Stockbridge High School 3D printers are contributing to the COVID-19 healthcare effort

A sample of the headbands produced using 3D printers at Stockbridge High School. Photo credit: Bob Richards.

by Amy Haggerty

Bob Richards, a high school teacher for Stockbridge Community Schools has been very busy during this COVID-19 medical crisis for our state.

Richards, with the help of 16 PRUSA R3 3D printers at the high school, has produced 550 plastic headbands used for making face shields worn by medical staff as part of their personal protective equipment (PPE). The shields protect the faces of medical staff from coming in contact with body fluids from infected patients, for example, when a patient sneezes or coughs. The headbands are an integral part of the shields. Operation Face Shield Ann Arbor is handling the assembly and distribution of the completed face shields.

The completed face shields are being sent to hospitals and health-care providers all around Michigan. Currently, it takes two hours to produce one headband for a face shield. The headband design has been modified by Operation Face Shield Ann Arbor with guidance from experts at U-M’s hospital system along with other biosafety practitioners.

Unfortunately, the supply chain for 3D printing is facing shortages. Richards will continue making the face-shield headbands as long as he has all the materials and spare parts.

“Our printers take a specific kind of filament that is no longer available from the company due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Richards. “I have a stock of partial leftover rolls from class that would spoil if left to sit, so I’m putting them to good use.”

The 3D-printed headbands are an integral part of the face shields healthcare workers count on to help keep them safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo credit: Bob Richards.

Stockbridge High School principal, Jeff Trapp, had this to say about Richards’ efforts, “This goes to show we have dedicated teachers who care about our world. Bob Richards’ work is a great example of using our resources for relevant opportunities.”

People who are interested in donating to this effort can send a check to the Stockbridge InvenTeam, 416 N. Clinton Street, Stockbridge, Michigan 49285.

Once this medical crisis is over, the next project for the Stockbridge InvenTeam is testing the lionfish trap designs with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).  Hopefully the team will be able to complete this project next May, pending board approval.

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