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South Coast High School Students Use 3D Printers To Make Safety Gear For Hospital Personnel

It’s the sound of innovation. In a Ventura home, 10 3D printers are in action around the clock.

Thanks to some enterprising Ventura County high school students, a grassroots project is helping in the battle against coronavirus, by creating some badly needed face shields for health care workers.

The idea came from high school students Anshul Bejan, and Patrick Lechter, who heard hospitals can’t get the protective masks they need because of the massive global demand for them. They found online blueprints to make the shields using 3D printer technology.

The students turned to a mentor, DeAnza Middle School teacher Alex Wulff, who had them in his technology class. Wulff says the Ventura County Medical Center quickly embraced the idea.

Bejan talks about the process of making the face shields, which have a plastic shield that covers the users face, attached to an adjustable headband. He says it takes a little over two hours.

Lechter, who also helped set up the project, says it has special meaning for him. His mother works at the Ventura County Medical Center, which is getting the shields. He says it feels good to be able to help.

The high schoolers are part of a non-profit program in the Ventura Unified School District created by students, and Wulff called STEMbassadors. They are teaching teachers how to use technology like the 3D printers in their classrooms. They are tapping into that pool to borrow printers, and to get more people involved in making the shields.

Wulff says they’ve made more than 80 of the badly needed masks so far this week. He says businesses have also stepped up to help, donating key supplies. Plans call for the printers to keep rolling until the hospital can get enough traditional masks to meet its needs.

Those interested can help with the visors project here.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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