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Need meets know-how in college’s 3D printing lab

A Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty member is employing his expertise to help protect front-line workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Eric K. Albert, associate professor of automated manufacturing and machining, is producing face shields with the college’s Stratasys 3D printers. Following a “recipe” provided by the company, Albert is manufacturing visors containing three mounting points for the insertion of clear plastic material to serve as the shield.  

You punch three holes into an acrylic sheet, snap it into the visor and you have a face shield,” Albert said. 

He estimated that it takes seven hours per batch of five plastic visors and that the college has the capacity to produce 10 visors a day. Albert is using his personal supply of acrylic sheets for the shield component. 

Depending on supplies, Albert said he can make three or four dozen face shields, which he anticipates will be shared with health care facilities and nursing homes throughout the Williamsport area.  

“It’s a classic case of technology solving problems,” Albert said. “This is giving students a first-hand look at the important role technology, in this case additive manufacturing, can play in combating a crisis.”  

As part of remote instruction for his additive manufacturing class, Albert is challenging the students to create, investigate and improve designs of products that can aid both health care workers and the general public. 

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