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McNeese Graduates Use 3D Printers to Provide PPE

May 13, 2020 | McNeese Public Relations
A 3D printed ear guard with four prongs on each side.
Ear guard created by Tiffany Schatz.

Two McNeese State University graduates are using their classroom equipment to create personal protective equipment for local health care workers.

Marielle Myers, a 2011 graduate and Sulphur High School teacher, and Tiffany Schatz, a 2014 graduate and F.K. White Middle School educator, are using 3D printers to create ear guards and face shields for those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. Both Myers and Schatz were eager to offer a helping hand.

Ear guards pull elastic bands of face covering away from the ears to relieve chaffing. Face shields are clear protective coverings that offer protection while also allowing providers to easily communicate with patients and families.

A plastic clear sheet is attached to a plastic head band to create a wearable face covering.

“I got the idea for face shields from social media,” says Myers. “Each band is 3D-printed. I add a foam covering for extra protection and then the clear covering is added with an elastic piece to tie around the head.”

3D printers do not print clear material, so the clear shield is actually a report cover. Myers says, “I needed something that was cost effective and easy to find. Using the report covers was first just a trial, but it worked!”

Schatz, who was also inspired by others on social media supporting front line workers, is now working with some of her colleagues to continue printing ear guards.

“Working as a team has allowed us to keep up with demands for the local area and even provide guards for health care workers in Colorado and Pennsylvania,” she says.

Each guard has four prongs to adjust the fit of a face covering. Schatz says it takes about half an hour to create five guards, and in less than one week, nearly 100 are ready to distribute. Collectively, Myers and Schatz have produced over 900 shields and guards to protect health care workers.