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Missouri pair use 3D printer to make face shields amid virus

A Missouri student and teacher are using 3D printing to supply health care facilities in the area with face shields amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A.T. Still University recruited senior Caleb Flaim and Rich Chapman, an engineering instructor at the Kirksville Area Technical Center, to help keep equipment stocked at Northeast Regional Medical Center and Kirksville Family Medicine.

“I’m happy that the odd skills I’ve picked up over the years using 3D printers is actually able to help people,” Flaim said.

The project started after university officials saw stories across the world about supply shortages due to the pandemic, Kirksville Daily Express reported. Flaim and Chapman are printing face shields that are made to be worn over the N95 masks that health care workers usually wear.

“We know that one case has been identified in Adair County, so we want to be prepared for the potential increase in the number of cases,” said Dr. Margaret Wilson, dean of ATSU’s Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. “This is one extra layer of protection we can add for our health care personnel, providing them the protection they need to do their jobs.”

Debra Loguda-Summers is the public services manager and 3D print shop manager at the ATSU library. She sent Flaim and Chapman an online design file and within minutes, Flaim had started printing support pieces, which secure the mask to the face. The printers printed one piece in about three hours.

To complete the model, Chapman laser cut some plastic to make the piece that covers the face. Now, Flaim and Chapman will make 100 more.

“I think it’s cool,” Chapman said. “For me, being a teacher without a classroom, I still have my kids through distance learning, kind of helping give me a little bit of a sense of purpose.”

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