COA machining program makes 3D face shields for hospital

Published 10:05 am Tuesday, May 26, 2020

College of The Albemarle (COA) programs continue to find innovative ways to help meet the needs of community members serving in critical roles amid COVID-19. COA’s computer integrated machining program produced face shields for Sentara Albemarle Medical Center using additive manufacturing technology.

David Chambers, instructor/program coordinator for the machining program at COA-Currituck, began looking into 3D printed visor designs upon hearing of the continued shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline healthcare workers in the college’s service area. To produce a face shield visor that would be quick, efficient and have the ability to be easily sterilized for reuse, a design created by 3DVerkstan was chosen.

Visors are printed three at a time using a Fusion3 F400-S 3D printer, made in Greensboro, after being “Sliced” using Simplify 3D software. Additive manufacturing technology is taught as part of the machining program. The printer runs unsupervised once the program is started. The visors take a little over two hours to print using PETG plastic filament, also made in the USA. Once the visors are printed and cleaned, holes are punched in the transparencies used for the face shields. To prevent any damage from occurring to the visors and transparencies during transport, the shields are assembled once they have reached their destined end user.

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COA has created a video tutorial to help those assembling the face shields, showing the correct way to fit the visor and shield together, along with sterilization instructions for reuse.

COA has the capacity to produce more shields as the need arises. To learn more about additive manufacturing technology or the CNC machining program offered at COA-Currituck, visit www.albemarle.edu/cim.

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