BOCES educators also team up to make face shields

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Educators at Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES are helping to get local health care workers personal protective equipment while fighting COVID-19.

Emerging technologies and cyber security teacher Colin Douglass, science teacher Brian Frantz and P-TECH STEM integration specialist Tiffany Piatkowski have been taking turns visiting the BOCES FAB Lab to print and assemble face shields.

Medical face shields, used in combination with other equipment, help to protect the face, nose, mouth and eyes from contact with an infectious agent or bodily fluid that may contain an infectious agent, BOCES noted, important when dealing with COVID-19.

“It’s rewarding to be able to help our local essential medical personnel,” said Piatkowski. “Just knowing that we’re able to provide something that will help protect them while they’re on the front lines fighting this battle for all of us. We’re proud that even though our campus is closed we are still able to put the FAB Lab to good use helping our local community.”

Each face shield has two pieces — a large visor piece that the clear shield and strap attach to, and a small elastic holder piece used to adjust tightness of the strap.

Using design specifications from Budmen, a 3D printer
manufacturer, the teachers
print the pieces to construct three face shields at a time on the FAB Lab’s Stratasys F370 3D printer.

The teachers are printing three sets of two pieces in just under four hours, and are planning to ramp up production with help from P-TECH business partner Trenton Technology, which volunteered to assist to help speed up production and get the shields to local hospitals sooner.

Because of state and federal guidelines, students can’t participate in manufacturing. However, they will benefit from insight and experience teachers are gaining throughout the process, they noted.

“It’s important for us to lead by example for our students,” Piatkowski said. “Utilizing the FAB Lab to produce these face shields and providing our local medical professionals with access to PPE are great lessons on giving back to our community for the young adults that we teach.”

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