As the initial COVID pandemic started and the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) became apparent, Joliet Central High School teacher Dale West and Joliet West High School teacher Jeff Biernacki were inspired to use 3-D printers to print PPE, which they donated to Silver Cross Hospital and AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center.
The project was primarily funded by the Joliet Central High School STEM Club, which had raised over $1,000 from selling tumblers. Furthermore, West and Biernacki used Ultimaker 3D printers and materials provided by Joliet Township High School to start 3D printing.
West said, “After setting up our Ulitmaker 3D printers and getting them dialed in, the 3D printing went day and night. We made face shields, face masks, and ear savers. My wife Sheila was a huge help with completing the finished product. She helped trim excess plastic from all the face masks, applied cushioned material to face masks and face shields, and helped with assembly.”
This project was also integrated into student coursework during the stay-at-home order. Students enhanced 3D models of various PPE in a cloud-based Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) software called Autodesk Fusion 360. West and Biernacki then 3D printed some of the best designs and added them to their donation box.