As COVID-19 emptied the UNH campus and slowed research activity to a crawl, several faculty and staff sparked up 15 of the university’s 3D printers to make much-needed protective equipment for medical personnel.
The printers — many of them now humming in home garages and basements — are manufacturing the headbands that support face shields used by medical professionals on the front line of addressing the coronavirus. At a production rate of up to 50 per day, by April 2 the effort produced more than 300 headbands.
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard approached UNH to augment their own headband printing capacity; Shawn Banker, director of UNH’s University Instrumentation Center, is coordinating the project for UNH.
"It feels very positive to be able to use our resources to help make something that is desperately needed and will aid the doctors and nurses on the front lines treating patients with coronavirus."
“Everyone involved is really proud to be a part of this effort,” Banker says. “In the midst of all that is going on, it feels very positive to be able to use our resources to help make something that is desperately needed and will aid the doctors and nurses on the front lines treating patients with the coronavirus. It means a lot to everyone.”
In addition to Banker, who’s running two printers in his garage, others contributing to the effort are Heather MacNeill, senior program manager of the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center at UNHInnovation, running five printers with materials purchased with donation from the Patten Family Foundation; assistant professor of physics Elena Long, running two printers; Matthew Harris, machine shop technician at UNH Manchester, running two printers; Noah MacAdam and Sheldon Parent, both in the technical service center of the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences; Mike Locke, manufacturing engineer at UNH’s John Olson Center for Advanced Manufacturing; and Jonathan Ferguson, a recent UNH Manchester graduate.
A representative from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is collecting completed headbands every other day from outside UNH’s Olson Center. A team at the shipyard is attaching the headbands to shields and distributing the assembled masks to Seacoast-area hospitals and medical facilities in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts and the town of Kittery in Maine