GE and TechShop Open Public CNC Training Center
September 17, 2013 | 8:57 pm CDT

GE and TechShop Open Public CNC Training CenterCHICAGO  - GE will open a training center here for CNC and other tech production platforms in partnership with TechShop, the operator of a growing national chain of public access workshops.

A fully equipped lab, dubbed "GE Garages" (after the proverbial starting point of numerous entrpreneurial businesses) is described by global industrial giant GE as a "skill-building center that serves as an advanced manufacturing fabrication lab for technologists, entrepreneurs and makers," the latter term favored by next generation woodworking craftsmen, many of them self-taught.

Opening on September 20 in Chicago, the GE Garages space will host 30 days of free, hands-on maker workshops, and conduct training on high-tech prototyping and machining equipment, plus learning opportunities through guest speaker series.

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 TechShop created the fabrication center for GE Garages, in partnership with Skillshare, Quirky, Make and Inventables, which sells solid wood, veneer, and even wood componsite filaments for 3D printers . TechShop has established a niche as an incubator of wood product and other manufacturing start-ups.

The national chain of public-access fabrication shops has 4,000 members that use its design stations, laser cutters, CNC machines and woodworking and other machining systems. In the Chicago GE Garages, weekly hands-on classes will offer participants access to 3D printers, Arduino kits (for creating interactive electronics), CNC mills, a laser cutter, and an injection molder.

GE says its GE Garages aims to spark interest and greater participation in advanced manufacturing through "making." The GE Garages location will also function as the headquarters for Chicago Ideas Week, an annual gathering of global thought leaders and an innovation platform. 

“The next industrial revolution is occurring all around us, driven by innovations in technology and manufacturing," says Linda Boff, Global Brand Marketing and executive director with GE. Boff said the Chicago event, staged during the city's Ideas Week, is "providing a forum for inventors, manufacturers and innovative entrepreneurs to gather and collaborate.” 

GE Garages guest speakers will include:
• Massimo Banzi, co-founder of the Arduino project and an open-source hardware advocate
• Edward Ford, founder of Project ShapeOko
• Zach Kaplan, CEO of Inventables

GE Garages first launched in Austin, TX at SXSW12 South by Southwest conference, then turned to a mobile pop-up model, traveling to Houston and San Francisco during Q2 and then Virginia Tech, Boston, and NYC in the Fall of 2012. In 2013 GE Garages traveled to Washington DC, Cleveland and now Chicago.

Located at 401 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, GE Garages will be open to the public from September 20 through October 20, Tuesdays through Sundays. For a full schedule of workshops, hands-on training and speaker sessions, please visit:

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