Community Shop for the Machining Enthusiast (CSME)

Hello all, I am working on a business plan for a Community Shop for the Machining Enthusiast (CSME). This machine shop would be open to the community and anyone would be able to work on the machines simply by taking a safety course and getting checked out on the machines. It would be open to ALL FIRST robotics teams during the build season to come and work. Please take the flowing survey to help us in the creation of our business plan.

I am focusing on the San Fransisco Area, so I would like to ask out of state teams to refrain from taking the survey so we can get an accurate measurement.


Thank you!

Ryan Epperson
Patrick Kyu
Khoi Nguyen

I’d be interested in hearing about how this goes. At first glance I don’t see enough money in it, but that’s most likely due to (my) ignorance.

This already exists in the Bay Area. Techshop

That is an awesome idea!

We are looking at being more focused than the tech shop. It is a more broad focused shop. We are looking at being a community Machine Shop that would have only machining equipment and welding equipment. The tech shop only allows students 18 and up to work and we would like to see 15-16 and up being able to work on the machines.

We are looking at the possibility of being a Not-for-profit, which would mean that we could get sponsorships, donations and more, helping us break even sooner, and make enough profit to keep the lights on. This is by no means a get rich scheme, it’s a community builder.

Being a 501c3 would definitely be the way to go. Its the best way to get donations from local places like Lions/Rotary clubs. Sounds like a fun and worthwhile venture. :slight_smile: Best of luck.

Do you have a business plan in place? This sounds like an extremely costly venture, in terms of insurance, building space, machinery, tooling, maintenance, etc. I’d suggest consulting with someone with experience in these sorts of things to see if your plan is even feasible.

I love the idea as well, but agree with Cory in wondering if it could fly financially. But hey, that’s what doing a business plan is all about! :slight_smile: I would be very interested in future posts on your progress and if there would be any East Coast equivalent. (I like calling North Carolina -RTP- home.)

The better the business plan, the more likely the venture will succeed. This is because ventures destined to fail will become obvious from the plan.

Insurance for people under 18 is difficult & expensive at best. Don’t skimp on liability insurance, no matter what your terms of organization are they can and will come after your assets, and injuries generate multimillion dollar verdicts. You do not want to be paying that off for the rest of your life.

One possibility is to become allied with a school.

As part of my Strategic Management course in school we had to put together a Business plan, and this is what I i did the business plan on. So i have numbers for everything, including a space chosen and insurance taken care of. Insurance was a bit difficult, but I’m being put in touch with some parents of FRC/FTC/FLL students who so liability insurance, and some who are lawyers so we could look at putting documents together for students to use the machinery.

I have looked at second hand equipment and it’s not that bad, the biggest cost is energy and getting sponsors/membership to stay alive. My professors like the idea and are working with me to see what we can do.

It’s a courageous idea, and may never see action, but it’s fun, none-the-less.

We are looking at setting a partnership with the Tech shop or possibly another Machine shop to help with supply of tooling and such

One thing is to price things out and see how much it cost, it’s an entire other thing to be able to generate the revenue required to keep a business going.


That’s in the business plan, and it’ a big number. With the plan that my group came up with we are able to break even in 18 months. It’s hard to imagine, but buying machines used saves a LOT of money