It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,  it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, – Charles Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

These are interesting times we’re in, and while we’re a couple centuries removed from the French Revolution, the dual nature of the challenges before us as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are sufficiently close that the opening words of Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities still ring true.

If you’re going to self-isolate, the age of the internet is far better than past ages of isolation that lacked any immediate methods of communications and remote interaction. If you’re looking for facts, though, it would be hard to find a more challenging time to winnow through the digital chaff to find the nuggets of truth.  We have a rich archive of best medical practices and top notch science from which to draw as we make difficult decisions, but we’re stockpiling toilet paper and believe that blow dryers aimed at our noses will ameliorate a virus.

Making That Matters

As we’ve scaled back at AMRoC Fab Lab, to the point where we’re open only by appointment and for a couple of very small, pre-arranged classes through the end of April,  we’re ramping up ways to keep our growing Fab Lab community connected, supported and engaged in safe, enjoyable, useful and instructive ways.  One of the things we’ll be doing, starting this week, is running features and special project invitations on our website and social media.  Look for guest posts from our partners at U.S. Auto Training, PLUGHITZ Corp, 3D Musketeers and others, and share your own expertise for staying safe, being useful, maintaining our homes and vehicles and caring for each other and our communities in small but powerful ways.

Something else we’re doing is building a robust Resource Library for Citizen Science and DIY COVID resource solutions . We started the resource guide a few days ago with just a few 3D printing resources. Today there are more than a dozen resources on it, all reviewed with an eye to practicality, safety and appropriate site vetting.

The long and the short of it though, is that having something to do is important for our health and sanity.  Having something of value and purpose to do is important for our psyche or soul, as the case may be.  Productivity matters, for so many reasons.   That’s the whole point of AMRoC Fab Lab in the first place.  But just because we can’t gather together in groups, doesn’t mean we can’t contribute to our community as individuals.

Like to sew? Help make medical face masks or other Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Enjoy computer science? Consider being part of the Folding at Home effort.  Want to do some useful 3D printing, there are a lot of COVID-19 related print projects available right now, from respirator valves to door openers to pithy little signs like the one above. Have expertise in medicine? Consider joining the Open Source COVID Medical Supplies Facebook page. A hardware person? Check out Hackaday’s Pandemic Pressure Control Ventilator.

So browse the Resource Library to find useful projects you can do at home, send us your maker stories and news, and stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  Social distancing, however long it takes, is only temporary.  How we care for each other and support our community will be our legacy.

Make it Matter.