Not being in school for more than a month has not kept a Sussex Consortium student from using the technology he learned in a class at Cape Henlopen High School.
For the past two weeks, sophomore Vincent Forsyth has been making 3D-printer protective face shields for healthcare workers.
He and foundations of technology teacher Bill Geppert, who also teaches Forsyth, have joined forces to make 100 shields for Beebe Healthcare, with many more on the way. “We'll keep making as many as we can,” Geppert said.
Forsyth came up with the idea after looking on the internet for a way he could help during the COVID-19 crisis. He found plans online for making face shields and immediately started fabricating them on his home 3D printer, making 25 in a few days.
One of his other teachers, Cathy Rittereiser, found out what he was doing and contacted Geppert to see if additional 3D printers at the high school could bea used to increase production. Geppert rounded up six printers and worked with Forsyth to set up an assembly line using the printers to fabricate the hard plastic shield holders. Forsyth then applies laminate sheets to attach to the plastic holders. The shields can be cleaned and reused.
In one run of less than three hours, they can make 25 face shields. Forsyth said now that they have the process down to a science, they can make 50 to 75 masks a day.
They have more orders for Rehoboth Beach Volunteer Fire Company and The Dental Group. Geppert said any other companies or first responders needing face masks can contact him at Bill.Geppert@cape.k12.de.us.
Geppert said Beebe staff were so pleased with the shields, they asked the duo to start fabricating N95 protective masks as well.
Forsyth is not alone in his desire to provide 3D face shields to healthcare workers. The U.S. military, large and small corporations, and university students across the globe are making shields. In a Print for Victory initiative, Masks for Docs Foundation has enlisted 4,000 volunteers to fabricate shields.
Out of school
Geppert said he looks forward to getting back to the classroom. He said his robotics class is set to use 3D printers to fabricate a solar car that can be driven on the road.
Geppert said he has been teaching two hours in the morning using Zoom, but it's challenging because not every student has access to it.