Within the last two months, a lot has changed around the university and the world. Despite the changes, the I-Create MakerSpace Supervisors and Library Staff are hard at work to make a difference for those in need during this Pandemic.
Sylvia Sanchez, MakerSpace Coordinator, and David Jones, MakerSpace Technician, have been spending their time, along with volunteers and library staff, at the closed I-Create Lab to utilize one of the labs’ favorite pieces of equipment, the laser cutter.
The laser cutter is often used for school projects, Christmas gifts, and creative art. Now, it is being utilized for a vital job, cutting out Face Shields that use the Georgia Tech Design.
These face shields protect the face and are critical to extending the life of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) masks from contamination. The design is easy to manufacture and assemble, making it easy to mass produce with a laser cutting machine.
To create these face shields, the team used plexiglass frames. One sheet was able to make six individual frames. The guards would then be wiped down with Clorox wipes; a neoprene pad would be attached to the headrest portion of the shield along with a rubber band put on the back of the frame. They were then placed in a sealed bag with one mylar sheet and a set of instructions.
While the cutting part was natural, it took a small team of volunteers who sat at individual workstations to cut mylar, clean the frames, and bag them. The whole process was a team effort that revolved around following social distancing guidelines and making the products as safe as possible for their future owners. While the face shields are not FDA-approved, the I-Create Lab workers are using every reasonable effort to follow FDA standards.
The face shields created were provided to Driscoll Children’s Hospital at no cost to help essential workers as they work to serve their communities through the COVID-19 Pandemic. As of this date, 354 individual shields and over 1700 mylar sheets were cut and donated to essential workers at Driscoll Children’s Hospital. They were grateful to receive the donation of PPE.
Sylvia Sanchez believes this was a great use of the I-Create Lab during the times and potentially a great way to connect with the community. She hopes that we will continue to give back and help the community in the future, even when life returns to normal. “…[we] want to be of service in any way that we can.”
As we continue through this Pandemic, Sylvia has some words of wisdom to pass on to students, faculty, teachers, and the community at large, “I think that we just have to continue to remain positive and hopeful during this time. I have faith and trust in the doctors, nurses, and researchers who are currently working on combating this virus to find a solution. I know that we will make it through this, we just need to work hard at being safe and heeding the instructions that the CDC and WHO are laying out. Stay strong, and we will get through this together.”
While you may not have access to the equipment to make a face shield, you can do your part to help the cause by sewing (by hand or machine) cotton blend face masks. You can find tutorials on many online sites or utilize the I-Create Labs at home crafts for making a face mask tutorial on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram). As Sylvia said, we will get through this together.
Stay strong Islanders.