Maryville College using 3D printing technology to make face shields for local hospitals

Source: (Maryville College)
Source: (Maryville College)(WVLT)
Published: Apr. 2, 2020 at 9:50 PM EDT
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A 3D printer at Maryville College that would normally be used to print student's projects is now being used to make face shields for Blount Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Chase Worley and Dr. Jesse Smith, two mathematics professors at the college, are leading the project.

With colleges moving to online platforms, the two decided the printers shouldn't just sit idle at the campus. They decided to put them to use to help those on the frontlines.

“I thought there may be something to this,” said Worley, visiting lecturer in mathematics. “Joel was using a model from Erik Cederberg from Sweden. That same night, I saw a story about faculty and staff at the University of Tennessee printing headbands. It looked like they were using a model that originated from another big name in 3D printing, Josef Prusa from Prague. That is when I decided to begin reaching out to people to see what their needs could be.”

Worley wanted to keep the efforts local so they decided to reach out to the Blount Memorial Hospital.

"The shield itself can be made out of any acetate material", Worley said, noting that some hospitals are using transparencies.

He and Smith are using thermal pouches, since they are slightly thicker, and they are using a three-hole punch to make six holes in the shield and attach them to the headband, according to a press release from the college.

The professors said it takes around 30-45 minutes to make. As of March 30 they had made 35 shields.

Don Heinemann.

“We are extremely appreciative of these face shields, and of the ingenuity of Dr. Worley and Dr. Smith in coming up with the idea of making them for us,” Heinemann said. “Our partnership with Maryville College dates back to the very beginning of Blount Memorial Hospital, and while we’ve come to expect our community to pull together in times of need, we certainly never take it for granted. These pieces of equipment are needed now more than ever, and they’ll be put into use immediately.”

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