As the need for personal protective equipment increases nationwide and statewide, the Utah Assistive Technology Program at USU is coordinating with the College of Engineering to produce face shields for health care workers.
“It feels really good to be doing something to help,” said Isaac Black, an electrical engineering student at USU who has been helping run the 3D printers in the Idea Factory, a lab on campus.
Most of the 3D printers on campus have been running nonstop for the past few days in addition to several 3D printers owned by individuals around the community.
“We had been trying to think of ways to help ever since things started getting crazy,” said Cameron Wasden, an electrical engineering student at USU who has spent a majority of the past few days in the lab with the 3D printers. “This is going to help so many people. It is exciting to be a part of this project.”
Mike Stokes, a volunteer at UATP, recognized the need for PPE a couple weeks ago after talking to his son-in-law who is a dentist and has been concerned about the demand for supplies. As a family they started brainstorming ways to help.
Stokes and his son Jonathan remixed an open-source design for face shields, ensuring that it could fit over glasses or goggles and it could be sanitized, making it reusable and medical grade.
The headband and earpieces are 3D printed, laser cut or made on a CNC router. The shield is made from overhead projector transparency sheets, which, Stokes said, are extremely cheap and can be found in bulk in many classrooms.
“It has been so exciting to see it all come together,” Stokes said.
After posting the new design on Thingiverse, a site for hosting open-source 3D printing models, Stokes reached out to Bear River Health Department and Intermountain Healthcare. As of Wednesday, he has received 550 requests for these face shields.
Stokes is sure that number is going to keep increasing as more people find out about this project.
“It is awesome that USU has created this option because it is one of those things that our caregivers are going to be utilizing heavily right now,” said Sarah Fitzgerald, a public information officer at Logan Regional Hospital. “We are really excited that they came up with this creative solution for us.”
Others in the community are joining in the effort as well.
According to Stokes, public school teachers and USU employees have donated overhead projector transparencies. Juniper Systems of Logan is also pitching in headbands and ear pieces from its 3D printers.
“It is neat to see how people are getting involved and wanting to help,” Stokes said. “And at the end of the day, this is really going to help people from getting sick. That is the goal of this project.”
To donate overhead transparencies for the face shields and finished headbands and earpieces, go to the nearest drop box. Drop boxes are on the west side of the UATP fabrication lab, located on campus in the Janet Quinney Lawson building and at USU campus in Brigham City, west entrance, located at 989 S. Main, Brigham City.