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Technical/Model Shop Tours

We're pleased to bring you a variety of tours to model shops of distinction, innovation centers and beneficial local attractions.

Friday, March 7, 2014 - Tour A
Easton Bell Sports and Tesla Motors Factory

Our first stop is Easton-Bell Sports - a leading designer, developer and marketer of sports equipment and accessories that enhance athletic performance and protection. For more than 80 years, sports enthusiasts at all levels have selected Easton-Bell products for their innovative designs and advanced materials. With a brand portfolio that includes such great names as Easton, Bell, Riddell, Giro and Blackburn, the company boasts a number of "firsts" including the first football helmet to achieve a 5-STAR rating by Virginia Tech University.

>>Take a lunch break at the Sonoma Chicken Coop Restaurant and Brewery, known for their fresh-made, from-scratch specialties. You’ll dine on mixed green salad, hearty lime-grilled chicken, herbed rice and yummy seasoned sautéed vegetables along with their signature focaccia bread and a soft drink. Grab a roost at this Chicken Coop and tuck in to gain strength for the rest of the tour ahead! (Please contact if you have any special dietary requests.)<<

Then we’ll head over to Tesla Motors' factory in Fremont where their gorgeous cars are assembled. Founded just over ten years ago, by a group of intrepid Silicon Valley engineers, Tesla Motors set out to prove that electric vehicles could be awesome. And indeed they are. Now with four variants of the sexy Model S in production, excellent safety ratings, and thumbing their noses at the gas pumps, Tesla is truly an innovator. 

We’ll have a guided tour with Tom Jensen, from Tesla’s management team (or a member of his group), of the Fremont facility where powertrain components are built, the stamping mill for their stunning body panels, and the final assembly plant. Competitor restrictions will apply. 

This full day tour departs the San Jose Hyatt Downtown Hotel at 8:30 am on Friday and returns to the hotel around 5 pm. $60.

Friday, March 7, 2014 - Tour B
California College of the Arts, AutoDesk and Lime Lab PCH

We'll start out our Bay Area excursion with a tour of the California College of the Arts' San Francisco campus, located in what is known as the "Innovation Corridor". Offering 21 undergraduate and 12 graduate degrees in the fields of fine arts, architecture, design and writing, the college prepares students for lifelong creative work. Our tour will include the shop spaces where model making and furniture design courses are taught. 

The Model Making studio includes the usual suspects: saws, drills, mills, sanders and routers, while the Rapid Prototyping studio has 3D printing, laser cutting, CNC routing and flat cutting equipment. Several studio managers will be on hand to guide the tour and field questions. 

>>Being in college for the morning should cause you to work up a significant appetite, so we've asked the renown San Francisco Soup Company to deliver some of their yummiest selections of hot soups and cool sandwiches. SF Soup Co believes in using local producers for their organic and sustainably-sourced food; you'll be leaving with a full belly! (Please contact if you have any special dietary requests.)<<

Then, on to AutoDesk, where their state-of-the-art facility exists to serve three main goals: 1) to create a place to demonstrate and showcase the things we make; 2) to foster a deep understanding of the interface between software and hardware and how the hands-on experience influences how things are made; and 3) to push boundaries between these software and hardware tools to create an environment where people test what is currently thought to be impossible. This is the environment that fosters innovation. 

This tour will take you on a journey to the AutoDesk workshop, open to employees and artists-in-residence, where their creations amaze and surprise and inspire the tools AutoDesk builds, their customers and themselves. The facilities include a cutting edge digital fabrication lab, a woodworking shop, a metalworking shop, a 3D printing lab, laser cutting and printing capabilities, an electronics workshop, a commercial test kitchen and an industrial sewing center as well as smaller specialty project areas. Photography is not permitted in the office space but will be permitted while in the workshop.

Last stop of the day: Lime Lab is a San Francisco-based product development consultancy founded in 2009 to "make things."  Lime Lab's focus on bringing world-class designs to market leverages the company's passion for making and its expertise in engineering. As part of the PCH International Group, they work with the world's best brands to guide hardware programs through all phases - from idea, to development, to manufacturing, and finally to market. Our tour will take you to the PCH facility located in the Potrero Hill District, where you can enjoy a transparent glimpse into the complex world of hardware development - a skillfully managed process that begins with an idea and ends with a beautiful new hardware product in a customer's hand.

