Kent State Tuscarawas Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students Join Fight in PPE Shortage
With the severe and growing shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic occurring around the world and in our own backyard, administrators, faculty, staff and students at Kent State University at Tuscarawas are doing what they can to help alleviate the need.
Healthcare personnel rely on PPEs to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others. But shortages are leaving hospitals, health care agencies, doctors, nurses, and all those on the frontlines scrambling for protection.
Dr. Brad Bielski, dean and chief administrative officer of Kent State Tuscarawas, reached out to engineering technology director, Paul Dykshoorn, after learning about a 3D printed visor for face shields designed by Isaac Budmen of Budmen Industries to see if campus printers were capable of making the visors.
“Between the engineering department and our Makerspace, we have several 3D printers on hand,” said Bielski. “We are hoping to use these to create face shields that will help fill the PPE need in our community.”
Dykshoorn got the ball rolling by contacting Richard Thomas, a senior engineering technician at the campus.
“I asked Rick if he could get one of our 3D printers and take it home to set a remote printing station to try it out,” said Dykshoorn. “He got the Prusa printer and in the meantime discovered that the Prusa company also had a face shield design.I asked him to print out prototypes of both the Prusa and the Budmen designs and determine which was better.”
After printing and evaluating the visors, Thomas turned to his wife, Sarah, who is a nurse, for advice.
“We both agreed that the Budman was the best choice since it was a simpler design, used less plastic and was quicker to print, and the fact that the plastic shield would bump off of the Prusa design,” said Thomas. “After reviewing feedback and making some minor adjustments, I submitted all my findings and now we are ready to print as many as we can to help those that need them.”
The 3D face shield design can be downloaded from Budmen Industries at no cost. The download includes 3D models, templates and assembly instructions. The shield consists of a 3D printed visor with a foam cushion for the forehead, an elastic strip on the back to hold it in place and a Plexiglas barrier in front.
Instead of Plexiglas barriers, Dykshoorn suggests using plastic transparencies used for overhead projectors, since they are more readily available.
Thomas found that he could print about eight face shields a day on one printer and estimated he could get as many as 20 out of a 1 Kg spool of filament. He is currently using three 3D printers to make shields at home.
“We are still evaluating those numbers,” said Dykshoorn. “We have developed a parts list which includes a bag to put the parts in, and a procedure for assembly.Assembly will require the assembler to wear a mask and gloves and to record the time and date the items were sealed in the plastic bags, since some facilities require a three day wait before such items are used to guard against the spread of the virus.”
Thomas made a video describing how to make a face shield that is helpful for those looking to create the PPE. He encourages all students, faculty and staff with 3D printers at home to try and make the shields to help our community health care providers.
“Just be sure to follow the guidelines for assembly and sterilization to keep yourself and the medical personnel who will be using them safe and healthy,” said Thomas.
To learn more about making 3D printed face shields at home, contact Dykshoorn by email to email@example.com.
Students Take Action
Once the design details for creating face shields using 3D printers were worked out by Thomas, Kent State Tuscarawas Librarian Cherie Bronkar put several Makerspace 3D printers into service and recruited the help of Maria Feik, Makerspace equipment laboratory technician, and student workers.
Feik, along with student workers Annie Tran and Joe Puckett, are joining in the PPE shortage fight. They all have Makerspace 3D printers at home and are making face shields, following Thomas’ guidelines.
Tran is a transfer student, originally from Vietnam and residing in Zanesville, who has been in the states for five years. She is a junior, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology with a 2+2 integrated engineering technology concentration.
Puckett is a senior studying technical and applied studies.
In addition to face shields, student workers Rachel Brannick and Levi Rader are sewing face masks at home.
Studying early childhood education, Brannick is in her final semester. Rader is a junior studying psychology.
To learn more about sewing face masks at home that will be donated to local health care agencies, contact Cherie Bronkar through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Kent State Tuscarawas coronavirus updates, visit kent.edu/tusc/coronavirus-updates-tuscarawas.