About this website

The TEC Hub Marketplace is for independent TEC Hubs and their members to sell products or services related to the many educational and fun TEC Hub projects.

About our organization

TEC Hub Foundation is a nonprofit organization and is recognized by the United States IRS as a 501c3 Public Charity.  TEC Hub Foundation was formed to help inspire and empower a new generation of science and technology professionals by solving some important challenges faced by science and technology educators, parents, and students.

  • Curriculum doesn’t keep up with technological advancement:  We solve this by creating a model where the learning material continuously evolves and improves as a natural byproduct of our community’s activity.
  • There’s not enough focus on hands-on learning and creative problem solving:  We solve this by focusing first on getting students engaged in fun hands-on projects and challenges.  We know it is still useful to tie these activities to various standards of learning, we’re addressing that too, but we prioritize learning over mapping standards.
  • Quality science and technology education is expensive:  We’re solving this in two ways.  First, we make everything we do fully open source so anyone can use our designs, project plans, and other information for free.  Second, we created the concept of TEC Ventures which are excellent learning opportunities themselves, but can also be an effective way for a TEC Hub to generate the funds necessary for tools, projects, and even full time staff.

What is a TEC Hub?

TEC Hubs are independent clubs where students (of all ages) learn through engaging and fun hands-on projects.  A TEC Hub can be a tiny single-family group that meets at home or a large public organization with a shared community workshop like a makerspace.  Its the purpose for gathering and not the size that defines a TEC Hub.

What do you mean by “project based learning?”

We mean you do an awesome project like building a robot, a quadcopter, a mousetrap car, an incubator for eggs, or even a dancing toaster.  We believe that people learn more effectively when they can appreciate the full context of an academic principle by actively solving the myriad of challenges that arise in real project.

What is a TEC Venture?

A TEC Venture is an entrepreneurial venture related to an open source TEC Hub project.  All the plans and files for any of our TEC Hub projects are free and open source, but sometimes it’s handy to have some help.  Maybe it would be helpful to have a full scale print of a part drawing.  Maybe it would be nice to buy all the right parts as a kit.  Maybe it would be easier to buy a 3d printed part instead of finding a way to print it.  There are many opportunities for TEC Hub members to sell helpful products or services that are related to existing TEC Hub projects, and since any TEC Hub member can create a totally new TEC Hub project, the TEC Venture opportunities are limitless!

Why don’t you just manufacture and sell your own project kits instead of relying on others to do TEC Ventures?

For starters, we think TEC Ventures themselves are an incredibly fruitful learning opportunity that engages a variety of students in valuable project-based learning.  From design and manufacturing to sales and marketing and more, there is a TEC Venture role for every sort of person.  TEC Ventures also enable TEC Hubs to earn funds they need to purchase (or build) 3d printers, laser cutters, CNC machines and other tools that expand their capabilities and grow new opportunities.  TEC Ventures are important and we don’t want to minimize that.

We’re building a new model–a different way of doing things. TEC Hub Foundation’s role is to take the necessary first steps to seed a new community of self-sufficient and independent TEC Hubs and TEC Ventures are a key part of that.

That said, we understand that some TEC Ventures will be short-lived as old students move on and new students choose other paths.  To help provide some continuity, we’ll work with well-established TEC Hubs and other partners to help ensure adequate quantities and quality of some of our core kits.  We’ll also reach out to the teams behind popular TEC Ventures to help see how we can support them and help them thrive.

Can you really raise enough money through TEC Ventures?

Yes, we believe you can.  In fact, in order to prove it, our founder quit his cushy government job and will now grow his independent business and support his family solely through TEC Ventures.  We think that’s pretty cool and we can’t wait to see what open source projects he contributes to the TEC Hub community!  The secretary of our board is also actively engaged in TEC Ventures and has made some pretty great kits that align well with some of his personal interests, birds and rocketry!  This is just the beginning, stay tuned for more!