Library Makerspace: 3D Printing Masks For UAB

Library Makerspace: 3D Printing Masks For UAB

An example of a fully assembled mask

When it became apparent that 3D printing could help with COVID-19 relief, we looked for a way our library makerspace could contribute. Searching for other local makers to coordinate with, we found “Bham Support,” an organized initiative actively coordinating efforts to 3D print much-needed P.P.E. (Personal Protective Equipment) for doctors and medical personnel right here in the Birmingham Metro Area. Using a combination of 3D Printing and Laser Cutting, local makers were producing parts to be assembled into finished face shields and distributed to local hospitals.

After reaching out to project leads and filling out a brief volunteer application provided on the website, we began our involvement with this great group. The 3D printed elements of the mask consist of 3 pieces:

1.) The primary headband harness for the face shield.

2.) A crescent shaped brim that covers the area above the wearer’s face. This was an adaptation made after consulting UAB physicians.

3.) and a lower plastic brace for the base of the plexiglass face guard.

We also 3D printed some of these adapters for surgical masks:

Due to prolonged use, the elastic on standard surgical masks can become uncomfortable and irritate the skin of the wearer. Adapters like these can help the masks be worn more sustainably for longer periods.

Printers in action:

Our Makerbot Z-18 printing a headband piece

The Replicator 2 busy printing the lower braces for the faceshield

On Friday, April 17, we dropped off a batch of printed pieces for these P.P.E. masks at the designated drop-off point, The Innovation Depot at 1500 1st Ave N. From there they will make their way to volunteer groups who will assemble and sanitize the final product for donation to UAB health care workers. As of this writing, BHAM Support has been able to provide over 750 faceshields to local hospitals! To see how you can get involved (there are ways to help even if you don’t have a 3D printer), head to bhamsupport.com!

By Derek Anderson, Makerspace/ Teen Services