Local students 3D-printing face shields for medical workers during COVID-19 pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A local high school is helping mass-produce face shields to help local medical teams during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though students are working from home, they developed a prototype to cut down on the processing time. The hum of the 3D printers is constant at Career Technical Education Charter in Fresno.

"Usually, at school, you are giving kids the opportunity to be, but for them, they've been the designers; they've been the engineers, and now we're working the lines," said Jonathan Delano, director at CTEC.

When the project first started, it was taking advanced manufacturing teacher Brian Emerson two hours and twenty minutes to produce a shield. But his students came up with a way to shorten the process, using software programs they learned in school.

"So that allows them to create and generate files and build a design, and then we use MakerBot 3D printers at our shop, so there's the MakerBot software, they can import their design into that and that allows them to see the model," Emerson said.

Two students were instrumental in figuring out a way to cut nearly 40 minutes off the process.

"It took me a little while. I did have a lot of time as you guys know since being home, so I was able to look up a lot of different pictures and get an idea of how these face masks were going to work," said sophomore Valerie Castro.

"That was one of the ideas to reduce the fill and then also to bring the height down to 16 and a half millimeters," said sophomore Manuel Sanchez.

The first delivery of more than a hundred masks has already been made to Community Regional Medical Center. Teachers are hoping to produce several thousand masks within the next few weeks to be delivered to hospitals throughout the Central Valley.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus
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