Even though school buildings are closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, 3D printers owned by local school districts are still being used. In fact, they are being used to make items for personal protective equipment.


Students and teachers from Lansing High School are using 3D printers to produce components for plastic face shields being worn to protect people during the COVID-19 crisis.


Lansing High School science teacher Anne Krebs said the local effort was started after other robotics teams started using 3D printers to help meet needs for personal protective equipment.


Krebs is the adviser for the Lansing High School Voltron Robotics team.


When Lansing High School closed because of the COVID-19 outbreak, she took home two 3D printers used by the robotics team not knowing if they would be needed as students receive remote instruction.


Krebs’ son, Anthony, who is a junior at Lansing High School, has been working on the project.


“We have them printing all the time,” Krebs said of the machines.


Senior Liam Neidig, a member of the robotics team, also has been involved in the project using his family’s own 3D printer.


Another Lansing High School science teacher, Jeff DaMetz, also is helping with a printer he brought home during the school closure.


The teachers and students are using the 3D printers to produce parts for the frames of face shields. These components are being made as part of a Kansas City area effort to produce face shields for people working in hospitals and others who need them.


Krebs said the students and teachers have been producing the components for about two weeks.


“We are printing until they tell us there is no more need,” she said.


In Leavenworth, 3D printers from schools are being used to make adjustable tension straps for surgical masks and other face masks.


Sara Davis, an elementary science, technology, engineering and math teacher, said the straps can make wearing the masks more comfortable.


They are being offered free to people who request them.


“As long as the need is there, we will keep making them,” Davis said.


She said the adjustable tension straps are being made at David Brewer Elementary School using 3D printers that ordinarily are used in schools around the district.


Davis said production of the straps has been a two-person operation. In addition to Davis, David Brewer Elementary School Principal Craig Idacavage has been involved in the project.


The straps are being made from a design from the National Institutes of Health.


The straps were advertised as being available to the public on the David Brewer Elementary School’s Facebook page.


“From there, it just kind of snowballed,” Davis said.


She said people have kept asking for more of the straps.


In addition to requests from individuals, businesses and other organizations have placed large orders.


Davis said she and Idacavage began producing the straps last week.


“We’re getting close to the 2,000 mark at this point,” she said.


According to Idacavage, people can order the straps through the David Brewer Elementary School Facebook page or by sending an email. Idacavage can be contacted at Craig.Idacavage@lvpioneers.org


Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR