How FUSE Makerspace Helped This Already Successful Engineer Upskill to a Second Career

John Block says FUSE Makerspace taught him new skills and helped him launch a thriving small business
February 14, 2023

John Block was getting ready to retire from his career as a racecar engineer in 2017 when he saw a newspaper ad for CNM Ingenuity’s FUSE Makerspace. He quickly signed up for a membership and started learning new skills like plasma cutting and TIG welding. 

Those new skills opened up new design and engineering projects for John and he eventually decided to start his own business, Pop’s Prototype Shop, where he builds everything from custom race car parts to cirrus ice ball presses, a device that creates a perfect ice sphere typically used in whiskey-based drinks. 

“FUSE was definitely the springboard that launched me to where I am now,” John says. 

His FUSE membership also helped John network with other creators and potential clients, further setting him up for success as a small businessman. 

Nowadays John works exclusively out of his home shop, which includes a plasma table, 

computer numerical control (CNC) machine, band saws, drill presses, welders, and more. With this setup he’s able to make items for automotive performance companies, perform proprietary work for labs and government agencies, and create metal artwork for individual customers. 

Looking back, John says he’s thankful FUSE gave him the opportunity to learn a whole new set of skills, and now realizes what a crucial spot FUSE fills for people across New Mexico.  

“FUSE fills a huge gap in our state,” he says. “It exposes people to possibilities and provides them with the chance to learn manual skills that would otherwise be hard to come by.”

Even though John is technically retired, he’s excited to keep growing Pop’s Prototype Shop and developing his skills.

“As an engineer I’m always looking for another problem to solve,”  he says. “I like to solve the puzzle, whatever it might be.” 

Learn more about the FUSE Makerspace and become a member today by visiting