Need Help with 3D Printing? Get it at TechShop!

Here at it is our aim to help you get started in 3D printing. We are always interested in showing you ways to dip your toes in 3D printing waters without having to take the full plunge from day one. A great place that allows you to do just that is TechShop.

What is TechShop?

TechShop is a membership-based, open access Do It Yourself (DIY) workshop and prototyping studio for people who are passionate about making things with their own hands. TechShop members have access to a world-class workshop, machines, tools, training, inspiration and support they need to build their dreams.

For a monthly or annual fee, members can reserve and use TechShop’s tools upon successful completion of equipment-specific Safety and Basic Use classes. Talented staff members are always on-site to help you develop ideas and improve technical skills.

TechShop Facts

  • Founded: October, 2006
  • Corporate HQ: Menlo Park, CA
  • Employees: about 100 US-wide
  • Members: Over 4100 US-wide

Additional TechShop Locations

  • Raleigh-Durham, NC
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Detroit, MI
  • Austin, TX
  • Pittsburgh, PA

Each TechShop location is equipped with laser cutters, plastics and electronics labs, a machine shop, a wood shop, a metal working shop, a textiles department, welding stations and a waterjet cutter.

Of particular interest to the readers of this blog is the partnership between TechShop (space/tools) and Autodesk (design/digital imaging software) which has the objective to push the boundaries of personal manufacturing by allowing anyone to make things and share them with others for fun, learning or profit. TechShop members have open access to design software, including the entire Autodesk Design Suite and of course 3D printers!


Jesse Harrington Au – Enabling Makers, Tinkerers and Hobbyist to Discover Computer Aided Design

To learn more about how 3D printing newbies can get started at TechShop we spoke to Jesse Harrington Au. Jesse is Maker Advocate at Autodesk, and has in the past been responsible for designing and implementing the Autodesk – TechShop relationship.

Jesse is a fourteen-year veteran of using CAD for engineering, character development and animation. He speaks, blogs, writes curriculum, gives workshops and makes creations of all kinds through his work with Autodesk. Jesse is the author an upcoming book on introducing CAD to makers, tinkerers and hobbyist.

He has created amazing interactive designs for clients of all sizes including the Exploratorium, Resident Evil Studios, Mathalete and Catapult design. Jesse has also given groundbreaking workshops such as en-light-enment, which focused on introducing the idea of pedal power technology as a teaching platform at the Future of Energy Leadership Conference in Pristina Kosovo.


Interview with Maker Advocate, Jesse Harrington Au

Q: Can you describe the current state/importance of 3D printing at TechShop? A recent InformationWeek article seems to indicate that 3D printing has become really popular among TechShop customers. Is this true across all your locations?

A: 3D Printing seems to be taking TechShop by storm of late. I think it is the perfect match for our members that need quick parts and rapid iteration of their designs. It is also a great way for new members that might not know as much about the shop tools to get involved a fairly entry level. This does seem to ring true over all locations.


Q: A lot of our readers are total beginners; is TechShop a good place for them to start learning about 3D printing? How can TechShop help them to get started in the exciting world of additive manufacturing?

A: TechShop is the best place for new people to learn about 3D printing. Our classes are offered multiple times a week and with 20k worth of amazing design software from Autodesk it seems like an easy decision. We also try very hard to keep our classes focused for people who maybe not as familiar with 3D design.


Q: Can you describe the typical TechShop customer who is interested in rapid prototyping? Is there even a typical customer or do you see a real broad spectrum of people getting into 3D printing?

A: I think the typical 3D printing customer is the person that knows what they want to create and knows that it will be a handheld size device. They also know that they will have to go through multiple iterations of the project before it’s finished.


Q: What type of 3D printing projects do TechShop members typically do? Can you give us some examples?

A: Typical projects are objects that are used to combine other objects. Such as a camera mount for a skateboard or an iAnything to any other device. Others include a series of inventions that have a very wide range, basically any prototype of plastic objects are created to save time in the injection molding process later.


Q: There is no 3D printing output without creating some inputs first. In how far does TechShop get involved in teaching beginners about the input processes such as CAD or 3D scanning?

A: Autodesk has been a very strong partner with us, one great thing they do is assist to provide curriculum for Professional engineering products like Autodesk Inventor that is easily learned in 3 hours by most of our members. They have also provided a course on Photo Scanning using 123D Catch to assist members with creating things based off objects that already exist. In addition to that we offer a laser Scanning class.


Q: Can you describe the standard rapid manufacturing equipment in your workshops? Are all TechShop workshops equally equipped in terms of 3D printing and scanning equipment?

A: For 3D printing all shops are outfitted with MakerBot Replicator 2’s, Some of our shops also carry Type A Machines Series 1 printers as well. We happily use Next Engine Scanners for 3D Scanning when we are not using our iPhones and Camera’s with 123D Catch.


Q: How does TechShop see the future of 3D printing? Do you believe that it will play an evermore important role in your business? Will you be investing further into 3D printing equipment and training?

A: 3D printing is a new and exciting tool for rapid prototyping and small scale manufacturing as we see the market growing we will grow with it and increase the 3D printing presence in the shops. It is always difficult to guess what the future holds but it certainly seems like 3D printing is here to stay.


Q: Last but not least, our European readers are also certainly keen to know whether you will be opening a TechShop in Europe anytime soon?

A: TechShop is the number one place for Makers, Artist, Designers and Engineers to play, these passionate creators do not have boarders. Our vision is to have a TechShop in every major city around the world.


Jesse, thanks a lot for this interview! We will certainly be keeping tabs on the TechShop – Autodesk partnership and report any news here on our blog.

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