Article | Telegram & Gazette

Good deeds: Uxbridge High teacher engineers 3D face shields

Read the article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette about Project Lead The Way teacher Mike Smutok and his efforts to 3D print PPE for local hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.




The project was inspired by STEM sophomore Matthew Healey, who, after seeing a similar story in the news, went to Principal Michael Rubin with the idea.

Smutok, who is using the school’s Maker Bot Replicator Plus and a Maker Bot Method printers to produce the face shields, said he acquired the equipment earlier this week and is running them in the basement of his home.

It takes the printers roughly six hours to make four face shields, he said.

“We are printing the headband section of a face shield,” he said. “It was designed by Stratasys, a company that makes 3D printers. It was designed around ease of manufacturing, small footprint.”

Each face shield has interlocking pieces that are snapped together after they are done being printed. The elasticity of the plastic holds it on a person’s head and eliminates the need for extra rubber bands.

“It also has three attachment points for the clear shield that goes over the front,” Smutok said.

The design he uses is from AET Laboratories.

Smutok estimates he has made about 50 shields so far. As of now, he has enough materials for seven days. He believes he can produce about 200 shields.

Uxbridge also has printers in its elementary schools and middle school. Smutok said he plans to show other teachers how to use the printers.

“I’m excited that we’re doing this,” Smutok said, “because we have a skills capital grant from the state and we used it to buy all the equipment. Now we’re using it to help the state. It’s kind of fitting that’s what we’re using it for.”

Smutok said he plans to integrate his project into his lessons.

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