Bay Area Prototyping Resources
Stanford Product Realization Lab http://www.stanford.edu/group/prl/prl_site/
Students can take a one hour safety training session and then use the lab for a daily or quarterly fee. Open for four hour blocks of time throughout the quarter. Not open during the summer. Resources include “traditional machining, woodworking, foundry, plastics molding, welding, finishing, and metrology tools. State-of-the-art computer-aided drawing, manufacturing, and prototyping systems are also available.”
Tech Shop – Menlo Park and San Francisco http://techshop.ws/
Monthly membership and various classes give you access to everything from CNC plasma cutters to industrial sewing machines. This is sort of like a PRL for non-university folks and they have equipment that the PRL doesn't have.
PRL Suppliers list http://www.stanford.edu/group/prl/prl_site/ Go to the PRL website and click on the “suppliers” link in the upper right corner. Great list of places to get stuff in the Bay Area.
McMaster Carr mcmaster.com They have almost any piece of hardware you could ever want. Prices are ok.
TAP Plastics – Mountain View, San Francisco http://www.tapplastics.com/ Best Local supplier of plastics
On-line Metals http://www.onlinemetals.com/ Great place to get small amounts of metal
Pick N Pull = San Jose, Oakland http://www.picknpull.com/ Do it yourself junk yard. Not the cheapest but you can sometimes get good deals.
HSC (Halted) Electronics – Santa Clara http://www.halted.com/ Good local resource for surplus electronics. Close to El Camino Mongolian BBQ resturaunt and Central Computers.
Weird Stuff in Sunnyvale - http://www.weirdstuff.com/
Douglas & Sturgess – San Francisco Supplier of all things sculptural – great supply of silicon and epoxy needs.
People and Organizations
You should really consider subscribing to their mailing list. It is a great resource for getting oddball technical questions answered.
Noisebridge is an infrastructure provider for technical-creative projects, collaboratively run by its members. We are incorporated as a non-profit educational corporation for public benefit. We operate primarily in a 5,600 square-foot space located in the heart of San Francisco. We teach, we learn, we share.
Laughing Squid http://laughingsquid.com
"As our tagline suggests, one of the main objectives of Laughing Squid is featuring unique and interesting art, culture and technology. A secondary goal of ours is to help connect the art community with the tech community, by letting artists know what tools and resources are available to promote their work and in turn get the geeks out from behind their computer and experience more art."
Laughing Squid is not specifically focused on the Bay Area but the news they cover has a strong Bay Area bent to it. Worth checking out to find resources and interesting work happening in the area.