High school students use 3D printers to make face-shields for first responders


FRESNO, California (KGPE) – In the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, finding face shields is a top priority – especially for first responders. 

A critical shortage in elastic prompted students at a local high school to action. They are now working with school staff to produce life-saving face masks for medical workers.


“Elastic was in very, very short supply as everyone around the world is helping to contribute to make different face masks,” said Brian Emerson, a manufacturing instructor at Career Technical Education Center (CTEC) High School in Downtown Fresno.

Emerson said with everyone wanting to help keep our healthcare workers safe, they wanted to as well.

“At CTEC one of our mission is to serve our community,” Emerson said.

Emerson and the director of CTEC, Jonathan Delano, worked with their students to create the special head gear for masks using 3D printers – no elastic needed.

“On the 3-D printers we are really creating the base: it’s what we attach the shield to. It’s what goes around the forehead so nurses and doctors will have it while they’re working with patients,” Delano said.

He says they have 10 3D printers and are producing about 50 bands of headgear per day. The goal is to make about 5,000 and donate them to all the hospitals in the Fresno County area.

“We had about 150 that went out to Fresno community yesterday, we have a batch that’s going out to Valley Children’s Hospital next couple of days,” Delano said.

He says it’s a team effort. Delano says they are working with people up and down the state who are providing them with material and equipment.

When the student-engineered elastic-free headgear is made at the school, the teachers snap on the plastic sheets that could be a literal life saver.

“The plastic sheet itself that goes down over the face that can be recycled out and change, it’s basically a three-hole punch and snaps back on and a headband that we’re producing here, it can be used multiple times,” Emerson said. “You obviously sanitize it between use or sanitize it between persons but the idea is that it’s used multiple times.”

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