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Joliet Central High School teacher Dale West and Joliet West High School teacher Jeff Biernacki were inspired to use 3-D printers to print personal protective equipment PPE, which they donated to Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet and AMITA Health Saint Joseph Medical Center in New Lenox.
In a news release from Joliet Township High Schools District 204, West said, “I saw various teachers and professionals posting pictures and videos on Twitter of 3D printed and laser cut PPE.
"Right around this time Chris McGuffey, the Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum director, emailed me and Jeff Biernacki with a link to a Zoom meeting of many Illinois educators who were determined to help provide PPE.
"The meeting inspired me and gave me the confidence to move forward. We continue to meet on Zoom every few weeks to touch base and go over obstacles, solutions, and success stories.”
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 in the release, “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.
Joliet Central student Lucas Shreiner said in the release, “I liked the PPE project because it was a way for students to give back to the community, as well as understand and learn more about the current COVID situation.
"I thought the project was a great way to get students better at the Autodesk Fusion 360 software and get us creatively thinking with something relevant. This project was beneficial because we had to complete multiple steps from different fields in the CAD industry while integrating our own creativity.”
Joliet Central student Liberty Astorga also started 3D printing her own PPE from her personal 3D printer.