Makerspace

A student works with a saw in the Orange Coast College Makerspace recently. The space is making masks and keyless fobs on campus to try to keep OCC workers safe.

Orange Coast College’s Makerspace has found a way to help the campus community by designing face masks and touchless key fobs during the COVID-19 crisis.

Steven Fuchs, Makerspace co-founder, and Garrett Hill, Makerspace coordinator, said they have used laser machines, 3D printers and sewing machines to design and create about 100 PPE face masks and over 300 no touch key fobs for OCC’s Campus Safety and Maintenance and Operations staff.

Fuchs said providing these resources for faculty working on campus will keep them safer as they work.

“We support all decisions made by the district for proper personal safety and are encouraged by the support our administration has shown our efforts in OCC's Makerspace,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs said that even when campus opens up after the pandemic, everyone can still benefit from using the resources they provide since high-use objects like buttons and switches are touched on a daily basis.

“Even before this pandemic, I'm always careful to not use my fingers when touching high-use items,” Fuchs said. “It's also important to not touch your face, eyes, ears or mouth with your hands, especially after touching high-use items.”

The no-touch key fobs are designed to let a person do simple everyday things without having to physically touch an object. Fuchs said that they sourced a design from Thingiverse.com and modified it to make it stronger using their 3D printers. He said that they work well in the tests he has conducted around his house.

“[The key fobs] essentially allows someone to touch, push/pull, flip on and off, and open things you’d normally touch with your fingers or hand,” Fuchs said.

The key fobs aren’t the only useful thing that the Makerspace has created. The PPE face masks being produced are a unique design that allows the user to recycle the masks instead of throwing numerous face masks away.

According to the OCC website, Makerspace coordinator Hill said the mask pattern from SUAYLA, a wholesale sewing shop, was what drew them to the design. Hill said  the masks incorporate sleeves that allow a person to replace the filter, which helps prevent bacteria and germs from invading the fabric.

“The pattern and production techniques were [then] simplified and further unified into one OCC mask design,” Hill said.

The Makerspace allows for personal designs and welcomes any stories that students, faculty or staff want to share about their own PPE production at home by going to occmakerspace@gmail.com, Fuches said

With fabric running low, the OCC Fashion department has donated excess fabric and old Science Night T-shirts for the creation of the masks, Lauren Becker, the Fashion Department program coordinator said.

Hill has partnered with OCC fashion instructors for input on mask patterns.

Although the items are only being used by on-site staff, Fuchs hopes to see the keyless fobs and masks used uniformly by everyone at school even after the pandemic is over.

The Makerspace has been fielding requests for face masks and key fobs leading up to summer activities on campus. Fuchs and Hill can be reached at occmakerspace@gmail.com.

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