Two local colleges and an Easton business have joined in the work to help protect front-line medical professionals during the coronavirus pandemic.
They are using 3D printers to create medical equipment during these tough times.
Lehigh University has 3D-printed and delivered nearly 500 face shields to Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN), Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital and other regional medical facilities. The university has also created stethoscopes for St. Luke’s University Health Network.
Brian Slocum, a 1997 Lehigh graduate who is managing director of Lehigh’s Wilbur Powerhouse and Design Labs, said hospital administrators reached out to him in March as their supplies of personal protective equipment began to run low.
Slocum, who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org by anyone interested in donating materials, has been working to produce the face shields in shifts with shop manager Michael Moore and additive manufacturing coordinator Trevor Verdonik, two recent Lehigh grads.
Lehigh is currently making face shields at a rate of 100 per day, according to Slocum.
The university is also donating through the emergency management agencies for Northampton and Lehigh counties in order to get personal protective equipment to independent doctors, who aren’t associated with large hospital networks and faced potential closure if they couldn’t access the equipment.
Similarly, Moravian College students have been producing face shields and stethoscopes with 3D printers. The Greyhounds are balancing their school work with producing materials around the clock.
Jeff Bush, an instructor in Moravian’s Math and Computer Science department, is leading the effort.
The college dropped off its first 40 stethoscopes to St. Luke’s on April 10. The first 100 face shields were delivered to the Bethlehem Township Volunteer Fire Co. on April 13.
Moravian has also made equipment for LVHN, ManorCare and local ambulance organizations.
Updates on the college’s effort can be found at 3d.moravian.edu/covid-19-prints.
3D printing hasn’t been limited to local colleges, though. Easton-based Innovative Office Products (IOP) has utilized its printer to make headbands for face shields.
The office furniture manufacturer has supported LVHN with its headbands. The company delivered its first 25 headbands on April 8.
IOP has been producing 25 headbands per day with a high-quality plastic material already in stock.
IOP employee Marissa Rachjaibun learned of LVHN’s need when speaking to her neighbor Darlene Farris-Labar, a professor of art and design at East Stroudsburg University who teaches 3D design and printing. Farris-Labar was working with the hospital to create 3D headband printing files, and IOP was able to create its first set after receiving the designs.
The Easton company’s reach went out of state, too. It supplied the Chelsea (Massachusetts) Police Department with headbands after one of the department’s officers saw the business’ posting on Facebook.
Josh Folck may be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on the Lehigh Valley Live website on May 6, 2020. To read it on the Lehigh Valley Live website, please visit: College, company’s 3D printers fire up across the Lehigh Valley to help those in coronavirus fight