Arizona Technology and Innovation: TechShop Chandler

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We look at an organization that provides the tools needed to make an idea spring into life. TechShop Chandler has laser cutters, 3d-printers, a wood shop, software and much more needed to take an idea from a person’s imagination and bring it into the real world. Jason Black, a senior account manager for TechShop Chandler, will tell us more.

TED SIMONS: Tonight's edition of Arizona Technology And Innovation looks at Techshop Chandler, an organization that provides tools and machinery to help make ideas spring to life. Here to tell us more is Jason Black, senior account manager for Techshop Chandler. Good to have you here, welcome to "Arizona Horizon."

JASON BLACK: Thank you for having me.

TED SIMONS: Give me a better definition of Techshop Chandler.

JASON BLACK: Techshop Chandler is an amazing workspace, maker space where we have 17,000 square feet of machinery and the ability to teach you how to use the machinery and for prototyping, for hobbyists to build the things you want to build.

TED SIMONS: It sounds like a do-it-yourself kind of facility.

JASON BLACK: It is very much a do-it-yourself. We have engineers from Intel, we have Honeywell, we have artists from ASU, we have all this collection, we have about 900 members that are there to build their dreams. We always say how often do you know someone who has the next best invention bit they don't have the tools to make what they want and we provide that space for them

TED SIMONS: Let's say I do have a better mousetrap and I want to get this thing built, but I can't do it in the garage and I really need some help as well as more information, more training, I go to Techshop Chandler, what happens?

JASON BLACK: You come in, you're going to be greeted by one of our inceptionists who sets you up with a tour, we're going to talk to you about the project that you want, a membership, it's open to anyone. We put you through a couple of basic classes and you're off and running.

TED SIMONS: A membership is required?

JASON BLACK: It is membership based because we have a full trained staff to maintain, to help you through your project -- we're open hours, seven days a week and we're fully Stanford the entire time.

TED SIMONS: And the membership fees?

JASON BLACK: About $150 a month for access to the shop. Annual runs about $1669 a person.

TED SIMONS: And that's unlimited access.

JASON BLACK: That's unlimited access.

TED SIMONS: Is the fee waived for ASU students?

JASON BLACK: ASU pays for every student to have a membership at Techshop Chandler. It's a really unique partnership.

TED SIMONS: You have 2D and 3D design software.

JASON BLACK: We do. We have a partnership with auto desk inventor, as a member, you get a disk to take home and upload that program onto your computer and as long as you maintain your membership with Techshop, you get to use that 3D and 2D cad software.

TED SIMONS: We're talking software. Just the software on the screen or is it one of the things where they spit out something?

JASON BLACK: What you do is once you design it, we have several what's called cad -- on the programs we have bear with me... We have machines that --

TED SIMONS: That basically spit them out, in other words.

JASON BLACK: Yeah, exactly, I'm losing the term on what I want to use here but we have a cnc is what I'm trying to spit out but we have cnc shop bots, a water jet machine, which is a $300,000 machine that will cut through six inches of solid steel.

TED SIMONS: That sounds like something you need to be trained on. You can't just go waltzing in there and using that.

JASON BLACK: That's why we have safety and basic uses classes for you to take. We get you trained on how to use everything correctly, and then we also have the staff members there to take you through, if you're unsure, anything like that, we have people there 24 hours there to help you along.

TED SIMONS: It sounds as though there's a community aspect here as well, where if I'm in there working on my better mousetrap and ideas start sprouting up all over the place.

JASON BLACK: It is really neat. What's excellent, having 900 members and having from engineers to artists to machinists, to metal fabricators, we have that collaboration. And everyone's willing to help out. It's amazing what happens there.

TED SIMONS: What about intellectual property concerns?

JASON BLACK: That is not a problem. We do not -- if you invent it, you create it there, it is your property. One of the nicest things, if you know square reader, the credit card reading apparatus that goes on your cell phone, that was actually prototyped at Techshop in San Francisco. And they came in, they were looking for funding, they didn't have a prototype, they came and prototyped it in San Francisco, and boom they were off and running.

TED SIMONS: Does Techshop Chandler get some sort of you know, a little thank you money?

JASON BLACK: Nope.

TED SIMONS: They want to tip you they can but that's the way it goes.

JASON BLACK: Nope, it's the way it goes. We're there -- our founders like to say democratizing tools, giving you the tools to build and create what you want.

TED SIMONS: How long has this been around?

JASON BLACK: It's been around since 2006 in the bay area. And we've been in Chandler since November of 2014.

TED SIMONS: As far as membership, is it growing? I mean, it's one thing to have an idea but you've got to put your mind to it to go this far.

JASON BLACK: Oh, you know, it is growing. Especially with the ASU students. A lot of ASU students are theoretical, and then they get to come to tech shop and put their skills to use so it's really neat and it can be anywhere from the design school to the engineering school, even to the business school. People have these ideas. It becomes that one stop shop for everybody.

TED SIMONS: And where is it located?

JASON BLACK: It's located in downtown Chandler, east Chicago street. It's right across from the police station down in downtown Chandler.

TED SIMONS: All right, and open 27/7, my goodness.

JASON BLACK: We are open 24/7.

TED SIMONS: Well, congratulations, good luck in the future, thank you so much for joining us.

JASON BLACK: We hope you come down and see us.

TED SIMONS: I've got some ideas for you.

JASON BLACK: Absolutely.

TED SIMONS: All right. Friday on "Arizona Horizon" it's the Journalists' Roundtable, more on the efforts to reverse Medicaid expansion in Arizona and another democrat decides to run for Martha McSally's seat. That's at 5:30 and 10:00 on the Journalists' Roundtable. That is it for now, I'm Ted Simons, thank you so much for joining us, you have a great evening.

VIDEO: "Arizona Horizon" is made possible by contributions from the Friends of Eight, members of your Arizona PBS station. Thank you.

VIDEO: ASU's Ira A. Fulton schools of engineering strive to advance research, education, and industry to transform our economy. Ideas, talent and technology for Arizona. You can learn more at engineering.ASU.edu/TV.

Jason Black : A Senior Account Manager for TechShop Chandler

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