any ideas on venue? Drop a comment.

Big thanks to all the hosts who have hosted or plan to host Lunch 2.0. Drop a comment (or tweet @jkuramot) if you want information about hosting one. It’s easy.

TechShop Portland Lunch 2.0 is Wednesday

On Wednesday, April 22, we’re headed back to the ‘burbs, Beaverton to be exact, for a lunch hosted by Denney Cole and TechShop Portland.

What is TechShop? Glad you asked because it may not be what you’re expecting.

TechShop is a 33,000 square foot membership based workshop that provides members with any skill level to  have access to tools and equipment, instruction, and a creative and supportive community of like minded people so you can build the things you have always wanted to make.

TechShop is perfect for inventors, “makers”, hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboteers, families, entrepreneurs, youth groups, FIRST robotic teams, crackpots, arts and crafts enthusiasts, and anyone else who wants to be able to make things that they dream up but don’t have the tools, space or skills.

In short, TechShop is DIY paradise.

I took a brief tour last week, and if you ever had an itch to build something, you should know about TechShop. Amenities include: every metal and wood-working tool you can imagine, kilns and furnaces, a CNC router, a painting space, a tech hardware tinkering space, a robotics course, a textiles area, and more that I can’t recall right now.

If the tool you need isn’t on the list, they might get one, just ask. Don’t know how to use any tools safely? No worries, there’s a safety class.

TechShop is also home to OpenTechSpace, an open lab space for electronics and computer projects that you can use for free. There are also offices for rent and a computer lab, so it’s an incubator of sorts, with a shop attached.

Denney mentioned he might start a wiki for projects completed at the TechShop, which sounds like a fun time.

img_0373.JPGMy personal favorite project is the urban logging one member is doing.

Ever had a tree toppled by a windstorm? Maybe the city comes to cut and chip it or maybe you pay some company to do that. What a giant waste of perfectly good timber.

Urban logging consists of a guy with a tractor and a big log cutting machine who removes these trees, transports them to TechShop, cuts them down, dries them out in a kiln, and leaves them there, much to the delight of the wood-working members.

So. Very. Portland.

Anyway, Denney is giving us a sneak-peak at the TechShop. He’s been taking members for a while, but the official opening isn’t until April 25. You can get a deal on membership until it opens.

So, head out to the ‘burbs if you’re in Portland, or if you’re in the ‘burbs already, swing by TechShop and say hello. If you’re driving, there’s parking in the front, and if that’s full, you can park in the loading dock area.

As always, please make sure you RSVP over on Upcoming so they know how much food to get and drop a comment there if you’re a vegan or vegetarian.

Hope to see you there.

Don’t forget these Lunch 2.0s, coming soon:

If you’re wondering about the WebVisions’ lunch, it will be open to anyone, attending the conference or not. There’s also a rumor that Open Source Bridge may be hosting a lunch before the conference (June 17-19) sometime. Any ideas on venue? Drop a comment.

Big thanks to all the hosts who have hosted or plan to host Lunch 2.0. Drop a comment (or tweet @jkuramot) if you want information about hosting one. It’s easy.

Lunch 2.0 at TechShop Portland

Update: TechShop had to change the date. It’s now April 22. Please plan accordingly.

If the lucky 13th episode of the Portland Lunch 2.0 series needed a name, I would call it “Back to the ‘Burbs: Welding for Giggles at TechShop Portland”.

I don’t have to name them, but how else can I inject pizazz into a simple event announcement?

Anyway, we’re heading back to Beaverton for an off-cycle Lunch 2.0 on April 22 March 25 at the recently opened TechShop Portland. There’s no official schedule really, but as you know, we usually do this once a month. After the OTBC Lunch 2.0 in January, Denney Cole, of the TechShop, wanted to get on the calendar as soon as possible to get people excited about the TechShop.

Maybe you remember the excursion he and Wm Leler organized during the OTBC lunch, or maybe you were too busy chatting up new people.

Well, if you missed it, Denney’s opening the doors to show everyone all the cool stuff he has in there.

Sorry, I made an assumption there, i.e. you also think large power tools and welding equipment are cool. I know I do. In fact, the phrase “welding for giggles” came up when I was trying to understand what the TechShop does. Turns out they provide equipment, space and tools that members can use for all kinds of projects, even if you’re just welding pieces of rebar together and giggling to yourself.

That’s what I’d be doing.

Here’s the official about:

TechShop is a membership-based DIY workshop that gives you access to a huge variety of tools and equipment, tons of friendly and easy classes, and a community of amazing people who share your interest in making things.

Oh, and Wm will soon be opening an Open Tech Space there soon, which will be free to anyone. So, if power tools and arc welding don’t do it for you, there will also be geeking out available.

techshop_logo_portland.pngHere are the details:

Hosts: TechShop Portland

Where: 10100 SW Allen Blvd. Beaverton, OR, 97005

When: March 25April 22, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Please RSVP on Upcoming so the hosts can get an idea of how much grub to get. If you’re vegetarian or vegan, drop a comment on the event page for planning, unless you don’t want to eat.

Upcoming Portland Lunch 2.0s

Save these Dates

These haven’t been officially announced yet, but they are happening. Stay tuned for details.

Big thanks to all the hosts who have hosted or plan to host Lunch 2.0. Drop a comment (or tweet @jkuramot) if you want information about hosting one. It’s easy.

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