Flint's makerspace: See inside Factory Two

FLINT, Michigan — Streams of wood glue ooze down a laminated panel as Michael Callahan presses dowel rods into their holes. Callahan is in the process of building a small cabinet for his mother-in-law in the woodshop at Factory Two.

Callahan is one of more than 250 members of Factory Two, a makerspace in Flint that began taking memberships in June of last year. Here they teach and give access to tools for those who have a drive to create just about anything. 

In the woodshop alone, Factory Two offers top of the line power tools such as a table saw, joiner, drill press, planer, wood lathe, CNC machine and more.

Beyond the woodshop, Factory Two features a complete setup for screen printing, laser cutters and etchers, CNC routers, 3D printers, computers, a full soundlab, and bike workshop for anyone needing to maintain their trusty steed.  

Like many of the subscribers at Factory Two, Callahan was gifted a membership for Christmas. As he and his wife are looking for a house for themselves and their 16-month-old son, it provides him a space to work on his projects, which often focus on household items such as shelves and cabinets. 

Callahan, a full-time software programmer, has always been one to solve problems and figure things out. Years ago he found himself in need of hard drive storage. Instead of going out and purchasing the racks, he began to build them himself, learning along the way. This ignited a small fire within him to create.

“Problem-solving is my biggest hobby,” Callahan smiles. As he grew more and more into woodworking, the majority of his education came from YouTube and trial and error. Eventually, he’d like to find a way to be a professional woodworker, but until then, he’s able to utilize the woodshop at Factory Two in conjunction with doing smaller work at home.

“With the full workshop they have back there, and the scale of the equipment, it’s enabled me to pick any project I want to do,” he said.

Callahan isn’t alone. There has been a steady increase in membership and subscription since Factory Two opened, dirctor Jon Hardman said. Each month, the space has been seeing, at minimum, 60 unique visitors for instruction and to reserve tools. 

At least seven classes are offered at Factory Two, usually with a class size of three to five students. Factory Two also is host to meetups—which do not require membership—and have featured drone enthusiasts and 3D printing. 

“We have reached out to and been approached by several community leaders looking to use our space and equipment to enhance their endeavors,” says Hardman. “We are really striving to fill our role as Flint’s community makerspace, and the only way to do that is to serve the entire community.”

Teaching and learning go naturally with making. Like other makers, Callahan also is looking to be a teacher—to pass along his creative knowledge to others. He has been planning a four-hour basic woodworking hand tool course.

“I find I learn just as much teaching, as I do when someone’s teaching me… Having the opportunity to give back what I’ve learned is a positive,” Callahan says with a smile.

For more information, visit http://factorytwo.org
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