Anderson Labs while students work

Anderson Labs lends a hand to fight COVID-19

Students make face shields and mask filters for health workers

Even with most labs and makerspaces on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus closed, the University community has banded together to combat COVID-19. That includes students and staff at the College of Science and Engineering’s Anderson Student Innovation Labs, who recently volunteered their time to manufacture more than 300 face shields and around 250 face mask filters for health workers across Minnesota.

Anderson Labs student worker Cassie Johnson—a senior majoring in industrial and systems engineering—got the idea to make face shields from her CSE senior design project sponsor, Stratasys. In response to the global shortage of personal protection equipment (PPE), the manufacturing company publicly shared its design files for people around the world to 3D print.

Face shields from Anderson Lab
CSE student Cassie Johnson and Anderson Labs manager Ben Guengerich worked with Stratasys to 3D print more than 300 face shields for use during COVID-19. Photo credit: Ben Guengerich

Johnson and Anderson Labs manager Ben Guengerich set to work printing the face shields, alternating morning and evening shifts, and ensuring they disinfected any equipment they used.

“Anderson Labs had around 40 3D printers sitting idle and I thought [we] could really capitalize on the open printers,” said Johnson, a recipient of the UMN Karin J. Schiebe Marching Band Scholarship. “There are a lot of medical workers risking their lives and their family's lives to treat COVID-19 patients."

"I believe everyone's efforts, big or small, can help protect them," Johnson said.

Later that week, Guengerich recruited four more CSE student volunteers to help build filters for the University team producing N95-like face masks.

“As industry leaders ramp up production of PPE, efforts like ours will hopefully not be needed,” Guengerich said. “Until then, I'm happy that the Anderson Labs' resources are being put to good use helping first responders and giving students a chance to contribute in the fight against COVID-19.”

Story by Olivia Hultgren

Republished from CSE News & Features.