Local colleges and universities use 3D printers to help save lives

JACKSON, Tenn. — Across the state, colleges and universities are banding together during the Coronavirus pandemic, using 3D printers to help save lives.

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“What we’re doing is collecting all of the materials and printers we can in one place, and then printing parts that are going to be used for protective face shields that medical professionals in the state will be using,” said Tennessee College of Applied Technology instructor, Robert Pepper.

Over 3 days, TCAT and Jackson State Community College have made close to 350 face shields. They have 15 3D printers that make roughly 10 protective face shields per hour.

Union University is also using their 3D printers to help healthcare workers stay safe.
Unlike other schools, Union is a private university and is using their own resources to donate the shields.

“At a time like this when everyone is at home and they feel like they can’t really do anything to contribute so it was really a welcomed opportunity to find out about something specific we in engineering here at Union could do to help,” said Georg Pingen. Pingen is an associate professor of engineering at Union.

Union is already making around 150 protective face shields a day, but that number may soon rise.

“We actually have 4 new 3D printers we’re still assembling and they arrived in the mail yesterday and that was kind of a coincidence helping us out to hopefully produce more face shields,” said Pingen.

“Right now everyone seems so afraid and worried about what’s going on, and having a task like this not only makes it feel like you’re participating and trying to fight the situation, but it also gives you something to do to take your mind off what’s going on in the rest of the world,” said Pepper.

 

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