School, STEAM-based learning center use 3D printers for N95 masks

    N95 masks produced with 3D printer | East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dori Leyko

    One Michigan school is working to help local health care workers in need of personal protective equipment (PPE) as Michigan residents continue to become ill with COVID-19, a disease caused by a new coronavirus.

    As previously reported by the Advance, nurses and health care workers are reporting shortages of PPE in Michigan and across the country. They’re also being forced to ration or reuse supplies, including surgical and N95 masks, for fear of running out.

    Many people in Michigan and across the country have taken to sewing masks at home and donating them to hospitals in need.

    However, there’s another way to produce the masks that doesn’t use fabric or sewing. According to a tweet from East Lansing Public Schools Superintendent Dori Leyko, the school is using 3D printers to make N95 masks.

    “Our 3D printers are hard at work making their first batch of N95 masks to donate to Sparrow Hospital. I am so proud, it fills my heart,” said Leyko.

    The finished masks were unveiled on Facebook and Twitter Wednesday morning

    According to East Lansing Public Schools Technology Director Christian Palasty, the school is using a file from Thingiverse, a website dedicated to files for 3D printers, and is also working with Tinkrlab, a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning center located in the Meridian Mall on alternate face mask options.

    Tinkrlab also is joining in on producing face masks. According to a Facebook post, the STEAM-based learning center has 47 3D printers currently running to produce masks for Sparrow Hospital, as well.

    There is a GoFundMe account started in order to produce the masks.

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak covers the economy, health care and safety net, immigration and politics. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found reading, whipping something up in the Instant Pot, gardening or treasure hunting at thrift stores.