The Big Idea @ SJC is not just a place to turn ideas into reality, it’s evolved as a workspace to fill the needs of our community. The 3,000-square-foot makerspace, housed in the Quality Center for Business, is a shared workspace where people can try out a new idea, or invent a new product.
As San Juan College navigates through the COVID-19 crisis, The Big Idea @ SJC makerspace, partnered with ABC Canvas and PESCO to manufacture full-face shields for local medical providers to help meet the national shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). With the array of equipment available at the makerspace, Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, San Juan College President, had full confidence that San Juan College’s Big Idea could help ease the burden for local medical providers.
Farmington native and New Mexico Tech student, Logan Byrom happened to be home for spring break when the demand for the full-face shields increased rapidly, almost overnight. Logan has been a part of the makerspace at San Juan College since its inception in February of 2019. He didn’t hesitate at the opportunity to assist with the project. He conducted research and then immediately began printing the full-face shield hardware using the 3D printers at The Big Idea.
John Byrom, Logan’s father and PESCO Business Development manager, offered the services of PESCO to manufacture additional face shield hardware using their 3D printers. Cody Waldroup, owner of ABC Canvas, also joined the effort, providing the clear vinyl face shields and other parts that attach to the hardware.
The face shields can be safely reused once they have been sterilized. As of April 8, 100 face shields had been made and distributed to two of the COVID-19 testing sites in San Juan County – San Juan Regional Medical Center and Pinon Family Practice.
“With PPE being such a scarcity, we are very appreciative that our local partners could provide what we are unable to find in the open market,” explained Dr. Joe Pope, Pinon Family Practice physician. “These face shields are very sturdy and provide much greater protection from droplet contamination than goggles, which our staff was previously using. In addition, they don’t fog up like the goggles, allowing for better visibility. I can’t say enough about how our community has come together to support so many needs in an ever-changing environment.”
“We are grateful for the partnership and support of ABC Canvas and PESCO,” said Dr. Pendergrass. “We are all in this together and want to do everything we can to support each other.”
Assisting the broader community, the 3D printing hardware files for the face shields also have been shared with Dr. Elmer Guy, President of Navajo Technical University, to utilize in their makerspace.
Production of much needed equipment during the COVID-19 crisis is expanding, as the Big Idea staff, now joined by a second New Mexico Tech student, Jon Mestas, are currently teaming up with PESCO and San Juan Regional Medical Center to produce tube adapters and other components used for ventilators. They are currently fulfilling requests from other medical facilities in the county.
“We are excited to have the opportunity to be a part of this effort,” John Byrom of PESCO said. “We cannot thank San Juan College enough for their contribution to help our folks fight COVID-19.”
For more information or assistance, call the San Juan College Foundation at 505-566-3200.