Innovation space will allow inventors to learn valuable skills, access high tech machinery for only $99/month

Ford Motor Comp. (F) today celebrated the official grand opening [press release] of "TechShop", an innovation space in Wayne County, Michigan which the automaker is sponsoring.  TechShops are a hot trend, popping up in high-tech hot-beds like San Francisco and San Jose, California. 

Now Detroit gets access to the workspaces, which were dreamed up in the spirit of the Maker Faire national series of do-it-yourself (DIY) inventor events.

Ford is giving its employees free access to the TechShop if they submit inventions (patents).  However, members of the public are also welcome and encouraged to join, with a bargain-bin $99 USD monthly fee.

TechShop Detroit
TechShop Detroit's grand opening kicked off today. [Image Source: Ford]

Participants gain access to high-tech tools like CNC mills and laser etching products.  They also are surrounded by machine tools experts and can participate in numerous training courses to learn the machine/craft skills necessary to bring their ideas to life.

The TechShop intiative has not been without its setbacks.  A space in Portland flounder financially and was eventually abandoned.  But Ford is optimistic about the Detroit-area space, saying that it's already seen a pickup in inventions of 30 percent since the space informally opened its doors to Ford employees earlier this year.

The latest TechShop, located in Allen Park, Michigan will give hopeful inventors access to unparalleled resources (right to left -- Ford's Christopher Danowski, TechShop's Jim Newton and AutoHarvest's Jayson Pankin).  (Source: Ward's Auto)

Ford views the space as a tribute to its founder, the late great American entrepeneur Henry Ford.  Venkatesh Prasad, senior technical leader, Ford Research and Innovation, comments, "By collaborating with TechShop Inc. to bring this new facility to southeast Michigan, we hope both to inspire and enable some of the great minds that live in this region to create, experiment and invent... If Henry Ford were starting today, he would almost certainly be a member of TechShop Detroit."

Ford TechShop
A machine at work at TechShop Detroit [Image Source: Ford]

James Marleau, a door closure systems engineer at Ford, is already loving TechShop.  He won his membership by designing and patenting a special one-way valve that releases car interior moisture, cutting down on fogging, while not letting in outside air, an approach that reduces noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).

Mr. Marleau cheers, "[TechShop is] a geek’s workshop – a great place for engineers to hang out, have fun and play with toys we can’t afford on our own."

Source: Ford

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