Jeff White

Arizona State University has entered into an agreement that will bring TechShop, a do-it-yourself workshop and fabrication studio, to downtown Chandler.

“It’s a natural fit with ASU and with what we’re doing with them and other industries downtown,” said Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny.

The TechShop workshop at the Chandler Innovation Center will bring more than $1 million worth of equipment to the downtown area, furthering the entrepreneurial and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) projects in the area, including Gangplank.

“The hope is that it will spawn new innovation,” said Mitzi Montoya, vice provost and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation.

From industrial sewing and quilting machines to 3-D printing to welding equipment, members should be able to make prototypes of nearly anything they hope to build, she said.

TechShop, which offers month-to-month and annual memberships, will be open to all members of the public in addition to the students at the Chandler center, Montoya said.

Students at the center will receive a free membership, while other ASU students and faculty will be able to procure a membership at a reduced price.

“Many university students have had access to many of these machines. What’s different is that this is open to the public,” Montoya said. “Normally labs like this aren’t open to the public. I expect the crossover effect will be tremendous.”

The workshop will allow students, faculty, entrepreneurs and inventors to work side-by-side in an innovative environment, Montoya said. In addition, the workshop could bring large numbers of people to the downtown area, Tibshraeny said.

“It’s a unique opportunity to bring people from all over the Valley,” he said. “It could bring as many as 1,000 new people to downtown Chandler.”

That number is in addition to the estimated 1,000 people the ASU center will also bring, he said. Plans for the partnership began when Montoya took part in a discussion panel about the DIY and maker movement, she said.

“Higher education should engage more in this movement,” Montoya said.

The maker movement has been a central part of the ASU Polytechnic campus as students are encouraged to build and tinker as part of their coursework.

Land-grant universities were all about creating access to technology, particularly agricultural technology, Montoya said.

“They gave access to tools to create, make and build,” she said. The partnership with TechShop furthers that type of openness and inclusiveness. “Integrating TechShop into the ASU Chandler Innovation Center democratizes access to tools for innovation and opens up tremendous new opportunities for our students to learn and create,” ASU President Michael Crow said in a news release. “Our partnership with TechShop and the city of Chandler enables us to offer our students and the community more access to state-of-the-art technology and resources than any other educational setting nationwide.”

The Chandler Innovation Center, at 249 E. Chicago St., is in what used to be the city’s public works building. The center is an extension of ASU’s College of Technology and Innovation at the Polytechnic campus.

TechShop Chandler will offer charter memberships beginning later this year. Interested parties can email to receive email alerts regarding becoming a member.

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