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BRC13: Moravian College students 3D print stethoscopes and face shields

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 | By Dominic Barone

College students in the Lehigh Valley have turned into essential workers making supplies for a local hospital. Computer science students at Moravian College are 3D printing stethoscopes and face shields for St. Lukes.

They're working around the clock to pump out as many units as possible.

500 stethoscopes and almost 200 face shields coming from one room at Moravian College. The last four weeks have been a whirlwind for them, but they are only a select few students able to work on campus.

"Because the school is closed and we were no longer having a tactile experience, those demands went down. So the students were able to then step up and make sure these printers were running 24/7" said Professor Jeffrey Bush.

Bush is leading four students to 3D print face shields and stethoscopes with all the supplies going to St. Lukes. Each student covers a six hour shift.

"It's definitely been stressful. At least at first." said sophomore Mark Morykan. "As with anything, I kind of got into a habit of going through it. And just going through the motions with it. And I kind of started to enjoy what I really did here. then I started to learn it really had meaning."

They have two big printers and three smaller printers working non stop and they need to be monitored all the time. William Brandes is the champ who volunteered to work the graveyard shift one to seven am..

"It was still weird to get up at 1am, but I was still getting 8 hours of sleep, I was still awake for 16 hours." Brandes said, "So it was kind of normal in a way? Even though it was weird."

The smaller printers make the Y-splits and the springs on the stethoscope. The big printers make the ear tubes and bottom ring along with all the other pieces to hold the face shield in place. Not only are these students doing the technical aspect, but each face shield and stethoscope is assembled by hand.

"There were a good couple days where I would be sitting here for about four or five hours straight just taking small little plastic pieces and sanding off imperfections. Fitting eartubes into them. Assembling face shields." said junior Brandon Adams.

These students are getting a hands on education with a real world combination of factory manufacturing and computer science all while contributing to the relief of COVID-19.

Adams said, "I thought I saw it as just a way for me to actually give back to the community and a way for me to feel like i have a purpose."

Brandes said, "But to actually be touching it and seeing the real life effect right as I do it."

and Morykan said, "Being able to do what you love to help someone else is really what brought us together to do this."

Other people in the Lehigh Valley with 3D printers caught wind of this and started sending in pieces for the face shields which one student tells us is doubling their production.


This story originally appeared on the BRC13 News on May 5, 2020.  To watch the video that was broadcast on the BRC13 website, please visit: Moravian College students 3D print stethoscopes and face shields