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Two USM students, professor 3-D print face shields for health care workers

In just 36 hours, the team of three was able to print 28 face shields for health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic

MAINE, USA — While many students are continuing their learning remotely, two students from the University of Southern Maine still have a reason to come to campus. They're helping produce 3D printed face shields for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus on the front lines. 

"Knowing that we had the resources at USM, and knowing that these projects were going on around the world, it seemed like the only option was to take advantage of that," said Berkeley Elias, a mechanical engineering student at USM. 

Elias, alongside assistant professor of mechanical engineering Dr. Asheesh Lanba, and classmate Daniel Madison St Peter, created 28 face shields in just 36 hours. 

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Dr. Lanba says USM had been working with Maine Medical Center to produce alternative personal protective equipment for about two weeks before beginning to generate the face shields. 

The team from USM used an open-source face shield design for the project, and it was built with in house materials, along with additional materials donated by Thermoformed Plastics of New England based in Biddeford.

"It feels good to help produce things that I know can not just help them save other people's lives, but save their own lives as well," said St. Peter. 

The 28 masks produced by the team at USM will be used by health care workers in Maryland, according to St. Peter. 

The prototypes were developed at the school's Portland campus in the Maker Innovation Studio as well as on the Gorham campus at the John Mitchell Center.

"We do a lot of prototyping and 3-D printing so I was pretty excited to get on board with this project knowing that this resource would be utilized for it," said  Elias. 

The students and Dr. Lanba don't plan to stop at 28 face shields, however. They're to create more, and also hope to utilize their own thermoforming technology, which will help create more face shields in a quicker amount of time.

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus