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For A Monthly Fee, You Too Can Operate A Laser Cutter

TechShop, which bills itself as "America's 1st Nationwide Open-Access Public Workshop," gives the average person access to 2D and 3D building tools that are normally reserved for well-trained professionals.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

TechShop, which currently has operations in six cities nationwide, takes the concept of DIY to a whole new level. For a monthly fee, members have access to cutting, shaping, and joining tools that are normally only found on industrial sites under controlled conditions. They can also use slightly less dangerous devices, such as 3D printers and laser cutters. The laser cutters in particular are considered the “gateway drug of TechShop…[because they allow] carving and whittling cardboard, wood, glass and other material with astonishing delicacy.”

What’s the Big Idea?

Needless to say, anyone interested in getting their hands on these tools must sign a waiver before they can even step on the floor. An executive says the shop hasn’t had any “super serious accidents ever… no missing limbs or eyes or anything like that.” According to its site, the downtown San Francisco location is open 7 days a week from 9 to midnight, which should take care of any serious builder’s craving. In one case, a member created his own 3D printer, and then went on to start a 3D printer manufacturing business.

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