College of the Canyons Produces & Donates Thousands of Face Shields

Posted By: Gretchen Schultz, Director of Workforce Development, Tooling U-SME on October 13, 2020

College of the Canyons logo

We love hearing inspiring stories from our customers. Today, we are sharing the important work of our colleagues at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, California, who filled an urgent need for personal protective equipment (PPE) in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

MakerSpace Fills PPE Void

In March, with coronavirus spreading in Santa Clarita Valley, hospitals were scrambling to procure valuable PPE, including face shields.

Local nonprofit STEMbassadors, a regional program supported through College of the Canyons, quickly stepped in to help by engaging their tech-savvy middle and high school students to manufacture face shields. Working from an open-source design, the students began producing 30 to 40 face shields per day using 3D printers at home.

Michael J. Bastine, Regional Director, Advanced Manufacturing, hosted by College of the Canyons said, “When I heard about our STEMbassadors program, I knew we could use our college’s MakerSpace to produce critical face shield equipment for our local healthcare workers.”

Under the leadership of Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook, the College of the Canyons team included Bastine; Harriet Happel, Dean, Career Technical Education and Integrative Learning; Christopher Walker, MakerSpace Laboratory Technician; Jeffrey Forrest, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development; and Irene Ornelas, Regional Director, Health Sector, who identified and coordinated the medical needs.

Each face shield took three and a half hours to make. After 10 days of running the center’s six 3D printers around-the-clock, MakerSpace assembled 150 face shields, which were delivered to Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital in April.

Marlee Lauffer, president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation and vice president of marketing and communications for the hospital, said in a news release, “We are very grateful to College of the Canyons for these face shields. In today’s environment, it’s impossible to have too much PPE. Our entire staff, and especially our frontline healthcare workers, deeply appreciate COC’s resourcefulness and generosity.”

3D Printing Face Shields

The effort didn’t end there, however. As of the end of July, the MakerSpace at College of the Canyons had produced more than 2,500 face shields for area hospitals, organizations, and colleges for nursing and welding students. Earlier this month, they donated 100 face shields to UCLA Health Santa Clarita. In addition, 200 face shields are held in stock, prepared if cases spike again and more PPE is needed.

“If we can help prevent one transmission of COVID-19 or make just one health care worker or emergency responder feel just a little bit safer doing their job, we have achieved what we had hoped to do—to help others,” said Walker, the technician who handled the production.

Bastine said fortunately the industry has caught up to the need.

“Early in the pandemic, it was tough to source needed materials such as polypropylene so we had to adapt, and 3D printing provided a stop-gap support system,” Bastine said. “Months later, industry has been able to ramp up PPE production, using injection molding to produce thousands of shields per day.”

With its MakerSpace at the Valencia campus, College of the Canyons could quickly respond to the health crisis, tapping into its creativity and expertise to support the local community.

This initiative shows the importance of partnerships throughout the community that bring together healthcare institutions, educators, nonprofits, industry, and other organizations.

Congratulations to College of the Canyons on this impressive effort and their record of community involvement.

Tags: "Face shields"