Sparks flew at the grand opening of TechShop in downtown San Jose.

More than 500 people gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening of TechShop in downtown San Jose.

Carl bass, CEO of Autodesk, used a hot torch to cut the steel plate ribbon at the Saturday debut of TechShop in San Jose. Councilmember’s Sam Liccardo and Pieroluggi Oliverio as well as Tech Shop general manager Mike Catterlin joined Bass for the ceremony.

“San Jose is the geekiest city in the United States, we need to embrace that geekiness,” said Liccardo. “TechShop is a way that all of us are going to be able to get in here and create and build, and certainly celebrate what is so unique here about Silicon Valley.”

Once inside, visitors got tours of the 17,000-square-foot workshop, which houses a machine shop, metal shop, computer lab, and a high-powered water jet. Those who sign up for a membership to TechShop get access to all the shop’s equipment, as well as staff guidance and available lessons.

“Anyone that is a creative individual, anyone that is into building or making, this is the place to be,” said Mick Catterlin, manager of TechShop San Jose.

Steve Bennett of San Jose had been a member for two years at the Menlo Park TechShop prior to the grand opening in San Jose. The company also has locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, New York, Detroit and Raleigh, N.C.

“You get to learn and work on tools and equipment you may not have known before or could even afford,” Bennett said.

The TechShop has options for every creative mind, whether it’s a machinist using their high-tech equipment or an artist with a knack for multiple hobbies, such as member Darius B’alexander.

“I love TechShop,” said B’alexander, “I am mainly an artist; I can do everything here and I particularly enjoy the abundance of equipment and skills you can gain.”

B’alexander also mentioned he is anxious to play with the water jet machine, yet isn’t entirely sure what he would use it for.

Robert Thomas, who described himself as one of TechShop’s longest running employees, said he grew up in a garage environment being creative and tinkering; having a TechShop, he said, is the ultimate garage.

In addition to the TechShop, visitors to the opening event were treated to 30-foot fountains of soda from the crew at EepyBird. Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, stars of the Youtube sensation of Coke and Mentos fountains, recreated their spectacle with a 108 diet Coke bottle fountain in front of the TechShop on South Second Street.

“You guys are so lucky,” said Voltz to the audience outside TechShop, “We are so jealous you guys get a TechShop, while we get soaked in Diet Coke.”

Food carts from movable fest as well as vendors from Makers Faire were also present for the grand opening, fitting to the DIY theme of the day.