FLINT, Michigan—Factory Two is a makerspace replete with a vinyl cutter, a forge, button maker, bike station, wood stations, a 3D printer, and laser cutter. It has everything needed to make ideas a reality and during a pandemic crisis, it is the alternative solution for personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturing.
Despite being closed for business until Monday, April 13, Factory Two has been hard at work.
The makerspace became a registered location with #GetUsPPE, a national collaborative of engineers, scientists, physicians, and makers, that are taking on the fight against PPE manufacturing shortages. Face masks, shields, protective gowns, safety goggles, aerosol boxes, and raw materials are essential items that people like Michael Wright are coming together to create.
Co-founder of Factory Two, Michael Wright, platformed one of his laser-cut facemask designs on Facebook, Thursday, March 26.
“Trying out a face shield design. Came out pretty decent,” Wright wrote in a Facebook post. “Made with 1/8” plywood, overheadMichael Wright, co-founder of Factory Two, tries on his laser cut face shield design on March 26. transparency, pop rivers and elastic. About 10 min start to finish. Will look to start cranking these out as I have time at Factory Two.”
And he has, with a total of 110 face shields designed, and in the last two days, he has received 100 requests. According to Wright, 50 masks are in distribution.
Wright found out about #GetUsPPE through Factory Two’s membership with Nation of Makers (NoM). While browsing their Slack channel, he saw that NoM had made the move to partner with the grassroots collaborative.
“Nation of Makers (NoM) is a national nonprofit supporting America's maker organizations through community building, resource sharing, and advocacy, within the maker movement and beyond,” said Wright. “ NoM have been at the forefront in coordinating maker-centered activities to assist in responding to the COVID-19 health crisis.”
Wright sees what he is doing as simply giving back and doing what he can for his community. For him, it’s not any different from the PPE production he sees community members creating, like Dr. Mukkamala and Crystal Pepperdine of Flint Handmade.
“There are many local residents already helping to sew masks and other PPE gear wholly separate from our efforts,” said Wright.
" I'm sure there are official steps and likely regulations, but at this stage, we are focusing on producing items that are easy to sanitize.”
Though hand-sewn masks are cited as a “last resort” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for PPE, both hand-sewn masks and face shields are valuable for their reusability.
Related Story: Sewing for Safety: Flint’s Shay Oliver and friends craft homemade face masks for health workers
Wright estimates with the support of other local partners and volunteers, Factory Two should be able to produce 100 face shields a day if necessary.
“It has to be a group effort, or the overall number of PPE items will be too low,” said Wright. “Once I get through the initial test/development stage I will involve Craig Farrington, manager at Factory Two to help coordinate volunteers, production, and distribution.”
To request a face shield fill out the official inquiry form. For those that are continuing to make their own masks and shields Factory Two is an official drop-off site.
To directly donate to Factory Two in support of additional materials and shields visit the Factory Two page
For more questions or information send an email to [email protected].