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OCC Makerspace gets to work making masks, touchless keys for campus

Orange Coast College’s Makerspace is back up and running with a critical task: produce enough masks and touchless keys to be ready for when campus re-opens.

The College’s Makerspace is uniquely suited for the job. With laser cutting machines, industrial sewing machines, and 3D printers at their disposal, last week architecture professor and Makerspace Co-Founder, Steve Fuchs and Makerspace Coordinator Garret Hill completed nearly 100 masks and almost 200 “No Touch” key fobs.

The masks, made with upcycled t-shirts left over from last fall’s Science Night event, were laser cut four at a time using a pattern perfected by Hill from many maker community suggestions to maximize efficiency. “A pattern from SUAYLA [wholesale sewing shop] was used to sew our initial mask design. What we liked about this design was that it incorporated an inner sleeve, which allows the user to insert or replace a separate filter material to further combat virus and bacteria,” explains Hill. “The pattern and production techniques were [then] simplified and further unified into one OCC mask design.” The process for assembling OCC’s masks has been whittled down to nine steps, allowing Hill to increase production output.

With t-shirt material running low, this week OCC’s Fashion department donated fabric and elastic to the Makerspace, in addition to offering tips on the design of the masks and the best material to use. “We are so grateful to be a part of such a motivated and selfless campus community of designers and makers, and are appreciative of this fantastic donation,” says Fuchs.

Hill and Fuchs were additionally tasked by the College’s leadership with creating “No Touch” COVID key fobs made from a strong plastic material that will limit employees’ contact with high-touch surfaces. Made from a new “Tough PLA” material, the keys are able to withstand wear and tear, according to Fuchs. “It is even able to open doors,” he explains.

OCC’s Makerspace was created in 2017 with a grant from the California Community College State Chancellor’s office. The laboratory space, originally dubbed the “Co-Lab”, is located in the College’s Technology Center and is outfitted with state-of-the-art machines and tools, with a focus on creativity, innovation and collaboration. The Makerspace is open to all OCC students, faculty and staff, and allows the College to build maker culture into STEM, STEAM, and all curriculum.

Follow OCC’s Makerspace on Instagram @occmakerspace

This article was released by Orange Coast College.