- computers of any age/vintage/condition will be helpful. I expect most people to have laptops, so if we need some real computing power we can assemble it. Lab computers are more about being task-specific, running PCB layout software, programming stations, automation, server work, etc. These might not be needed for every workstation. The nice thing about computers is that they're fairly easy and inexpensive to come by used/free.
- soldering irons and desoldering irons. Needed for every workstation. $10 ones work just fine for most things.
- multimeters. Needed for every workstation. $20 or so new, or cheaper if we can find a lab that's upgrading and has some bench-mountable units to hand over.
- bench power supplies. Needed for every workstation. These can be pre-made or homemade from computer PSUs. We could even have one of our first events be a power supply build-a-thon to outfit the workbenches.
- LOTS of components and parts. I don't expect this to be a problem, we can tear down just about anything these days. We can order some new components from Digikey, etc relatively inexpensively. Most IC companies have free sample programs and we to get some microcontrollers and such for FREE.
- Lots of wire for connecting things up. Spools.
- Benches, stools, shelving, storage containers, and other furniture. We'll definitely need places to work, sit, and store things.
- wireless router. Who doesn't have one of these lying around? Depending on the setup, wired switches/routers might be nice too.
- coffee maker, microwave, fridge (bar-size or otherwise). Having food with some kind of money collection cup could be good for the space's funds, as well as for keeping everyone happy and full.
- Lockers! If we can find some old lockers or something for paying members to store projects and stuff in, that would be extremely useful!
- PCB etching equipment/materials. This stuff is messy, easy to come by, and cheap cheap cheap. We could get everything needed to produce our own PCBs for less than $200.
- reflow station. For soldering surface-mount components. $200 new, probably only 1-2 needed. There are also lots of projects online for building reflow stations from kitchen appliances like toaster ovens or electric skillets with some microcontroller-based control circuitry added. This could be another build project once things get running.
- oscilloscopes. Even 30 year old scopes are still plenty useful, if you can find them. New ones go for about $500+, good ones $1k+. Not required for every workstation, but the more the better.
- function generator. Again, old ones work fine, new ones are $350-500 or more.
- spectrum analyzers. These are really helpful when working with RF projects, but not necessarily a requirement for most things. Also possible to get old/used, but they cost $1k+ new. Because they're infrequently needed, only 1-2 is really reasonable.
- powertools. Drill press, band saw, router, handheld rotary tools, etc. Hopefully we can find some of these things used. This stuff could get big, we'll have to make sure the space is big enough to support workshop equipment
- Makerbot. Little desktop CNC/extrusion machine for printing objects out of plastic. Desktop object production! Sold in kit form for $1k or so.
- anything usually reserved to commercial/industrial situations that a normal geek-on-a-laptop wouldn't have access to. Things like plotter-printers, or whatever else we can find used or get donated.
- sewing machine? Not the first thing that comes to mind, but for wearable technology experiments and things, a sewing machine could come in handy. Plus, I'm sure they're pretty easy to find used for free.
- Laser cutter/engraver. For etching things with lasers, or cutting thin materials for building things. $10k and up new, might be possible to get used.
- ShopBot CNC. Although it's marketed as "affordable", it's out of reach of mere individuals. Unreasonably large and $20k, but this will add huge membership incentive as members will actually be able to manufacture physical things.