Western Michigan University maybe virtually shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic, but WMU's 3D printers are not sitting idle. Instead, the staff and professors from multiple departments are teaming up to use their time to to produce personal protective equipment, like face shields and masks, for health care workers who desperately need them during the COVID-19 patient surge.

(Western Michigan University via YouTube)

According to a release,

The Information Technology labs and the Help Desk at WMU are making face shields to donate to local hospitals. Staff members are using a 3D model created by 3DVerkstan, a 3D printing collective based in Sweden. The model is currently under review by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To produce the shields, they are using plastic filament and transparency sheets similar to those used for overhead projectors. WMU's information technology unit has enough material to create 1,500 shields, with more material on the way. Each shield takes about 45 minutes to produce.: - WMU

“With eight printers running simultaneously all day, we expect to make upward of at least 70 shields per day,”  says Assistant Director Dylan Ledbetter.

WMU says shield material was donated from Kalamazoo-based Fabri-Kal, and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences is assisting with cutting the shields to size.

“We made our first shields yesterday and presented them to (WMU’s) Sindecuse Health Center folks, who loved them,” says Thomas Wolf, WMU's chief information officer.

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