Meeting PPE Demands
When University President Marc Johnson announced alternative operations on March 16, Nick Crowl from the University Libraries’ DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library along with Daniel Smith from the Innevation Center, several faculty members from the Computer Science and Engineering Department and The Department of Art Fabrication Lab worked together to help identify potential solutions to the PPE shortage many hospitals and healthcare workers in our area are experiencing.
“This is what makerspaces and makers do,” Head of DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library, Tara Radniecki said. “Makers are predisposed to create or design a solution with the materials they have on-hand when a problem arises. In this instance, we are leveraging our 3D printers, plastics and book binding materials and have already delivered an initial run of 100 PPE protective face visors in partnership with our University's community of makers.”
Crowl, DeLaMare’s Makerspace and Dataworks manager, has been working over the past week to 3D print the PPE protective face visors. The 3D printed visors being created by this interdisciplinary group of University faculty and staff are modeled after a successful Swedish protective visor. It is composed of a durable plastic headband and a snap on plastic, wraparound face visor. The design is modular. It can be taken apart, sanitized and reused.
“The material we selected for the clear visor came from the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center’s @One printing department,” Crowl said. “We needed a somewhat flexible, but thick and durable plastic to create the visor piece. We decided to repurpose our book binding report cover material to fabricate the visor piece. We ran a test and it worked perfectly for what we needed.”
Crowl delivered the first 100 of these protective face visors to the Nevada Rural Hospital Partners last week.
“Contributing to something meaningful in a time like this feels really good,” Crowl said. “I wanted to be sure that the rural hospitals were being supported. I have a personal connection to this group and know they are struggling and in need of PPE, as are the larger hospitals here in Reno.”
The Department of Art is helping to proactively support possible PPE shortages in Northern Nevada by re-tooling equipment in our Fabrication Lab (FabLab) from art and design production to the fabrication of personal protective equipment (PPE) including 3-D printed face shields, community-crafted mask covers, surgical caps and isolation gowns. The Fablab is uniquely equipped to produce large volumes of stacked 3-D prints and rapidly cut fabric in mass quantities with the large-format Zund CNC Cutter. Our goal is to maximize the potential of our equipment and share our creative expertise in support of new and innovative solutions to combat the spread of COVID-19.
You can help by donating to cover supplies needed to create the PPE shields for our very deserving and hard working local health care workers. Your support will help them stay healthy as we all fight the COVID-19 virus together.
About the University Libraries
The University Libraries embrace intellectual inquiry and innovation, nurture the production of new knowledge, and foster excellence in learning, teaching and research. During each academic year, the Libraries welcomes more than 1.2 million visitors across its network of three branch libraries: the Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, the DeLaMare Science and Engineering Library and the Savitt Medical Library. Visitors checked-out more than 80,000 items and completed more than 2 million database searches.