What happens when an engineer and a game developer buy a 3d printer?
We don't really know, but the work of Gaming and Animation Instructor Ellie Kirkner and husband Calahan is no joke.
The duo combined their talents and resources with a team of volunteers to produce 500 3d printed masks and face shields along with SCUBA fabric masks to protect and save lives. Plus, they have shared the files they perfected, so that others who own 3d printers can do the same within their own communities.
Masks printed at the Kirkner's home have been delivered to the Oklahoma City Police Department, Tealridge Retirement Community and three area hospitals: St. Anthony Healthplex, OU Medical Center and Norman Regional Health System. The ridged body supports multiple usage through a lot of wear and tear. The long-lasting masks can be a permanent addition to the extremely limited supply of personal protective equipment available.
The 3d printed masks allow a single surgical mask to be cut into six filters. The rigid body of the mask can be easily sanitized for reuse, and the filters replaced as needed, essentially getting six uses from a single traditional surgical mask.
Oklahoma Christian University's own, Ellie Kirkner headed up the project with her husband Calahan Kirkner, an engineer. The couple knew they had to use their resources and abilities to help with the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Calahan adapted the mask design from existing models distributed across the internet. Over 30 masks and mask pieces were printed in various prototypes. Calahan is the design lead. Philip Resnick provided samples to local healthcare workers who gave input on improvements to the design. I check for quality control and remove residual filament from the prints that could make it harder to sanitize the mask quickly and effectively," said Ellie Kirkner.
Once the couple were happy with the design, coworkers of Calahan, who are now working remote across Oklahoma City, became the volunteer assembly line. Surgical tubing is fixed to the edge of the mask to seal where the mask will come into contact with the face. SCUBA fabric ties are added in place of elastic because of the nation-wide shortage of the sewing notion. Volunteer 3d mask team members include OC engineering alumna Alyssa Schnieder, Philip Resnick, Glenn Stevens, Emily Hendrikson and Cassie Wade.
The donated masks, frames for mask filters, and face shield headbands have all been printed on the Kirkner's personal 3d printer until they used the last of the filament they had on hand. The machine ran around the clock to produce one mask every 85 minutes! The Kirkners are multiplying their efforts by sharing the 3d files with others who have printers.
"Anyone with a 3d printer can help their local community. The need is everywhere," said Kirkner.
GiveUsPPE.org is an online resource recommended by Ellie Kirkner to determine how to best support your local community.
***This is emergency PPE only. This design has been approved by individual Oklahoma and Colorado medical professionals only. Civilian developers and volunteers are assisting to the best of their ability in the time of global crisis. Volunteers are not liable for the misuse or failing of this improvised PPE. Only MERV15 filters and the N95 masks are proven to be medically effective against COVID-19.