DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Campus and Community > 3D printers make face shields
By Elizabeth Clements /
March 27, 2020 /
Posted in: CAMPUS AND COMMUNITY /
Using medically approved design plans shared through the open source community, DePaul faculty and students in the College of Computing and Digital Media and the College of Science and Health are 3D printing face shields, as well as plastic covers for N95 face masks. The N95 covers, or membranes, allow health care workers to safely reuse the face masks.
“The quality is very high," says Jay Margalus, faculty director of DePaul's makerspaces and an instructor in CDM. “We're using the same materials that would be used to make any face shield. The only difference is that they're being made by regular people."
In addition to Margalus, CDM Associate Dean Terry Steinbach and Eric Landahl, associate professor of physics — as well as several student employees — are helping to fabricate the shields and mask covers in the safety of their own homes. Elizabeth Aquino, associate director of DePaul's Master's Entry to Nursing Program, is coordinating distribution to hospitals and medical facilities in need of personal protection equipment.
With the university's campuses shut down due to the COVID-19 crisis, Margalus and his colleagues relocated the printers from DePaul's makerspaces to their individual homes in order to produce the materials while still adhering to Governor J.B. Pritzker's “stay at home" order.
“This is a great opportunity for us to put the skills we learned in DePaul's makerspaces to good use," says Michael Koenig, a DePaul student and member of the Illinois National Guard who is helping to produce the face masks in his parents' home in Glen Ellyn. “It feels good to help out in any way one can, and right now, every little bit counts."
According to Margalus, it takes roughly one hour to print each face shield part. He estimates DePaul's 18 printers will be able to produce approximately 1,500 to 2,000 face shields per week.
“That's not even close to meeting current demands," Margalus says. “Anything we can do will help, but DePaul can't do it alone."
Through a partnership with the Illinois chapter of the Nation of Makers, DePaul hopes to mobilize the statewide maker network to dramatically ramp up production. DePaul is also looking to partner with delivery services to distribute the face shields and mask covers to local hospitals and medical facilities.
Our DePaul and Chicagoland community can support this crucial effort. Your gift at
inspire.depaul.edu/ppe will help purchase the raw materials needed to print face shields and masks for healthcare workers, and deliver them to the hospitals in Illinois with the most urgent need.
Click here to learn more.