Printing Protection: Maryville College 3D prints face shields for hospital employees

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 9:27 PM EDT
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Professors at Maryville College are printing out protection for East Tennessee healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Chase Worley and Jesse Smith began using the school's ten 3D printers to make face shields for employees at Blount Memorial Hospital.

"They didn't have face shields. They were using goggles and masks. I brought ten out there and they were ecstatic to see those come through. It's a good feeling to know we're able to help," Dr. Worley said.

The professor of mathematics at Maryville College said they've printed off about 150 face shields. Seventy were given to Blount Memorial and several more were given to the East Tennessee Medical Group.

"That's the beauty of 3D printing. If we don't have the part -- we can design the part and print the part," Dr. Worley said.

They've also cut down the printing time from up to more than an hour to now less than half an hour.

3D printers first popped up in the early 80's. Worley said they cost around $1,000. Now you can get them for $200 online.

"We've got these printers that aren't doing anything. Let's put them to use -- keep our efforts local and do the most good on the largest possible scale," Worley said.

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