Lasers, Education and Innovation are the Foundation at Factory eNova
Orange County, CA Makerspace Offers High-Tech Tools to the Public
Though Fountain Valley, California-based Factory eNova has been in business for just 17 months, the dream of the business has been around for years. Billed as the factory for easy innovation, Factory eNova is a laser cutting, laser engraving and 3D printing studio that allows the surrounding community to utilize formerly inaccessible tools to create the projects and products of their dreams. We spoke with Seth Inyang, co-owner of Factory eNova about the business of creativity, collaboration and technology in this successful makerspace that is drawing lots of attention. Seth Inyang and Vinh Lieu are the primary founders of Factory eNova. Both are mechanical engineering graduates who had worked on projects together before going into business.
"The features that were most important to us were ease of use, safety and reliability in both the laser itself and its support system. The thought that came to our minds is that we would literally want everyone to be able to use our machines, and we realized Epilog was the leading choice.”
Seth Inyang, Factory eNova co-founder
“The thought of Factory eNova popped into our heads a few years ago when we were looking for equipment to complete prototypes that Vinh and I had been working on,” Seth told us. “We both agreed there was a huge market for people like us who wanted and needed access to top-notch prototyping and manufacturing equipment.”
Both Vinh and Seth had some experience with using lasers at another DIY shop, though when it was time to select the equipment for their organization, they still considered themselves novices. However, their previous laser experience did give them a solid idea of what they were looking for in their own systems.
“The features that were most important to us were ease of use, safety and reliability in both the laser itself and its support system,” Seth said. “The thought that came to our minds is that we would literally want everyone to be able to use our machines, and we realized Epilog was the leading choice.”
Epilog’s easy-to-use equipment and reputation for stellar support struck a chord with Seth and Vinh as they narrowed down their equipment manufacturers. “The Epilog Laser system interface is very user friendly, which was important to us since we introduce new customers to our lasers on a weekly basis,” Seth said. “If the lasers were hard to use, we knew that it would be that much harder for us to keep our DIY customers. I also love the fact that if anything goes wrong, Epilog is great at helping out over the phone and the distributor who sold us the laser is normally available for onsite visits if it should ever get to that.”
In addition to providing equipment and workspace for community members, the team at Factory eNova is also dedicated to education. Offering a variety of classes and clinics, DIY enthusiasts now also have the opportunity to learn to do incredible things with all kinds of equipment – including lasers. “The laser classes have been very popular as we had predicted they would be,” Seth said. “In two hours our customers are in and out of the class making their creations. I will admit we have some excellent teachers, but the fact that the machine is so easy to use greatly aids in the teaching process. Our youngest student so far has been just eight years old, and he has been back to make things multiple times while his dad reads newspapers and magazines at the center table,” Seth told us.
Since Factory eNova caters to a wide variety of customers – engineers, inventors, etc. - they see all kinds of interesting projects and creations come to fruition in the space. “We have actually had a lot of artists and designers come in to engrave on fabrics or cut patterns for clothing and other accessories,” Seth said. “In addition to that, laser cutting seems to be extremely popular on everything from paper and acrylic stencils to jewelry or wood cut items as well. We also have a lot of small to medium businesses that come in to mark on smaller production runs of all kinds of items, and we’ve also seen quite a few Kickstarter projects come through our doors.”
While the space offers a range of services, equipment and educational opportunities, Seth and Vinh told us that Factory eNova was originally built solely on the use of Epilog Laser systems.
“We have focused on really highlighting all of the benefits of the laser to help build our business,” Seth said. “When people see we have equipment that can take any digital image and transfer it to a 3D object, they become very interested in the lasers. “ In opening its doors 17 months ago, Factory eNova has opened a world of opportunity to people all over Orange County, and the team there has lofty ambitions for the future of their business, as well. “We want to be pioneers at Factory eNova,” Seth said, “finding more and more new ways that the laser can be utilized to make things. We have been recently laser cutting pieces of larger materials and using the lasers to prototype and build all kinds of objects, the most recent being a shelving system that we built for the front of our studio by simply laser cutting notches into rectangular pieces of wood and putting them together.
As for future equipment from Epilog, that’s on the Factory eNova radar as well. “We look forward to getting the FiberMark Fusion laser in the future to address the metal etching demand,” Seth said. “We’re looking forward to what Epilog comes out with next and are excited to expand with our lasers at the forefront.”