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Somerset Community College makes PPE with 3D printers

"Typical restrictions are coming down in the face of people not having what they need and in honest truth, something is better than nothing," Wooldridge says.
"Typical restrictions are coming down in the face of people not having what they need and in honest truth, something is better than nothing," Wooldridge says.(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 27, 2020 at 8:44 PM EDT
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The coronavirus pandemic is generating anxiety. One thing many people are worried about? A lack of personal protective equipment.

One local college is doing what it can to make more supplies by using 3D printing machines.

"What you see is actually a bank of printers, that's actually producing the face shields as we speak," says Somerset Community College professor Eric Wooldridge. "We attach on an elastic strap, and then add on a plastic sheeting for the actual visor itself."

The college received around $160,000 dollars in grants from USDA Rural Development to create the school's printing program. USDA Rural Development is an organization that helps fund rural communities. After the help they received, the Somerset community is paying it forward.

"You know our healthcare workers are really the warriors that are out there on the front line right now in the COVID-19 crisis," says USDA Rural Development state director Hilda Legg.

Wooldridge says he gives out the masks based on requests. He's already had hospitals, EMS groups, and fire departments reach out.

He's doing the best he can to create a good product in an unconventional way.

"Typical restrictions are coming down in the face of people not having what they need and in honest truth, something is better than nothing," Wooldridge says.

While Wooldridge says students are taking online classes, he's still including them in all the fun.

"They're still working on their homework assignments and rest assured there will be some topics and some writing assignments based on this particular scenario," Wooldridge says.

Wooldridge says he's keeping social distancing in mind while creating the masks. There are three rooms with machines and only one person is in a room at a time.

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