Maker Nexus -
in times of COVID-19
When Santa Clara County, California issued a shelter-in-place order in mid-March, and staff at Maker Nexus learned about the shortages in PPE, staff and members were able to rapidly design and prototype a useful faceshield in cooperation with local doctors and hospitals.
With our shop closed to members, we began making them with our otherwise idled laser cutters and 3D printers. Almost immediately, requests from healthcare workers began pouring in for these shields as well as cloth face masks.
We needed help and so began an enormous effort involving over 600 volunteers, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area but, ultimately, around the US. This community of makers - with knowledge, equipment, and moxy - designed and 3D printed components, laser cut lenses, sliced elastic, assembled packages, and organized logistics to deliver thousands of face shields and cloth masks. The volunteers included youth and adults with their 3D printers, sewers with their home machines, colleges and companies providing equipment and operators, a landlord loaning warehouse space, pilots providing private planes and fuel, lawyers their pro-bono guidance, shippers, injection molders, and dozens coordinating requests from healthcare providers, sorting, packing, labeling, carrying and fund-raising.
This was only possible with generous donations from the community, individuals and companies. Those donations helped to purchase materials like filament, plastic, fabric, and elastic, as well as pay for equipment repairs and shipping. You helped to pay our rent, utilities and salaries, not only for our regular employees, but we actually hired people during one of the most devastating financial downturns since the Great Depression. Those donations kept Maker Nexus operational so we could serve the community when our maker skills and equipment were needed most.
Those donations enabled us to produce and give away over 70,000 face shields and 5000 cloth face masks (and counting) to over 570 organizations and individuals throughout the United States. Here’s a map showing all the places we’ve been able to support with face shields, thanks to you!
In mid-June, Maker Nexus was allowed to reopen to members and resume our normal mission of providing STEAM education and lowering the barriers to access to equipment and learning for people of all ages to create, make and invent.
We decided to continue manufacturing faceshields to help alleviate the ongoing need.
Visit us at makernexus.org to learn how you and your friends can become a member and use the shop, book a tour, enroll your kids in summer camps, or donate to support STEAM education for underprivileged and underrepresented kids as well as skills training for people of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. As you’ve seen, at Maker Nexus you and our community can make anything we can imagine, and just about anything happen.