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Lauinger Library Maker Hub Staffers and Volunteers 3D Print PPE for Healthcare Workers
The library may be closed, but that has not stopped our makers from using its resources in this difficult time. The Lauinger Library Maker Hub staffers and volunteers have been making use of the 3D printers to help provide essential personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare workers in the area. Makers have taken 7 of the 3D printers home so that they can print face shield frames, which help essential workers protect themselves from the virus. The team’s experience with the printers, sense of community, and desire to help during this unpredictable time made the printing process possible.
Pascal Girard (left) and Cameron McKay (right) celebrating another successful batch of prints
The Lauinger Library Maker Hub has partnered with We The Builders, a group that is organizing the assembly and delivery of face shields to hospitals in Baltimore, MD. The organization provides clear instructions on how to print, assemble the package in a sterile way, and then send to Open Works, a Makerspace in Baltimore, for assembly and delivery to local healthcare workers.The partnership has made it easy for students to focus on one thing: 3D printing. Georgetown student and Maker Hub staffer Luce Zhu remarked on the convenience of 3D printing face shield frames, stating, “I have an Ultimaker. I set it up in my living room, and it’s on a little table...once you convert it to the machine, and you basically hit go. Then, you know, you check up on it.” Luce Zhu (Georgetown College, 2020).
3D printed face shield frames ready to be shipped to Open Works
The process may seem simple, but our community’s close ties with each other and extensive experience printing has made their efforts a success. Our printers have frequently worked with the machines in the Maker Hub, and were eager to make use of their skills during lockdown. The team has also conducted weekly meetings to troubleshoot issues and discuss other projects. Additionally, the Maker Hub has set up a dedicated Slack channel, #covid-projects, where printers can get feedback from their peers on the printing process. Don Undeen, Manager of the Maker Hub commented on the process, stating, “In spite of the stress of quarantine, I think it’s amazing how this group has continued to pour their attention and energy into this project. I’m proud that our maker community can make a difference.” (Don Undeen, Manager, Maker Hub) Teamwork and coordination are key to making these prints and getting them to the right place.
Video of an Ultimaker printing a face shield frame
Makers have been using both Ultimakers and Maker Bots to produce the prints, and are utilizing the Maker Hub’s supply of PLA filament. The Ultimakers in particular have been essential tools for creating swift, seamless prints that require minimal maintenance. Each face shield requires two prints, and each print takes about two hours. Georgetown alum Willem Miller has found 3D printing to be a way to help during this crisis while remaining at home, “So it's a nice thing where [I] can be stuck in the house...because then I'm there every four hours to grab the print,” (Georgetown College, 2019).
Once makers seal the gear in a ziplock bag for transportation, the PPE is picked up and sent to Open Works via FedEx. Head of Gelardin New Media Center and the Maker Hub, Beth Marhanka, delivered equipment and materials to our makers, and Maker Neighbor Pascal Girard have been picking up the materials and shipping them to Baltimore, but the Maker Hub needs more volunteers to assist with the transportation of materials. If you are interested in volunteering as a courier, please reach out to the Maker Hub.
While the Lauinger Library Maker Hub is currently partnering with We the Builders, we are always looking for other partnerships in the DC area.
If you are interested in partnering with the Lauinger Library Maker Hub to help our health care workers, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join our Slack. To donate funds or materials, please visit our donations page.