NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. – Staff members at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES have been using a 3D printer to print and assemble face shields to hand out to health care workers treating coronavirus patients.
Following social distancing guidelines, cyber security teacher Colin Douglass, science teacher Brian Frantz and P-TECH STEM integration specialist Tiffany Piatkowski have all taken turns visiting the OHM lab to help make the shields.
“It's rewarding to be able to help our local essential medical personnel,” said Piatkowski. “Just knowing that we’re able to provide something that will help protect them while they’re on the front lines fighting this battle for all of us. We’re proud that even though our campus is closed we are still able to put the FAB Lab to good use helping our local community.”
Two pieces have to be printed to make one face shield. The first piece is a large visor that connects the clear shield and strap, and the other is a small elastic holder that is used to adjust the strap. The teachers are currently able to print three sets of two pieces in just over three and a half hours.
Douglass, Frantz and Piatkowski started out with an initial production run of 12 masks and estimate they can make around 60 masks with the supplies they have.
Trenton Technology Inc. has volunteered to help with the 3D printing process to ramp up production and get the PPE to local hospitals as soon as possible.
Because of current state and federal guidelines, students have not been able to help produce the face shields, however, Piatkowski says this can still be a learning experience for them.
“It's important for us to lead by example for our students,” Piatkowski noted. “Utilizing the FAB Lab to produce these face shields and providing our local medical professionals with access to PPE are great lessons on giving back to our community for the young adults that we teach.”
During the school year, the 3D printer is typically used by students to create prototypes for class projects.