CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Almost daily, we hear about the need for more personal protection equipment. Many have risen to the challenge, including a few on Charleston’s West Side who are making masks, while putting innovation at the forefront.
‘The Maker’s Center’ sit on Charleston’s West Side. The center is similar to the worldwide makerspace movement which offers nonprofit, collaborative, community workshops where groups of people pool their resources for the common good of making, learning, exploring, and sharing. It’s part of the ministry of Bible Center Church.
“We originally started to do training centers on the West Side. Our words are dream, learn, innovate, create,” Michelle Thompson, executive director of City Ministries Bible Center Church, says.
‘The Maker’s Center’ opened earlier this year. Thompson says they have had to push their grand opening back because of COVID-19. But before the pandemic struck, they had women from Recovery Point taking floral arrangement classes and students from Mary C. Snow using their virtual reality computers.
“It’s really cool because now we feel like God was out ahead of us and we built the Makers Center, thinking we were doing it for one purpose, and here we are using it for a completely different purpose,” Thompson says.
Adam Lucas is the ‘Maker in Residence.” Full time he does IT for a company in the Valley, but he prefers to call himself a fixer.
“All I do all day is problem solve,” Lucas explained.
“The call went out to all of the makers around the world that doctors and medical staff need PPE or personal protection equipment,” he explained.
It’s a problem that’s plagued much of the country, including the Mountain State and immediately Adam new he needed to help in any way that he could. So he started with his 3D printers.
Using a 3D printer, Lucas and ‘The Maker’s Center’ are printing face shields for area doctors and nurses and pressure relief straps for those with cloth masks. They are also printing Montana Masks for the West Virginia National Guard. On Monday, they delivered more than 70 masks to the National Guard.
Lucas is just one of thousands of makers using 3D printers across the state and the country. Within the maker spaces, the patterns are all available for free online and can be shared and downloaded whenever and wherever.
Those interested in receiving a shield, mask, or pressure reliever can reach out to the center on their Facebook page.