When the UNH campus shut down in March, the ECenter didn't expect to turn our Makerspace's 3D printers on for the rest of the semester, but when the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard asked UNH to help 3D print head bands for full face shields for local medical professionals, we jumped at the chance to help. We fired up three of our 3D printers, plus a personal 3D printer and got to work, printing nearly constantly for weeks.
The ECenter is part of a team of departments from all around UNH contributing to this effort with 3D printing. The head bands (pictured above on the left) are collected by the Shipyard, cleaned, assembled, and distributed to health care facilities around New England. In addition to the head bands, we've been printing "ear savers," pictured above on the right. Ear savers connect to the elastic bands that usually go around the ears with some face masks. Instead of bothering the ears with constant wearing, the ear savers take the pressure off the elastic and fit around the back of the head.
"The ECenter team, Makerspace student mentors, and I are so proud to have the ECenter's Makerspace contribute in this way. The Makerspace's printers were moved into my basement so the ECenter could help, even with campus shut down. The printers will keep on working as long as they're needed to help our healthcare workers who are giving so much to help the rest of us," said Heather MacNeill, Makerspace Advisor and project manager.
To date, the ECenter has contributed over 500 headbands and over 200 ear savers. Our printing efforts are made possible by the Patten Family Foundation, which funds the Makerspace's equipment and materials, such as the PLA used for 3D printing. Thank you to the Patten Family Foundation!
If you'd like to read more about this 3D printing initiative at UNH, check out this story from UNH Today.