Apr 15, 2020
While the space is currently unable to offer its regular in-person classes, FUSE has transitioned all of its equipment and resources over to building, cleaning, and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) that’s being shipped to COVID-19 healthcare works in every corner of the state.
Currently, FUSE Director Dena Thomas-Aouassou is partnering with Alice Shriver of 505 Access and Tanda Headrick of VanGuard Technology to create a pipeline that will provide hundreds of plastic face shields to healthcare workers at Prebyterian Healthcare Services each week. Alice and Tanda set up the partnership with Presbyterian and then worked with Salteydogg Metal Fab here in Albuquerque to cut the shields. Dena then turned the entire FUSE computer lab into a space where the shields can be cleaned and packaged.
Dena was also contacted by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), which has partnered with New Mexico Tech to run the nmcovid19.org website where designers and manufacturers can reach out to donate their services or medical supplies. Via that partnership and website, Dena and the FUSE Makerspace will be holding a curbside donation event this Friday where anyone in Albuquerque or the surrounding area is encouraged to drop off their own 3D-printed face shields or the materials needed to make them.
The list goes on. Sheri Crider, who runs the Sanitary Tortilla Factory art space, has been hard at work producing something called an intubation box. The square boxes, which were first developed by a doctor in Taiwan, are made of plexiglass and fit over a patient’s head with holes for a doctor’s arms to reach through. They’re used as another layer of protection for doctors who are intubating a patient, or in other terms, inserting a plastic tube into a patient’s trachea to help keep their airways open—a process that’s done when someone needs to be put on a ventilator.
Sheri took her first box to Lovelace Health System here in Albuquerque where doctors used it and immediately ordered 12 more. Since the first batch, she and a crew of volunteers from a group called New Mexico Craft Responders have made more that have gone everywhere from Roswell to Zuni.
“It’s been amazing,” Sheri says. “I was painting pictures and making furniture when this all started and now I feel great being able to help. It’s really meaningful to be able to make an object that has tangible benefits to workers who need it most.”
Finally, Justin Spane with Albuquerque Fire Rescue recently dropped off a roll of polyurethane plastic along with CNC router files that Dena and others at FUSE will use to produce protective plastic gowns for healthcare workers. Once the process is streamlined, Dena hopes to produce more than 500 gowns each week.
“We’ve been very, very busy,” Dena says. “But we’re excited to help because this is a community health need that affects all of us.”
This article was originally published on cnm.edu.
Name: Wesley Eccles
Employer: Electric Playhouse
What is Electric Playhouse?
Electric Playhouse is a 21st-century entertainment center for people of all ages that produces unique creative worlds for immersive & interactive experiences, including games, dining, and recreation.
Tell us a little bit about what you’re making?
At FUSE, we built the tunnel entrance, which signals the beginning of the Electric Playhouse experience. I designed and built the tunnel with Owen Schwab. Its comprised of 250 individual CNC routed pieces, 10,000 individual controllable LED lights, 67 sheets of plywood, which make up 25 individual ribs, all while being ADA compliant. It took about a month and a half to build. You may have seen parts throughout the shop during the build.
One of my other large projects took place last summer. I designed and fabricated the Welcome to Albuquerque display at the International Sunport. This project used almost every tool on the FUSE shop floor and required that I learn a few new ones too. I used the AP Lazer for cutting a 4’x10′ sheet of acrylic on the pass-through and enhanced our finishing work by powder coating all the custom metal fixtures. This project allowed me to become an expert on the AP Lazer for sure quickly.”
What was the most valuable thing to you here?
“I think FUSE is a super unique space for small businesses. I was able to create the fabrication side of Electric Playhouse because we have access to a wide variety of tools and space to build our project. However, the biggest asset at FUSE would be the community of makers. There is a wide range of individuals with different fabrication tips and tricks.”
What does your process look like?
“I always start with a digital model in Rhino. It allows me to communicate my ideas and figure out the problems that lie ahead. After I have perfected the model, you find me at a local coffee shop developing all of my cut files from the 3D model. Then I go to FUSE and fabricate all night and put it back together before Dena arrives the next morning.”
What advice would you give to someone who might be considering joining FUSE?
“Come check it out and ask anyone working on a project about what they are making. Makers love to share what they are making. Then jump in and take a class. Once you take the workshop, you will better understand the tools and reduce any anxiety around that specific tool. If you need help, ask. As I said, FUSE has a great maker community with a wealth of fabrication knowledge.”
What were the biggest things you learned?
“Learning to work in a community space. I also have had the opportunity to learn how to use the metal lathe and mill.”
What were some complete failures you have run into?
“Every project has something that doesn’t go as planned. You have to use it as an opportunity to redesign or figure out a workaround to make the designs come to life.”
What’s your favorite tool?
“ CNC Router Shopbot ”
How do you see yourself growing?
“Because of our business membership at FUSE, we have been able to extend the fabrication side of the business at Electric Playhouse and offer a unique experience for clients around the country.”
What is your proudest moment as a maker?
“I’m most proud when my projects become widely recognized and photographed. Seeing people excited about my projects gives me energy to tackle the next one. I have been able to create my dream job by working for Electric Playhouse and fabricating out of FUSE.”
Anything else you’d like us to highlight?
“Every project I have made here has had a ton of influence from the community at FUSE. I wouldn’t be able to achieve the quality or scale of work without the support of the community and Owen.”
You can follow Wesley’s maker journey on his personal Instagram @wesleyeccles.