To combat the potential shortage of personal protective equipment of our local medical providers, Ashland Community and Technical College is not only donating some much-needed supplies from its health care programs, but also making some of those supplies in its 3D printing lab.
ACTC’s Computer Aided Drafting and Design 3D printing lab has been running about 20 3D printers at the Technology Drive Campus since Monday to make protective face shields for health care workers at King’s Daughters.
Chris Boggs, ACTC’s project coordinator for new and expanding business and industry, and Tyler Stevens, coordinator for the CADD program, were contacted by King’s Daughters supply chain director Katie Arnett about the need and got to work printing.
“We got a call from King’s Daughters over the weekend asking if we were capable,” Boggs said. “Tyler and I did some Q&A back and forth and got a plan together. We can do this as long as it takes.”
The 3D printers use a PLA filament to print what looks like visors with notches to secure a plastic face shield. The face shields are made with overhead projector transparency sheets that Boggs laser cuts to shape. The visors take about two hours to print, Boggs said. Once printed, a foam strip is affixed to the visor, as well as elastic to hold them in place on a person’s head.
A 3D printing company called Budmen Industries came up with the basic design and has made it available on its website, Budmen.com, along with guidance for volunteers who want to make the products for their local medical community.
“ACTC is thankful that we have the equipment and faculty expertise to help produce this needed equipment,” Dr. Ferguson, ACTC’s president and CEO, said. “We are doing all we can to help our community through this crisis.”
Boggs and Stevens have also started a design for non-disposable plastic respirator masks with a slot for a disposable filter. The filters are cut from heating and air unit filters and one sheet can supply material for 10-12 masks, Boggs said.
In addition to the shields and masks, ACTC’s Workforce Solutions nurse aide class and ACTC’s Licensed Practical Nursing, Associate Degree Nursing and Surgical Technology programs have donated hundreds of other items, including: isolation gowns, PPE kits, assorted masks, shoe coverings, safety glasses, rubber gloves, caps, alcohol pads, sterile and non-sterile gowns and togas, face masks with shields, 3/4 face shields and goggles to King’s Daughters.