Black Belt Museum uses 3D printing to make face shields for frontline workers
As the world responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with closures and temporary changes in operation, the University of West Alabama’s Black Belt Museum is using what would be downtime to pool resources and address the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for front line healthcare workers in the region.
Since delivering their first batch to Livingston Fire & Rescue, Black Belt Museum staff members have produced and delivered more than 600 face shields in less than one month to facilities in Clarke, Greene, Marengo, Sumter, and Wilcox counties in Alabama and Lauderdale county in Mississippi. Practicing social distancing, staff members have even transitioned to full-scale production at their home workshops where they can manufacture the simple yet effective prints in batches throughout the day to continue meeting requests.
“We’re shifting our focus from class field trips, personal tours and guest lectures to a project that directly serves and protects the local community that has supported us for many years,” said Black Belt Museum Director James Lamb. With materials shared and donated, the masks have been provided by the Black Belt Museum to healthcare facilities free of charge.
Covering the face from forehead to chin, the protective shields are designed and created using 3D printing technology already in place at the Museum, along with equipment shared by University Charter School and UWA’s College of Education. Supplies donated from throughout the campus community include more than 1,000 transparency sheets from the UWA Print & Mail Services, the College of Liberal Arts, and the Division of Economic & Workforce Development.
EMS services, nursing homes, or hospitals may request shields. The Black Belt Museum wants to do more, and anyone can help. Donations of transparency sheets or PLA 3D printer filament are accepted.
Those who wish to make monetary donations for purchase of supplies may do so by visiting www.uwa.edu/givenow and selecting “Black Belt Museum” from the designation drop-down menu. For more information, call the Black Belt Museum at 205-652-3828, visit their Facebook page (Black Belt Museum), or email the museum staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.