School's 3D Printers Used for PPE in the Fight Against COVID-19

3D Printers owned by St. John's Prep are being used on the frontline to battle the COVID-19 Pandemic

DANVERS, MA - Over the last several weeks, thanks to the coordination and logistics of computer science teachers Lisa Standring and Bernie Gilmore, 3D printers owned by St. John’s Prep have been working round-the-clock in Marblehead cranking out personal protective equipment suitable for use by medical professionals. 

Earlier this month, Laura Clasby P'21 reached out to the St. John’s computer science department about Marblehead’s Didrik Etholm. A web-developer who recently earned a master’s in organizational development, Etholm was job-hunting in Silicon Valley when the pandemic hit. His father, who works at a medical walk-in clinic, expressed concern about whether there would be adequate supplies of PPE. 

Using a GoFundMe drive, he bought two 3D printers and, using a specialized program popular with 3D printing enthusiasts online, has been printing face shields and masks along with filter cartridges ever since. Even though each shield takes about 90 minutes to print and masks roughly eight hours, plus two more for each filter cartridge, the project is proving that slow and steady wins the race. More than 170 mask and filter kits have been produced for local healthcare workers. 

The Prep also donated its entire filament inventory (the thermoplastic feedstock items are printed from) and two extruders, which are spare print heads for the printers. The masks and shields being assembled can also be sanitized after use. 

Etholm is accepting donations of filament to help his ongoing efforts.

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