Maker Hub helps create PPE for hospital workers

College of Engeering dean Dr. Robert Harder and a few other faculty members had the idea to begin prototyping some face shields for our local health workers. During the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring of 2020 we were all hearing that health care workers' personal protective equipment (PPE) was running dangerously low.

After researching videos and articles about other makers printing face shields for hospital workers, they posed the idea to other engineering and nursing faculty, along with our technicians. After some brainstorming, technicians and students were tasked with starting production of 3D printed face shields in the Maker Hub. Staff member Katherine Morland began sewing face masks with a pocket for a filter for our local retirement community.

One main purpose of the face shields during the pandemic is to prolong the usage of the respirators/surgical masks worn by hospital workers. Students Devin Howard, Ben Kraske, Zach Lyda, and Kevin Morrison all helped technicians Justin Johnson and Nick Sullivan to iron out the face shield prototypes. Faculty member Steve Grant (Exercise Science) volunteered to assist with the manufacturing process.

They adapted the simple design they found online from some makers in Sweden, 3D Verkstan. It's a 3D printed frame with a 3-hole-punched projector transparency sheet that snaps into place to form the shield.

With many schools not using overhead projectors anymore, it is possible that other makers could contact their local school offices who may be willing to donate their transparencies to others who would like to do the same with their 3D printers. Alumni and local health agencies received hundreds of face shields produced in the spring and summer of 2020. Health workers and agencies can still request face shields from this form.

Learn more and support this effort.