Makers around Utah are uniting to produce critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), filling the gap that COVID-19 has created. The Utah STEM Action Center is working with a number of school districts, industry partners, and local makers to produce 3D printed face shield headpieces. “This is an unprecedented time in our community, with needs that we never anticipated” says Tami Goetz, Director of the Utah STEM Action Center. “We knew that we had partners that would want to help with this effort. We are so grateful to all of them for their willingness to not only bring their time and resources to create face shields, but to do it quickly and without hesitation”.
One of the major partners in this project is Utah COVID-19 PPE Makers, a grassroots organization that has supplied local hospitals and first responders with Prusa face shields. Jonathan House, founder of Utah COVID-19 PPE Makers has been pulling together groups and individuals around the state to contribute to this effort.
Micron Technologies, a key industry partner on this project, has been producing and donating more than 1,000 masks each week. In addition to their production contribution, Micron Technologies had made a generous $20,000 donation to the Utah STEM Foundation to support ongoing printing of personal protection equipment. Micron Technologies’ commitment to this initiative helps to ensure Utah meets its goal of producing 10,000 face shields for medical professionals.
The Utah STEM Action Center is also working in partnership with teachers in Salt Lake, Canyon, Nebo, and Davis school districts to get PPE produced and funneled through UServe donation sites, as well as with Pinnacle Schools in Price to produce face shields, while Alpine school district is producing shields and donating them to their local municipalities.
Additionally, the STEM Action Center is having conversations with BYU and USU, where teams of teachers and students are printing and testing 3D printed PPE of all kinds. John Sohl, professor at Weber State University, has conducted numerous tests on the shield headpieces as well as optics tests on the transparent shield material.
“With the hardship that’s accompanied COVID-19, it’s been truly magical to see so many partners activate and work together to help fill a need and make a difference in our community”, says Becca Robison of the Utah STEM Action Center. “Hearing stories about medical professionals on the front lines working long shifts and sometimes sacrificing the opportunity to be at home with their loved ones has definitely been a motivation, and the fact that all sectors of the STEM community — education, industry, and community makers — are doing their part to put STEM into action and help those on the front lines speaks volumes about the compassionate and giving nature of our state.”
If you would like to get involved or donate to the cause, please visit stem.utah.gov/covid-19-response-3d-printing/ to find out more information.