techshop: A great idea

Mike O'Dell mo at
Sat Sep 15 09:30:40 CDT 2007

i filled out the info request form asking for information
about doing one in the NoVA area.  i'm particularly
interested in their business model to see how it's self-sustaining.

access to Real Machine Tools would very, very cool indeed.
some people have some, but a serious CNC lathe and a serious
CNC vertical mill are both serious money and space. and you
need all the ancillary stuff. and their 3D rapid prototyping
machine is to die for. 

as for electronics, it's not that hard to need a 1GHz multi-channel
scope these days, and they are not inexpensive, nor is a a spectrum
analyzer that goes out to cover the 5GHz wifi band. 
certainly those things could be shared. and there is the matter
of space. having space for radios is tricky enough for many people.
having a place to build something that takes days is much harder.

one big advantage they have in Silly Valley is the number of places
which can turn double-sided plated-through boards overnight,
some can even do 4-layer overnight.  several places i visit
in the valley that do RF work are quite fond of the small
"router"-style board makers. it removes metal from copper-clad
to create the signal paths. the upside is that it leaves much
of the copper in place so it tends to have large ground-plane
areas. (yes, not always a feature, but for RF, often so)


"Silicon Valley - a great place to visit
but I can't imagine living there."

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