I have been a member at TechShop now for about three weeks, and I have really enjoyed it. Some of the classes are about as I described in my prior post, but several have covered things I had little or no recent experience in.
Thus far, I have taken the SBU (Safety and Basic Use) classes for the following equipment/areas
- Metal Shop
- horizontal and vertical bandsaw
- cold cut saw
- grinders and buffers
- Sheet Metal Shop
- 48″ hydraulic shear
- 48″ magnetic finger break
- turret punch
- 50 ton Edwards Ironworker
- punches up to 1.25″ hole in 5/8 steel plate
- shears flat bar and angle
- press break for flat bar
- Jet GH-1440 Lathe with DRO
- Sandblaster & Powder Coat Oven
- Also have spray booth for paint
- TIG Welder
- Lincoln 225 amp AC/DC, with pulse
- MIG Welder
- Lincoln Power Mig 216
- Shopbot CNC Router
- 4′ x 8′ bed
- FlowJet Water Jet cutter
- 6′ x 10′ bed
- Up to 8″ thick material
- Laser Cutter
- 60 watt Universal cutter with 36″ x 24″ bed
Many of these are things I had little or no experience with. The instructors were all very good at not only teaching the basics, but answering questions about what directions to go for further work and what some not necessarily obvious pitfalls might be.
The other members I have spoken with are typically very friendly and helpful. The first day I went in to practice TIG welding, I was having problems and the guy working in the next booth came over and showed me what I was doing wrong and how to fix it. A few people seem to be, shall we say, less than happy with life, but they are in the minority. Overall it is a very positive environment.
Many people are, like me, just doing hobby stuff. Some are running part time, or even full time business from there. A few started as hobbyists and found a demand for their work and have started selling what they make. The most ambitious project I have seen is a fully working, scale size steam locomotive, all made by hand.
I have just a couple more classes and I will have access to all of the equipment that is necessary for the projects I have in mind to work on, and it will be time to get to work. I am looking forward to it.