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Making whatever you want at TechShop

What better way to spend a Saturday evening than playing with a plasma cutter?

At TechShop, in Menlo Park, Calif., members can come in any day of the week to learn about using fabrication tools like plasma cutters, laser etchers, 3D printers, computerized sewing machines, and more.
Daniel Terdiman/CNET

After covering three Maker Faires over the last year and a half, one thing has become clear: there are one heck of a lot of people out there who like to make things.

For many people, this means toiling away in a garage, or a small workroom, using whatever tools they have handy. But there are limitations on what most people can make simply because they don't have that many tools and certainly don't have easy access to industrial fabrication tools.

Well, if you're in or near Silicon Valley, you may not know that you already have access to a place that will welcome you with open arms into its bosom of fabrication machinery heaven: TechShop.

My story about TechShop is up on CNET this morning. It looks at what this great place is, and talks about the expansion that will bring TechShop franchises to eight new cities around the country by next July 4, and to two more Bay Area cities sometime after that.

TechShop, the brainchild of inventor and entrepreneur Jim Newton, is not for everyone. It charges $100 a month for all-you-can-eat access to its nearly endless supply of plasma cutters, laser etchers, 3D printers, milling machines, welding equipment, and more. But for those who can swing the monthly Benjamin, it's a place where a maker community has blossomed since it opened its doors last October, and where some pretty cool stuff is being made every day.

If you go, tell the telepresence robot that's walking around that Daniel says hi.