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Maranatha High School Using 3D Printers to Help Combat Coronavirus

Faculty member making masks for healthcare providers

Published on Tuesday, April 7, 2020 | 3:43 pm
 

Maranatha High School is doing its part in the fight against the Coronavirus.

The school’s TILE (Technology Integration Learning Environment) Lab, under the direction of Maranatha’s faculty member Miguel Almena, is utilizing its 3D printers to create reusable protective face masks for medical professionals who are facing critical shortages of necessary protective gear.

Almena’s wife is a nurse at Kaiser Hospital in Downey. He learned of the needs for masks from one of her colleagues when she shared they were facing a shortage and requested the school’s help with printing 80 high filtration masks.

“Mr. Almena saw this as an opportunity for Maranatha to utilize its resources to serve the needs of others, part of the school’s mission statement,” said Jade Rogers, communications director.

Almena decided to take action using Maranatha’s TILE Lab equipment, which was sitting unused while the campus was closed due to the “Safer At Home” order and was stocked with plenty of raw materials just waiting to be put to good use. Almena located information on a website profiling the work of Dr. Dusty Richardson, a neurosurgeon at the Billings Clinic in Montana, who was freely distributing a print file for a 3D mask he had helped create in order to support local hospitals across the globe.

The Centers for Disease Control recently said residents should wear “homemade masks” to help prevent the spread of the virus.

The masks Maranatha High School has printed are about 80 percent efficient using MERV14 quality filtration that filters down to 0.3 microns. While such masks are not intended to replace N95 masks, with reported shortages impacting healthcare workers worldwide, this is one measure that Maranatha, and other schools with 3D printers, can take to join the fight against COVID-19. Until he runs out of funds or raw materials, Almena hopes to continue producing the face masks to arm more health care workers with necessary protective gear in their battle against COVID-19. Working together we can save lives.

Armed with the proper print files and a plan, and able to work remotely, Mr. Almena successfully sent the first test print from his home. Having determined his plan would work, he received approval from Maranatha’s Administration team to begin printing the first batch of masks. Since each mask is reusable and can be easily sanitized, he also ordered disposable hospital-grade filtration squares which can be inserted into each mask.
These were delivered along with the printed masks to the nurses at Kaiser Hospital.

Organizations that would also like to produce 3D printed masks to donate to health care professionals can obtain the files and information at makethemasks.com.

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