Engineers 3D print gear, donate masks to medical workers

3D printer

As hospitals across the country try to manage a surge in coronavirus patients while also facing a global shortage in the protective gear needed to treat them, the Cornell community has banded together to donate crucial medical supplies to local health care providers.

Among those donating is Ankur Singh, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who donated 500 surgical masks, N95 respirators and other biomedical supplies that he had originally obtained for researching the H1N1 virus and cancer. 

Faculty members aren’t the only ones contributing. Students in Cornell Engineering’s Student Project Teams were adamant about donating 300 of their N95 respirators, plus assorted nitrile gloves and disposable coveralls, as they closed down their fabrication spaces in the basement of Upson Hall due to the pandemic. The students often use various PPE items while working in multidisciplinary groups to engineer solutions to technical challenges, and were already primed for tackling this sort of real-world problem, according to Lauren Stulgis, the Swanson Director of Student Project Teams.

boxes of masks

Read more about the donation effort in the Cornell Chronicle.

Using Weill Cornell Medicine’s specifications, faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are 3D printing frames for face visors, which can be sterilized under ultraviolet light. Among those running printers 24/7 is Kirstin Petersen, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Now the effort is producing an estimated 400 visors a day, and the Cornell Campus-to-Campus bus made a special trip to deliver the first shipment March 27.

Read more about the 3D printing effort in the Cornell Chronicle and The Verge.


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