 This full day tour departs the San Jose Hyatt Downtown Hotel at 8:30 am on Friday and returns to the hotel around 5 pm. $60.

Monday, March 10, 2014 - Tour C
Studio RED and Specialized Bicycle Components 

Studio RED is an award winning 30-year-old product development consultancy providing Design Research, Ergonomics, GUI and Industrial Design, Mechanical, Optical and Structural Engineering and Prototyping and low quantity Production. 

At Studio RED, we will see how their design development programs incorporate model building and prototyping early in the process, and how these early ergonomic mock-up studies are used to test and optimize things like hand-held products or desktop or cart-based human interactions and later early proof of function engineering prototypes to reduce later stage risks. We'll see examples of how the roles model builders play, along with straight product models or prototyping, are significant disciplines in the product development process.

>>Imagine yourself on the beach (but you’re not actually on the beach) at Rosy’s at the Beach, enjoying scrumptious salmon and chicken tacos with beans, rice and salad and all the chips & salsa you can eat. Now imagine yourself going on this awesome tour! Done!  (Please contact if you have any special dietary requests.)<<

Then, on to Specialized Bicycle Components - the most award winning bicycle company in the world and a “very fun and creative space”. This tour will begin with a visit to the Specialized Museum, and a rare view of the company’s concept bikes. You’ll see their model making facility, see demos, videos and take a tour of the wind tunnel.

Once the tour itself is completed, more fun will ensue as you “design your own perfect bike” with prizes for the best designs. And if the excitement thus far isn’t enough for you, the group will break into teams and have a relay bike race, complete with refreshments!

This full day tour departs the San Jose Hyatt Downtown Hotel at 8:30 am on Friday and returns to the hotel around 5 pm. $60.

Monday, March 10, 2014 - Tour D
IDEO, Stanford and Stanford University's Product Realization Lab 

There is no better way to start an exploration of Palo Alto than to visit IDEO (pronounced  eye-dee-oh) – an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations in the public and private sectors innovate and grow. The APMM’s own Nacho Mendez will lead a tour through the inner sanctum (AKA model shop) of a true design powerhouse.

>>We'll break for lunch at the Gordon Biersch Brewpub/Restaurant, now a chain of restaurants that was founded right here in Palo Alto. Their Marzen lunch, which includes a choice of three hearty meals (BBQ pork, cheeseburger or cashew chicken salad) will be served with unlimited soda, coffee or tea. If an adult beverage is desired, it can be ordered separately. Don't fall asleep on the bus! (Please contact if you have any special dietary requests.)<<

Next stop: Stanford! Officially called the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the Stanford – as it is known on campus, was founded in 2005 to prepare a generation of innovators to tackle the complex unprecedented challenges of a future world. The courses and curriculum are based on the Design Thinking process, which draws on methods from engineering and design.     

This tour will be focused on exploring the design of the space to encourage collaboration and innovation, the Design Thinking methodology and stories of how the process has made an impact with students in the world. The prototyping room is decidedly low-tech (with tools like glue guns, handsaws, and materials like pipe cleaners and cardboard). The tour will be led by Charlotte Burgess-Auburn, Director of Community at the  

Our final stop of a busy day - the Stanford Product Realization Lab (in operation since 1891 when it was called the Student Shop) has served as a powerful embodiment of the Stanford University founders’ dream of a pragmatic, results-driven approach to learning. Lead by Director David Beach since 1974, the PRL has continually transformed its teaching and tools to prepare the next generation of pathbreaking leaders. The lab’s resources range from the timeless – mills, lathes, crucibles, welding torches – to the latest laser cutters, precision oscilloscopes and microprocessors.    

Our tour, with Directors Dave Beach and Craig Milroy, will include visits to the PRL’s early prototyping facility as well as their wood, machining, foundry, and plastics labs.

This full day tour departs the San Jose Hyatt Downtown Hotel at 8:30 am on Friday and returns to the hotel around 5 pm. $60.

NOTE: Competitor restrictions may apply at some of our tour locations. If you think your company may be considered a competitor, please contact Samanthi Martinez at 315-750-0803 or email to inquire before selecting this tour.

Let us know of any food sensitivities or preferences well in advance.


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