To help medical personnel safeguard themselves during the coronavirus outbreak, two makerspace labs on campus are manufacturing much-needed protective masks using 3D printers.
On April 1, Wesleyan donated its first set of 100 face shields to medical personnel at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, and others to Wesleyan staff who must work on campus to support the remaining students. The mask, which offers a barrier from the spray of liquids, can be used with or without additional medical masks that cover the nose and mouth.
“Our 3D printers have been running at full speed,” said Francis Starr, professor of physics and IDEAS (Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Sciences) program coordinator.
Shawn Lopez, the IDEAS Lab coordinator, initiated the project at Wesleyan after “weighing the potential benefits (vast) against the potential harm (nonexistent).”
“Designs for hand-sewn masks and 3D-printed visors were making the rounds on makerspace blogs and websites. It was clear that we could jump in and make a difference here at Wesleyan,” Lopez said. “As the coordinator of the lab, I understood that it was within my purview to undertake a project of this nature.”