UT 3D printing face shield parts for healthcare workers

Tom Duong, staff supervisor in the Tickle College of Engineering’s Innovation and Collaboration Studio, has 20 machines running to print headbands for face masks. / Source: UT

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The University of Tennessee has stepped up to help during the coronavirus outbreak by using its resources

According to a release from the university, faculty and staff are making face-shield headbands and other protective gear for medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19.

UT has made about 1,200 face-shield parts in three days, the university said. The parts were set to be sent to another facility for preparation to be used by medical professionals.

To make the parts, UT has been using 14 3D printers.

“We have until noon March 24 to produce as many as possible,” said Craig Gillam, digital fabrication supervisor in the Fab Lab.

Uday Vaidya, UT–Oak Ridge National Laboratory Governor’s Chair for Advanced Composites Manufacturing and a professor in the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering, is coordinating the work.

Vaidya said, “The entire UT community and its partners have come together in unprecedented ways. The turnaround for these parts has been amazing and will support front-line doctors and medical personnel.”

"A team of more than a dozen graduate and undergraduate students led by Alex Stiles, a doctoral student in mechanical engineering, has been working day and night to contribute to the production of the headbands. Faculty and staff—including Doug Aaron, Chad Duty, Brett Compton, Caleb Rucker, and Matthew Young of the Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering; Chris Wetteland of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Mark Dadmun from the College of Arts and Science’s Department of Chemistry; and Vanina Ghossein of the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility—are working around the clock and have made key contributions to this critical effort."

Matthew Mench, interim vice chancellor for research, said, “The printing has been nonstop since Saturday. People have taken printers home so they can safely continue to print through the night to help."

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