SC Computer Aided Design Students help make PPE
The Sheridan College Engineering Technology department was recently awarded a Faculty Staff Grant from the Sheridan College Foundation to buy two 3D printing machines. The timing was such that they arrived during the COVID19 quarantine.
Instructor Mic McMahon jumped on the chance to combine an exciting learning opportunity for his students with fulfilling a need in the community to make equipment to help protect people from the Coronavirus.
He began by coordinating with WyoMakers, a group of makerspaces across Wyoming, to design and develop prototypes and products of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). He was able to set up the printers at the local Phorge Makerspace while the campus was closed due to the pandemic.
“I brought my Computer Aided Design students into this project, giving them assignments to recreate my designs and create their own original designs for PPE. The first PPE project was creating face mask strap clips, which provide a more comfortable and secure fit by hooking the mask loops around hooks instead of the wearer’s ears. The students also designed and developed Face Shield Visors, which hold a clear plastic sheet as a shield to protect the wearer from splatter and fluids.”
He added that “the next project we are developing will be respirators. There have been some very innovative designs developed out of this project, and I am excited to provide these to those in need.”
He said the new 3D printers that were purchased through the Sheridan College Foundation grant allow for many objects to be printed at one time, and also have the ability to use a large variety of materials.
According to Mic, “through this collaborate effort with the students, Phorge Makerspace, and the Wyoming Makerspace Group, we have supplied hundreds of 3D printed face shields, respirators, face mask strap clips and other emergency supplies to hospitals, healthcare providers and other organizations in need across the state.”
The unique opportunity for the students to help with this project has given them a real life experience where they can improvise, solve problems and see tangible results, all while fulfilling a pressing need in the community. What a wonderful way to show students the true value of their education!