Two weeks ago Superintendent Tom Gibbs was reading articles related to concerns about PPE and came across one that caught his attention. The Veterans Health Administration had created a face mask that was recently FDA approved for use in medical settings. The unique thing about the face mask was that it was produced with a 3-D printer. The design has a predominately plastic mask with an insert in the front where a small piece of a surgical mask can be placed. The plastic mask itself can be routinely cleaned and sanitized. One typical surgical mask is cut into 5-6 pieces to create the inserts, effectively decreasing the number of surgical masks needed. Dr. Gibbs forwarded that article to Athens High School Principal Chad Springer and Industrial Technology Teacher Wayne Hanzel. The District had opened a makerspace in the technology lab earlier this school year and equipped it with two 3-D printers. Mr. Hanzel researched and contacted one of the manufacturers of the masks, who shared with him the design specs.
"After initial discussions with Mr. Springer, I held a Zoom Meeting with my Engineering and Drafting Design students about using the Makerspace Lab to make the masks and help out our community. The students were thrilled about this idea! After a few attempts we realized that the masks would take over 8hrs each to print. Through discussions on Zoom with the students we did some brainstorming and were able to make some setting adjustments and get the print time down to 2hrs 47mins!! It feels good that we can use this technology to help out our community in a time of need." - Wayne Hanzel
Last week Mr. Hanzel was able to print a comfortable lightweight prototype which was shared with Jack Pepper at the Athens City-County Health Department. This afternoon Chad Springer is delivering 23 custom produced plastic face masks to Jack Pepper. "We are very excited that our community, including ACSD, has been able to find such unique ways to contribute to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that the first responders who are in line to receive these masks are grateful." - Jack Pepper, Athens City-County Health Department
This first batch of masks will be provided to the Athens City Police Department. “The Athens Police Department appreciates this donation and would like to acknowledge the initiative and work of the students, staff and teachers of the Athens City School district. These masks will help APD Officers better serve the citizens of Athens, protect themselves and by so doing, protect others. As an Athens graduate myself, I am proud and impressed, but never surprised, at what they accomplish. Thank you to all involved.” Capt. Ralph Harvey