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DIY garage co-ops

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DIY garage co-ops

PostMon Aug 05, 2013 8:02 am

Does anybody know of any DIY garage/workshop cooperatives or clubs near them (or in any other city for that matter)?

I'm curious about how they are organized, what sort of services they offer, what the costs are. It's an interesting concept, and I know they've sprung up there and there around the country, but I don't personally know of any that are currently viable.
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Re: DIY garage co-ops

PostMon Aug 05, 2013 8:39 am

I've got a 'hacker-space' by me, that I've made use of, you might try doing a search for one of those if you aren't able to find a automotive specific DIY shop.

They're a bit more artsy oriented, but will tend to have jacks and stands. Most important for me was the space in which to work since I'm currently in an apartment. Here's a list of the tools available at Techshop:

The pneumatics (along with lack of noise complaints) being particularly useful, if cheaper in quality (harbor freight, presumably replaced as they wear out)
Being in a more automotive oriented area, mine does also have a 4 post car lift and gantry hoist that was useful for my MR2's engine removal.

If you're looking for help and advice, be sure to ask about their expertise or what other people are working on before signing up. Mine was ok... since the staff is more of the art/maker crowd (never did get why there seems to be so little crossover into automotive from most of them...), and I was mostly winging it for my work, but I did come across a couple people who were also gearheads.

That said, great group of people and maybe worth looking into.

To answer your questions:
cost is ~$100/mo if you're paying retail, but sales do seem to pop up with some regularity to drop that significantly. offering to teach a class or whatnot is a good way to barter your time. I might be compelled to pile up projects and pick up another month at some point. It does seem like less of a wallop to the wallet once you're actually there.

Any tool you can hold is free game as a "hand tool", (so, you can use the pnumatics, jacks, etc, but the 4 post, I had to have a staff raise and lower for legal requirements or whatnot.)
If you need machining work, you need to take a class each for the mill, lathe, tig, mig, waterjet, etc. Useful as a refresher, but sometimes aggravating for the cost if you're already familiar with it. I ended up taking some of the classes, but for actual auto work, the monthly fee covered enough and the tools didn't need sign off (pneumatics hammers, wrenches, jacks, stands, grinders, sawzall, etc. ). Consumables are your own responsibility though (special grinding discs, lubes, etc). Storage of a car in process is ~$50/mo at my location but wasn't an issue for my MR2 to be sitting outside for the week I was going through it. YMMV

tl;dr: go check them out and see what they have to offer and if you like it.
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Re: DIY garage co-ops

PostTue Aug 06, 2013 12:20 pm

I'm also interested in this idea--particularly if there are any in Houston, where I'm moving next year.

I've heard of people doing "private co-ops," where a group of friends pitches in to rent/buy space and do this. Has anyone here ever done this?


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Re: DIY garage co-ops

PostWed Aug 07, 2013 4:32 pm

My local 'hackerspace' has a two door garage with one 2-post lift and basic automotive tools (no pneumatics yet; haven't raised the money) attached to the building they rent. Came in handy when I had to replace some of the exhaust on my van recently. I just pay $25 a month for access, along with a couple hundred other people. Ours is setup with a 'board of directors,' which are mostly the people who founded the space, who set the rules and regulations. We have monthly meetings about projects and problems needing to be solved (like the goddamn air conditioners needing to be fixed.)

Ask around with local geeks/motorheads; I ran across my hackerspace through on of my sister's friends who helped set the place up. Chances are there's a similar resource within an hour drive of you.
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Re: DIY garage co-ops

PostMon Aug 19, 2013 7:08 pm

I wanted to start one in/around Boston, MA.


No bites. Maybe now? I asked around to a lot of people I knew, but no one was actually interested when it came down to it. I visited a local car club to see if it I would fit in there, but I did not like the vibe. Roberts rules of order and all that. Well established and old car club though. Everyone was friendly. Just not my bag.

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