MONTEVALLO, Ala. (WBRC) - A group of employees at the University of Montevallo are using 3D printers to make masks for healthcare workers in Shelby County.
A few weeks ago, Michael Price, the Digital Media and Emerging Technologies Librarian at UM’s Carmichael Library, heard news reports about hospitals across the nation facing a severe shortage of personal protective equipment such as face masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Price says he knew, after reading about people using 3D printers to make PPEs, he could do the same. He reached out to Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, which said it would be happy to accept the 3D printed face masks.
Price then contacted his colleague Kyle Moore, assistant professor of theatre at UM, who also had access to a 3D printer. Together, they used their expertise to help the hospital by 3D printing as many protective face masks as possible for Shelby Baptist.
“We both have had printers running for the past week,” Price said on March 27. “Printing two masks and two filter holders takes about six-and-a-half hours.”
Price and Moore received support from Dr. David Callaghan, chair of UM’s Department of Theatre, Carmichael Library Director Dr. Charlotte Ford and UM Associate Professor of Theatre Emily Gill, who helped to secure material to use for straps on the face masks.
The group’s goal is to print and deliver 50 ready-to-use protective face masks to the hospital.
“I am so grateful for the way our University family has stepped up to help others in a time of crisis,” said Dr. John W. Stewart III, UM president. “Michael and his colleagues are to be commended for their creativity and leadership related to the mask shortage. I am very proud of them.”
Anyone interested in supporting the cause can donate 2.85-millimeter PLA filament or 1.75-millimeter PLA filament used to print the masks or elastic straps to attach to the masks. To make a material donation, contact Price at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WBRC FOX6 News reached out to several hospitals like Grandview Medical Center. Their supplies are okay right now but they are in contact with state officials and others to get more if needed.