PLAINVIEW, Texas (KCBD) - Remember the days of overhead projectors? They were in every classroom. Wayland Baptist University saved all of those clear, plastic sheets, also known as transparencies. It is a good thing they saved them, because they have now become useful in the fight against COVID-19.
Dr. Scott Franklin is a professor of mathematics and computer science at WBU, which has called Plainview home since its founding in 1908.
He says when they began working at home, they anticipated a shortage of masks. So a few of the faculty took their 3D printers home with them and put them to work making face shields.
Normally a 3D printer at Wayland would be used to make toys, gadgets and the fun things for math class. But the call came for a much greater need: personal protective equipment.
“We tried to find a design we thought would be the quickest and easiest for us to print so we could get out as many as possible. And it turns out, one of the models we found, that has actually gained NIH approval, can be used with transparency film. So as a math department, we have boxes and boxes of overhead transparencies that will never be used again. So what else could we do with them?” said Dr. Franklin.
He says he uses a 3D printer to print the head band, and he can print one in about 45 minutes. Then they take a piece of transparency film, poke holes in it and put it on the head band. He said, “now you have a lightweight, flexible, comfortable face shield.”
Dr. Franklin says so many people wanted to help, they have raised enough money to buy three more 3D printers to mass produce the face shields. It costs about $1 to make one.
WBU is giving the face shields to companies in need and will continue to do so for as long as they have the materials to make them.
So we asked if a face shield could replace a face mask. Dr. Franklin says the CDC has approved the face shield as the back up.
As a teacher, Dr. Franklin says he is very glad to be able to use one himself.
“You can see my facial expressions. So when you give a wrong answer in algebra class, I can make a face so you now you need to keep trying. It’s a whole lot easier to breathe and when I get excited and a little spit flies out of my mouth, my students are safe!” he said.
He also uses the 3D printers to make what they call “ear savers.” It is a little plastic strip that holds the earloops for face masks more comfortably so it stays on your head and doesn’t irritate the ears.
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