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Repair Cafe

Repair Cafe Video Series:

We are kicking off the national Week of Making with our latest program in response to changes due to COVID-19: Repair Cafe. As re-opening and getting back to "normal" will be a gradual process, we wanted a way to engage with our community in lieu of our usual hands-on educational events like First Friday and Maker Faire Lynchburg. We also wanted to serve a need in our community, and Repair Cafe fits the bill for both of those items. Plus, Repair Cafe has three important benefits that all fit our mission:

  1. Community Service - We have hosted a few Repair Cafe events during First Friday in the past, but now more than ever the financial strain of job loss and a struggling economy can make replacing broken household goods difficult. We are here to help, free of charge! While we can't guarantee a fix (anything irreplaceable is not a good candidate for our program), we will give it our best shot and are pretty adept at fixing even unusual requests.
  2. Eco-Friendly - Repair (or reuse) is the second most effective eco-friendly choice when it comes to consumerism, so when you participate in our free Repair Cafe program you are making a healthy choice for our environment. 
  3. Education - Each of our repairs will be recorded and shared online, to encourage you to pick up your own broken lamp, dusty typewriter, or other household goods in need of a fix and give them the ole DIY effort. From robots to tables, our video series will provide insight into basic repairs in electronics, wood, metal, textiles, and more. 

Want to send us something broken? We have developed a quick but necessary process for accepting repairs to ensure 1) that they are realistic objects for repair and 2) that we are not overrun with more repairs than we can handle. Just fill out our Repair Request Form and we will get back to you with a drop off time, if we are able to accommodate your repair.

Finally, we are grateful to The Greater Lynchburg Community Foundation for supporting our community outreach initiatives, including Repair Cafe. If you would like to contribute to this effort, you may do so on our Nation of Makers page.

    COVID PPE Response

    Vector Space is honored to be working with so many partners to provide medical accessories and supplies for our local healthcare workers. This page will be updated regularly as needs and progress changes.

    News Coverage

    News & Advance, April 5 - Vector Space in Lynchburg hopes to aid in fight against coronavirus
    WSET, April 6 - Lynchburg's Vector Space 3D prints personal protective gear for medical professionals
    WFXR, April 6 - A Lynchburg company is 3D printing face shields for local health workers
    WSLS, April 9 - Vector Space delivers masks, intubation boxes to Lynchburg medical workers
    WSET, April 9 - Vector Space teams up with Mama Crockett's to give intubation boxes to local hospitals
    WSET, April 30 - Dentists prepare to open after Governor Northam gives the green light

    PPE Needs and Status

    May 21 Update
    As Virginia moves into Phase I and businesses begin to re-open, we have continued to fulfull PPE orders for high-risk individuals and small businesses. The librarians, poll workers, dentists, city employees, and small business owners of Lynchburg are outfitted with face shields and face masks provided by Vector Space and our partners. PPE has also been sent outside of our community to healthcare workers in Richmond, Seattle, and on Friday a batch of 100 shields will be delivered to UVA Medical Center.

    This week we also put our extra transparencies to work on a new prototype for a face mask with clear panel in the center. Called a communicator mask, this design is to allow lip reading for individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing. If the prototype is effective, we will produce more of these for individuals and community service organizations that serve hearing impaired populations.

    April 22 Update

    This week we will deliver the last of five intubation boxes to Lynchburg General Hospital. After the first prototype, we redesigned the box to be lighter and easier to transport by adding plastic hinges to create a folding box. See it in action on our Facebook page

    While our local hospital received a large order of face shields from manufacturers, many smaller offices in the area are not able to get their orders for PPE fulfilled. We have continued to step in, providing face shields to dental offices, radiologists, first responders, nurses in residential facilities, and more. So far with our partners we have distributed more than 450 face shields in the Lynchburg area! At Vector Space we have moved from a 3D printed visor to a CNC routed design, which cuts prodcution time from 2 hours down to 5 minutes per visor. There is also less assembly required with this version, while maintaining the necessary protective elements.

    3D printing has proven itself useful for other needs, including mask extenders (to aleviate pressure on the ears for those wearing face masks for extended hours at a time), and bias tape jigs to make the process of sewing fabrics masks more efficient.

    April 9 Update

    Our latest efforts in protecting health care providers during this time are intubation boxes. They protect medical teams during intubation, a procedure that has a high risk of transmitting the virus, but is crucial for Covid-19 patients. Our neighbors at Mama Crockett's Cider Donuts have offered to help fund these boxes with their BOX IT UP campaign. Commercial Glass and Plastics is our excellent materials provider, and the first box (pictured) is already in use at Lynchburg General.

