The “maker” philosophy that has informed the creation of makerspaces all over the world is one of creative vitality, invention and engagement. Makerspaces offer areas for people to pursue all kinds of activities and for the spirit of learning to thrive. Belonging to a makerspace is a great way to build STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and artistic skills. Makerspaces foster entrepreneurship and can act as business incubators and accelerators.
Flint’s own Factory Two, located downtown, is built on these ideas. The brainchild of Red Ink Flint board members, the makerspace incorporates ideas from the community to form the backbone of its offerings. As part of the city’s technological, creative and entrepreneurial renaissance, it offers a collaborative workspace with many maker technologies and trains anyone in the community, from youth to retirees.
Housed in the Durant-Dort Factory Two, one of the five carriage factories that gave the area just west of downtown Flint the name Carriage Town, Factory Two works toward Red Ink’s goals of community engagement and economic revitalization through the arts and youth entrepreneurship, bringing together different segments of the community, including local artists, crafters and retired factory workers in a space where they can use state-of-the-art equipment and network with like-minded people.
Factory Two has a fully equipped woodshop offering lathes, saws, a drill press, an air compressor and a jointer, planer, and sander. A screen printing area has screens, ink emulsions, a washout booth and washer and separate tables for exposing, printing, and flatstock. For members interested in electronics, the circuit shop offers an oscilloscope, digital soldering and desoldering stations, a vacuum pump, an Arduino lab and training kit, a hot air rework station and an adjustable 30-volt, 5-ampere DC linear power supply.
Crafters and fabricators can use the vinyl cutter, two 3-D printers, a CNC router, an industrial sewing machine and serger and a variety of presses. There’s a heat press, single-color screen press and button press with accessories. Factory Two’s bike shop has a variety of Pedro’s tools, a park truing stand, a park bike stand and tubes, cables and chains for repair and bike building.
Musicians can use the Soundlab, with its portable synthesizer and Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator series. Designers have access to programs like Adobe Creative Suite 6, Corel Technical Suite x6, Autodesk Design Suite Ultimate 2016, Inkscape and GIMP as well as other free, open-source software.
In addition, Factory Two is home to a variety of regularly scheduled events, which can be found on the calendar at its Facebook page. Every first and third Wednesday is Game Space, where members play card and board games, learn and test new game prototypes and more.
In August, Factory Two held the Girls Rock Flint summer camp, a five-day session for youth ages 10-18. Campers learned collaboration, problem solving and leadership, using music. Girls Rock Flint also educates youth about social justice and activism, good nutrition and inclusivity.
Although Girls Rock began with young women, youth who are transgender, queer and gender-nonconforming are welcome, as are young men. Campers who have disabilities as well as those from low-income families and of diverse ethnicities are welcome. Other events this summer included blacksmithing demonstrations, a tech collaborative meetup, the Flint Toy Convention, Django Girls Flint, a bicycling meetup and the Michigan Tool Fest.
INTERESTED IN TAKING A CLASS?
CHECK OUT THE FACTORY TWO WEBSITE AT HTTPS://FACTORYTWO.ORG/.
FACTORY TWO IS LOCATED AT 129 N. GRAND TRAVERSE ST.
ITS PHONE NUMBER IS 810-354-7766
HOURS ARE TUESDAY-THURSDAY 1 TO 8 P.M. AND FRIDAY-SATURDAY 10 A.M. TO 4 P.M.