Professors, Students Use 3D Printers to Make PPE

personal protective equipment 3D printer

Demand is high for personal protective equipment, or PPE, across the nation.
Medical professionals and first responders are facing a shortage of masks and gloves. And Pike County is no different.

That is why Troy University professors, students, and community members are coming together to help address the PPE shortage during the coronavirus pandemic..

“It’s more of an initiative. And it was sort of born out of the need and the demand for PPE equipment and the severe shortage that only our nation is facing, but the shortage that our community is facing,” Troy University professor and Director of the Design Center Ed Noriega said.

Noriega and others are using 3-D printers to make PPE. It can be a time-consuming process, but it Noriega says every piece of equipment made is useful.

“Within a good day, I might be able to pull maybe 16 prints. That’s fairly slow considering the high demand that we have within our community,” Noriega said.

The box-type printer uses a plastic filament to create the equipment.
Volunteer and 3D printer hobbyist Jeff Herring says aside from face shields and masks, there are some other non-traditional items being made, as well.

“One of the things we had come across were these little straps that people can attach to like a surgical mask that fits behind their head. and with this, it takes off stress and wear on the back of their ears,” Herring said.

Each PPE piece is donated to the medical professionals and local law enforcement at no charge.

“We can simply print a device that has an interchangeable filter or something can be made with household materials that can help them stay safer and provide another personal barrier of protection between them,” Herring said.

Volunteers says they will continue to print PPE until the coronavirus pandemic is no longer a threat.

You help is also needed. If you have a 3-D printer and know how to use one, you can email professor Ed Noriega at enoriega@troy.edu.

Categories: Coronavirus, Troy