    Vector Space is a drop-off location for 3D printed visors made at home or at your business. Please put clean prints (in a plastic bag or tote) on the loading dock in our Court St parking lot, near (or in) the mailbox. If you need filament, elastic, foam, or clear plastic sheets to assemble your own shields, we can provid them to you.

    Lynchburg Machining is now cranking out mask extenders by the thousands on their waterjet. We have these available and can distribute them with masks and shields.

    April 6 Update

    On March 30 we received a call from a family that works at Lynchburg General, looking for 3D printed face shields for nurses in the non-COVID ICU. We had been watching our Nation of Makers partners come together around the country with initiatives like GetUsPPE.org and the NIH 3D Print Exchange, so we were ready to proceed with approved designs right away. We delivered a batch of 28 face shields and began conversations with local anesthesiologists about prototyping ventilator parts and intubation boxes. Both of these efforts are in the design phase.

    As our community prepares for what is likely to be an increase in COVID-19 cases, medical professionals have requested face shields, fabric masks, and mask extenders. Many partners have stepped up to contribute to the cause as well. 

    We are so grateful for those that have stepped up to offer help with this project. Individuals and organizations have volunteered time and money, fired up their 3D printers and sewing machines, and sourced all kinds of materials to contribute to the cause of getting PPE and other needs to our medical community. Below are some shout outs and ways you can help:

    Framatome Inc., NovaTech, James River Day SchoolLynchburg City Schools, and many individuals are running their 3D printers to create visors and other needs
    Lynchburg City Schools Education FoundationRandolph CollegeCommercial Glass and Plastics, and lots of individuals have sourced and donated needed materials, including transparency sheets, elastic, and 3D printer filament
    Mama Crockett's Cider Donuts is cooking up a scheme to further assist our medical professionals in a big way
    - Many, including Bank of the James, have donated funds to keep this effort going

    THANK YOU!! If you want to help by 3D printing, the design files are in the comments and you can drop printed parts (please label them with the filament type used) at Vector Space, on the loading dock in our Court St parking lot. This goes for sewn masks, too, which we will get to the Junior League of Lynchburg for distribution. Materials can also be dropped here and will be distributed to our partners as needed. Financial donations will go towards materials and keeping our operations running, though many folks are donating their time and efforts voluntarily.

    If your medical office needs PPE or other supplies, let us know. There is a collaborative spreadsheet outlining needs and resources that can be viewed here.

    Making during Coronavirus

    Hello maker community! Our nation is a few weeks into COVID-19 diagnoses, and already reeling from the impact. In addition to your physical health, we encourage you to stay mentally and emotionally healthy. For many of us, that means making! Below are some resources, ideas, inspirations, and ways you can make a difference during this time.

    #LYHMakerWeek

    Beginning Sunday, March 22 and running through March 28, LYH Maker Week will highlight Lynchburg's creative community with an annual social media celebration. Four prompts throughout the week encourage you to share your creative passion. Follow along to see what your peers are making, and join in, too!

    #AntisocialArtShow

    Our friends at Airigami are taking making online, with a virtual art show. Snap a pic of your project and post to instagram with the hashtag #antisocialartshow to join the fun. Again, check out what other makers around the world are creating, and add your own project! You can always tag @vectorspacehq and #lynchburgmakes for local sharing as well.

    COVID-19 Maker Responses

    It's no secret that makers are resourceful. This list, currated by the leadership at Nation of Makers, is a way to use your skills for good during this time of uncertainty. From 3D printed face shields to the N95 mask challenge, there are several ways to get involved in COVID-19 response via making.

    Straight Talk with Starters

    The entrepreneurial hustle can be isolating on a good day. We know you have concerns about your business, and Co.Starters is here to help talk it out. These online meetings are a time for entrepreneurs to come support each other and brainstorm ideas for moving forward. The Makers + Service Providers chat will happen virtually on Wednesday, 3/25/20 @ 2pm EDT. Click here to register.

    Projects for Self-Sufficiency

    Make: has your next coronovirus project idea ready for you. From kitchen hacks to garden starters and more, these tutorials will keep you entertained and taken care of.

    Reach Out

    We're here for you! Start a thread on our Facebook page, in the LYH Makers Forum, or send us a DM. If you need help during this time, get in touch. You can email info at vector-space.org to reach either of the Spontarellis, who are happy to connect you with even further community resources.

