Northeast Tech hoping to help healthcare workers with 3D printed masks

Joplin Area Coronavirus

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — Northeast Tech in Afton is trying a unique way to help hospitals and health professionals with masks.

Northeast Tech is using the campus 3D printer to try and make a difference for medical professionals.

Melanie Carnes, Visual Communications Instructor, said, “Basically we have a filament which is a PLA type filament and it heats up the plastic to really hot and it creates a mold based on the 3D model that’s in the computer.”

A medical representative gave the school a file to build a 3-d model respirator.

“So yes we printed the mask and this is a back and forth process. They are evaluating it to see if this is something that could even work.So we are just back and forth waiting to hear if they could actually use it or not.”

The mask is not a personal protective mask but it’s used with a ventilator.

Northeast Tech says they are fortunate to have equipment to help meet the needs in the community.

“So we love client work. Any type of real world experience any type of client work we welcome that.”

Faculty says they have never attempted to do something like this before.

But in times of need they don’t mind stepping up.

“We have to be responsible with school resources but if the client can cover the material costs than I am more than happy to donate my time to help make these masks.

Carnes adds if the 3D mask does work, they have several other 3D printers on site and would help other agencies in need as well.

“If this is something that will work i’m going to have my students create their own masks. its important for me to model to my students real world settings we are learning how to solve real world problems here and so to be able to utilize this scenario in my class is a great teachable moment.”

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