Essex Tech Staff Use 3D Printers to Make Face Shields

DANVERS — Superintendent Heidi Riccio and Principal Shannon Donnelly are pleased to share that faculty and staff at Essex Tech are using 3D printers to make face shields for area medical professionals and first responders to help protect them from contracting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

A group of faculty and staff at the school, including Superintendent Riccio, Director of Workforce Development and Adult Education Bonnie Carr, Director of Technology Joe Marino, Director of Career and Technical Education Don Ducharme, Engineering Technology Teacher Ralph Arabian and Culinary Arts/Hospitality Teacher Krisztina Perron have been making the face shields since March 24.

Essex Tech has three 3D printers, which were purchased through the Baker-Polito Administration’s Skills Capital Grant program and are utilized by the school’s engineering and manufacturing programs when the facility is open. While the school is closed due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), however, the printers have been used by faculty and staff to create face shields, personal protective equipment (PPE) that will help protect area first responders and medical staff from the novel coronavirus.

The initiative is made possible by a CAD (computer aided design) drawing that was shared across the state from senior education strategist Mark Lyons at AET, a company based out of Essex that sells equipment for engineering programs.

“We wanted to do what we could during this challenging time to help the first responders and medical professionals who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe and healthy,” Superintendent Riccio said. “We were fortunate enough to have 3D printers here at Essex Tech due to the programs we offer, and are happy to be able to do our part to help out.”

It takes each machine between three and five hours to make a face shield, and each day, the school is able to make between 20 and 27 face shields.

So far, the school has donated shields to area groups including Addison Gilbert Hospital, Beverly Hospital, the Danvers Police and Fire Departments, Brigham and Women’s ICU COVID Unit, Lahey Hospital, Baldpate Treatment Center, North Shore Medical Center Salem Emergency Department, Anna Jaques Hospital and area doctor’s and dentist’s offices.

Essex Tech plans to continue to donate face shields to local police and firefighters as well as emergency departments at nearby hospitals in the coming weeks.