As part of a crowdsourcing project to help healthcare officials and government agencies continue the fight against COVID-19, Assistant Professor of Sculpture and Installation Michael Casselli ’87, has been working together with Matterhackers to produce reusable face shield holders to be distributed to hospitals. These face shield holders are being produced using two 3D printers in the micro fablab in Antioch’s Arts & Sciences Building.
“I was emailed by Matterhackers because I use them as one of my sources for printer filament and parts for my printers. They provided the files and the instructions for printing and for distribution, which they are handling,” Michael writes.
The name of the project is Response #16, the first project out of two, which aims to produce 9000 holders by reaching out to people who have access to 3D printers. This face shield design is approved for clinical use by the National Institute of Health’s COVID-19 Supply Chain Response and can be disinfected and reused. Michael produced 40 face shields holders in 3 days and sent them to Matterhackers which will distribute them to hospitals with the plastic face shield attached.
The holders were created using Polylactic Acid (PLA), which is a plant-based plastic. Polylactic acid or polylactide is a thermoplastic polyester with backbone formula or [–CHCO–] ₙ, formally obtained by condensation of lactic acid CHCOOH with loss of water. It can also be prepared by ring-opening polymerization of lactide [–CHCO–] ₂, the cyclic dimer of the basic repeating unit.
“I took the STL file which is the most common file for 3D printing at the level I am currently involved in, and did a number of printing experiments to ensure that they would print according to the specifications provided. After dialing in the best print, I then set up the printer to produce two at a time and then just kept running both printers until I had made as many as I could base on the due date.”
STL is a file format native to the stereolithography CAD software created by 3D Systems. STL has several backronyms such as “Standard Triangle Language” and “Standard Tessellation Language.”
Michael is now involved in another printing project to produce simple spacers for other types of masks to make them more comfortable for those who have to wear them for extended periods of time.