Robotics Team Organizes 3D Printing Effort to Provide Personal Protective Equipment to Local Organizations

Boy with face shields

When it became evident that local healthcare workers were running low on personal protective equipment due to the rise of COVID-19 cases, the Lake Ridge Academy robotics team quickly realized they could help. The team regularly uses 3D printers as part of their club and for engineering classwork. The students were also hearing from classmates whose parents were working at essential organizations and desperate for additional supplies to keep them and their families safe.

The team, along with the support of Todd Morrison, Lake Ridge Academy’s Institute for Engineering and Innovation director, reached out within the school community to see who else might have 3D printing capabilities at home. To date, they have assembled a team of four parents and students to produce face shields and N-95 style face masks. The students have also contacted local healthcare organizations to identify equipment needs, communicate order quantities to the printers, and hand deliver following a no-contact process. Todd said, "It's really exciting to see the students looking for ways to use our resources to help others. It really says a lot about what kind of engineers they're going to become."

Earlier this week, 300 face shields were produced and delivered to Hospice of the Western Reserve to be used by the nursing team delivering care to its residents. The students also delivered 25 face shields to Woodbine Product Company, a Medina based manufacturer of hand sanitizer. Lake Ridge Academy parents work at both organizations and were happy to receive support from the students in their school community. Sophomore Connor Spencer, a resident of Strongsville, is one of the robotics team members lending his time and resources for the effort. He said, “I am printing the headband part of the face shields. I have my 3D printer running nonstop every day and I can get about 8 bands completed within a day. It’s fairly easy to work on the masks and my schoolwork at home because all I have to do is just restart my printer every 9 hours.”

Lake Ridge parent Ed Neugebauer, a resident of North Ridgeville, has multiple 3D printers that he uses for his business, Pro-Mold, a manufacturer of memorabilia and sport card holders. He quickly responded to the call to action to help support the student’s efforts. He said, “We wanted to help out for a very worthy cause in a time of crisis on behalf of a great school! Fortunately we have a 3D printer print-farm so the amount of time needed to make the requested, relatively high, number of face shields only took about 20-25 hours.”

The robotics team is looking to help more essential service organizations in need in the local area. If your organization is in need of face shields or N95 style masks, please contact Todd Morrison at [email protected] and the team will help fulfill the request.