Christina Shuffield, Factory 3 manager, and Chuck Devine use the facility’s woodworking equipment. Factory 3, which officially opened last month, provides work space and shared equipment for small businesses and individuals. Courtesy / Factory 3

PORTLAND — Tomas Amadeo is using a new maker space on St. James Street to test prototypes for a medical robot. Genna Worthley is using it to hone her metal fabrication techniques.

Since opening late last month, Factory 3, has provided space, tools and machinery for 16 people working on projects related to screen printing, textiles, high end speaker production, architectural design, metal fabrication and medical robotics engineering. The space also offers workshops and classes for members and the general public.

Members of the public tour Factory 3 at 115 St. James St. during an open house Nov. 23. Courtesy / Factory 3

Patrick Russell, director of Factory 3 at 115 St. James St., the former home of Loring Acoustics, offers wood and metal shops and individual and group work areas. By early 2020, he hopes to add a digital fabrication lab complete with a 3D printer.

With the explosion of the brewery, distillery and marijuana grow facilities in recent years, industrial space has been hard to come by in the city, especially for smaller businesses, he said. That has resulted in a large demand for maker spaces in the city. There are a number of arts-related maker spaces and co-working space in the city, but aside from Open Bench, which opened five years ago, Factory 3, is the only other facility that offers tools, equipment and instruction for woodworking, metalwork and other projects.

Factory 3, which can accommodate up to 100 members, “is something Portland needs,” Russell said.

Similar to a gym, members pay a monthly fee for their space and access to the available tools and machines.

And like a gym, some members work at Factory 3 daily, others come in less frequently, he said.

Amadeo of Portland, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering and robotics at Boston University, stops in several times a week between his course work and his work as a consulting engineer, he said.

Amadeo is developing a robotic catheter to be used during brain surgery to drain spinal fluid out of the brain.

“A huge motivation for me to sign up for the maker space is to have a place to work on projects, do prototypes and develop various ideas in a space that is local,” Amadeo said.

Worthley, who spent the last year as a metal fabrication apprentice at White Knuckle Kustoms on Route 302 in Windham, is using the space right now to create a customized metal fabricated desk for her to use.

“What factory 3 has done is allowed me to practice my craft in a safe environment. They have supplied anything I needed, although I have a lot of my own tools,” she said.

The goal, Russell said, is for Factory 3 to maintain an open feel to encourage collaboration between members no matter what medium they work in. Being in the space has allowed Worthley to begin tinkering in the wood shop.

“I think it is awesome,” Worthley said. “I am really excited to see things in full swing.”

 

 

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