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Merced College 3D prints face shields to help meet demand at local hospital
Merced college face shields
Merced College has started providing 3D-printed face shields and mask components for local area health care workers (Photo courtesy of Merced College).

Merced College has started providing 3D-printed face shields and mask components for local area health care workers at Mercy Medical Center Merced as part of a statewide effort to ramp up production of personal protective equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instructors at Merced College’s School of Industry and Manufacturing used the school’s 3D printers to build prototypes for the hospital, then customized the final face mask and shield to the hospital’s specifications.

“Students enroll in our programs to learn in-demand skills such as drafting and 3D printing technologies, and here is a solid example of how that education can be applied in real-life to make a positive impact,” says Chris Vitelli, President of Merced College. “We are proud to be making a difference in our community.”

Merced College delivered the first batch of twenty-five ready-to-use face shields and mask components to Dignity Health on Friday, 4/10/2020, and is committed to increasing production to hundreds more.

“We have a great working relationship with Merced College already,” says Charles Kassis, President and CEO of Mercy Medical Center. “We appreciate that the college is stepping up to provide face masks to our healthcare workers during these trying times.”

The Drafting Technology Program is part of the college’s School of Industry and Manufacturing which also includes programs such as automotive technology and welding to help prepare students for the workforce in high demand jobs.

“I am thoroughly impressed with the accuracy of 3D printing from our machines and the quality of the face shields we are manufacturing,” says Bryan Tassey, Dean of the School of Industry and Manufacturing. “It’s been gratifying seeing our team pull together to make this happen.”

Drafting Technology Professor James Thornburgh modified an open source digital file in order to 3D print the face shield and mask for the local hospital. Together with Instructional Support

Technician David Wright, the duo has been running the 3D printers to ramp up the production of face mask and shield components for hospital workers.

The face mask is comprised of two main components with an orange band forming the frame of the face mask onto which the face shield can be easily snapped on and off the durable frame.