    Makerversity - Postponed

    Makerversity: Postponed until Summer 2021

    Due to COVID-19 travel restictions and safety concerns, our Makerversity program has been postponed until Summer 2021. Curriculum and instructors are subject to change, but what will remain is our commitment to exciting, engaging, hands-on experiences for rising college students.

    After four years of hosting some of the nation's most immersive and exciting maker camps for Central Virginia students, Vector Space is now opening enrollment to a national audience. We are excited to partner with Cognizant and Randolph College to offer one of the nation's top boarding camps for makers. Our programming combines in-depth examination of materials, and the use of exciting new technologies and some of human kind's oldest fabrication techniques. Each camp is taught by leading maker educators recruited from around the country. Each of our three one-week camps has just ten student spots available, ensuring an amazing personalized learning experience for each camper. Read more below to learn how rising college freshmen can spend the best summer of their lives learning and making at Vector Space.  

    Makerversity Boarding Camp Schedule

    Week 1 - TBD, July 2021
    Wake Up: Learn to tell time by making an electronic alarm clock

    Week 2 - TBD, July 2021
    Get Dressed: Make your dorm loungewear from scratch

    Week 3 - TBD, July 2021
    Take Notes: Make a pen and a journal, starting from the beginning

    About These Camps

    The task of the college student can feel overwhelming. Sent hundreds of miles from home into an environment unlike any they have experienced before, expected to live independently while simultaneously tasked with learning the depths of thermodynamics and calculus. Navigating dorm furniture, food plans, a laptop with decent wifi connection, and parking passes. But at its core, the task is simple: the student must wake up, get dressed, and take notes. Our student to teacher ratio is capped at 5:1, which means these camps of ten students each will be lead by two maker educators who will be assisted by community volunteers and knowledgeable guest speakers. A local cultural guide, versed in art, history, and the culture of Central Virginia, will accompany students to evening activities. To read more about our educational philosophy at Vector Space and how we are changing the future of youth in our programs, click here. 

    About Vector Space

    Vector Space is a nonprofit makerspace: a physical place for people interested in science, technology, engineering, art, and math to collaborate, invent, discover, and build the things that interest them. Our mission is to build an open and collaborative community that fosters innovation, creativity, and the pursuit of science-based knowledge.

    The makerspace is member-based for adults, and offers workshops for teens and adults. During and after school maker education programs are offered throughout the school year and during summer months. Our classes, workshops and projects inspire members to share knowledge, learn from each other, and mentor others. Each lesson is hands-on and taught by local makers and professionals: professors, engineers, graphic designers, woodworkers, computer scientists and more. Vector Space a is nonprofit organization managed by a Board of Directors and organized exclusively for educational and scientific purposes as defined by section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. 

    Lynchburg, Virginia

    Lynchburg, Virginia is a small city of 80,000 residents, nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and bordered by the beautiful James River. Like many former trade and manufacturing cities across America, ours is undergoing tremendous growth and revitalization after a devastating mid-century move towards suburbs and strip malls. In the last twenty years, Lynchburg residents are slowing beginning to look back up at the historic facades that have been mostly preserved, and are remembering a history of thriving maker businesses in downtown.

    Vector Space is located in Lynchburg’s historic and vibrant downtown district. Locally owned storefronts, coffee shops, eateries, and more offer unique and memorable opportunities year round. Multiple new restaurants and retail spaces are opening each year, while natural beauty remains accessible within city limits on the river, the rails-to-trails bike path, and along miles of beautiful hiking trails. Our home on 5th Street, formerly the thriving center for African American businesses, was once an abandoned retail area with high crime rates but has come back to life with the opening of the makerspace, restaurants, and small storefronts that have either survived the worst or returned to find a corridor almost reminiscent of its bustling past. Lynchburg is the home of five colleges and universities and the median age of residents is 28.7, providing a young audience invested in craft food, local culture, and meaningful objects and experiences. 

    Our Sponsor

    This program is generously funded by Cognizant's Making the Future program, which seeks to inspire young learners to pursue science, technology, engineering and math disciplines by creating fun, hands-on learning opportunities.

    Biomimicry

    Join the Vector Space team and compete in this year’s nationwide Youth Biomimicry Challenge, where we'll take inspiration from nature to solve man-made problems. Learn about different systems and processes in nature and use them to design solutions that mitigate climate change. This project will combine engineering, prototyping, documentation, and record taking, before submitting our project to the official competition.

    More information and registration is available at: https://vector-space.org/biomimicry

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