4/29 Socal Makers Covid Response Team Update —
One very important thing frequently overlooked about projects like this is the incredible educational and social impacts they have for the students and hobbyists involved. While many students may be thinking of this time away from school as an extended break, those who have remained involved in the Socal Makers Response Team have stood to benefit greatly though their participation in this project. Within the team, high school and college students are learning engineering skills, including computer aided design and 3D printing optimization, and learning how to repair, maintain, and upgrade their 3D printers. They are iterating on design improvements to the PPE production and distribution process. They are participating in a real-world production effort requiring supply chain and delivery logistics, and learning techniques to optimize shield production. They are networking with professionals in the medical and engineering fields, setting up great opportunities for future collaboration.
Yesterday, one of our younger makers stopped by our “distribution center” with his parents to get some photos of the shields he helped produce. This became a great opportunity for him to learn some of our production techniques, so I trained him to use my laser cutter and create the clear sheet cutouts for our shields. He helped build some of these, and we took a moment to talk about ways to help optimize his own printing techniques. I was happy to show the student (and his parents) everything that goes in to making this project successful (photo below).
The face shield project has become a large-scale collaborative effort amongst teachers, mentors, students, and good-hearted people looking for ways to help. This project has served as that outlet — even enabling folks without access to 3D printers to get involved by utilizing some of the team members’ strongest skill sets. Assisting with deliveries and sorting/cleaning/assembling shields is one major part of this category, but volunteers have also dedicated their time to helping the team with marketing, organization, communication/process improvements, and even branding. The photo below is of Socal Makers pins (a very popular SWAG item in FIRST Robotics) which will soon be proudly worn by all of our volunteers.
The last photo today is from the healthcare workers at ATK Endodontics in Lawrenceville, NJ. We are so proud to be able to keep this project going, now with over 7000 shields and mask straps delivered. We now have a new method for handling face shield and mask strap requests. Please use the form provided on our team project website: https://socalcovidresponse.com/ This will greatly help us better organize the requests and ensure they are taken care of as efficiently as possible.