School teacher uses 3D printer to make face shields
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
Last August, the South Harrison Community School Corp. purchased a 3D printer for South Central Junior-Senior High School. Little did anyone know it would come in much more handy than they originally thought.
Jeremy Ledford, the HIRE TECH and PLTW teacher at the school, is using the 3D printer to produce face shields for front-line workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ledford said Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent of the school corporation, had forwarded him an article highlighting a local business that was producing face shields for the hospital and was wondering if South Harrison would be able to do the same. Ledford began to research the process and, after realizing the school had the materials needed for this production, he got to work.
The school corporation recently donated 10 face shields Ledford made to Harrison County Hospital in Corydon, and the items are already being used.
Ledford said the process of making one face shield can take up to five hours, but he is currently working on cutting down that time.
“I have seen where people have been able to make a mask in about half the time it is currently taking me,” he said. “I am working on making the process more efficient and quicker in case I need to make more at any point.”
Because of the material used to make the face shields, they can be sanitized and reused by staff at the hospital.
Ledford said he mainly uses plastic, filament and thermal laminating pouches to create the shields, but that he is looking into purchasing an acrylic material to also aid in the production.
While no one could have predicted this is what the 3D printer purchased for the school would be used for, Ledford said they are lucky to have it so that South Harrison is able to do its part and give back to a community school personnel cares about.
Ledford’s care goes a bit deeper for those using the shields he produced as his wife, Dawn, is one of the nurses able to use one of them at Harrison County Hospital. She works in the Emergency Department, where the masks are currently being used.
Ledford has only produced the 10 masks being used at the hospital but said he is willing to make more if the demand for them is needed.
“If you would have told me back in August when we first got the printer that I would be using it to help during a pandemic, I would have never believed you,” Ledford said. “All the credit goes to Dr. Eastridge and the South Harrison Schools community for making this happen. Without them, this would never be possible.”