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Ford to Open Workshop for Auto and Inventor Do-it-Yourselfers

August 1st, 2011

You know how sometimes your garage or backyard can be void of inspiration when it comes to tinkering or inventing? In fact, you may not even have the tools to get the job done. Or maybe you prefer the collaborative process and have some pretty cool ideas you’d like to bring to fruition.

Then check this out: TechShop Detroit, a joint project between Ford and TechShop, is a communal fabrication studio where everyday inventors – think backyard wrenchers to tech-savvy engineers – can come and create their very own homegrown innovations.

With more than $1 million invested in high-tech equipment alone, TechShop Detroit will feature everything from top-quality prototyping tools and industrial-grade sewing and textile equipment to laser cutting, welding and machine shop-type gear.

TechShop is the world’s first and largest membership-based do-it-yourself workshop enterprise, and is scheduled to open in November 2011 in Allen Park, Michigan. There are already locations in California and North Carolina. Ford and TechShop will preview the facility this week during Maker Faire Detroit, held July 30-31, 2011 at The Henry Ford in Dearborn.

And Ford will incorporate a first-of-its-kind Innovation Exchange with non-profit AutoHarvest, giving everyday inventors, industry insiders, universities and research labs a secure place to display and even license their automotive innovations and other ideas. What’s unique about the AutoHarvest connection is that it gives the technology exchange showroom concept and those that use it an established collaborative and secure online platform where intellectual property is shared but also properly protected.

“It will be an open meeting place that will enable inventors to showcase what they create in TechShop and then negotiate, network and even sell their idea to players in the automotive industry, from manufacturers and suppliers to research institutions and startups,” explained Bill Coughlin, President and CEO of Ford Global Technologies. “Selling your technology can be difficult and daunting. The Innovation Exchange is all about helping spread the word about the innovation occurring inside Tech Shop, giving the creator the foundational resources they need to understand how to sell and commercialize their idea and connect with the right players while protecting their intellectual property.”

Ford is the first automaker to work with TechShop to open one of its centers, offering creative minds of all kinds affordable access to tools, machinery and even “dream coaches” so they can design and develop prototypes of their latest inventions, both automotive and otherwise.

“Detroit is a market area full of talented communities of makers, hobbyists, backyard mechanics and general tinkerers that continues to grow,” said TechShop CEO Mark Hatch, who already has more than 1,500 TechShop members registered at his California and North Carolina workshops. “We are excited to open TechShop Detroit and continue our collaboration with Ford to offer an affordable place to go that has the necessary equipment and resources to make inventive ideas a reality.”


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