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3D Printing to Prepare for the Peak- Making Face Shields for Hospital Workers

by Tyler Sheldon, Curriculum & STEAM Coordinator, American School of Asuncion

The American School of Asuncion’s (ASA) 3D printer has never been this busy. For the past three weeks the Afinia H800+ 3D printer has been producing forehead visors as part of a school community effort to provide Paraguayan hospital workers with protective face shields. Like all of us transitioning to a new schedule, the printer has had its ups and downs with personal maintenance, but continues to find opportunities to improve during these challenging times.

Maker and integrated STEM units in the elementary and middle school at ASA have integrated the 3D printer through programs such as TinkerCad and WhiteBox Learning. Students in 2nd grade studied towers as part of their exploration of solids and culminated their investigation through physical and digital structures, some of which were 3D printed for a class set. Seventh graders studied the role of wind power as an alternative energy and designed turbine blades using an auto-CAD program, subsequently printing and testing their designs.

To prepare for the peak of Covid 19 in Paraguay, the ASA parent community and school leadership collaborated to assist in the production of face shields for hospital workers. The director of ASA, Christopher Russo, fired up the school’s 3D printer and production began. After several rounds of filament experimentation, minor system maintenance, periodic realignment, and model tweaking, production was ramped up to several dozen masks each week with a total goal of over 300 by the time of the infection peak.

The school is grateful for parental support, medical guidance, and the warm-hearted collaboration of Asuncion’s Maker community. During this period of uncertainty, when the recommended action for safety is inaction and staying at home, it’s good to leverage school resources to help the community, one 3D printed hospital face shield at a time.

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