In an attempt to help COVID-19 relief efforts, Washington Middle School art teacher Tami Rose and Washington Court House City Schools maintenance department member Lee Hopkins have been busy 3D printing headbands at the school.
On April 3, the middle school started its work printing the headbands that will be donated to the Southern Ohio Makers Against COVID Coalition (SOMACC) using 3D printers and an online blueprint. SOMACC — which will be providing the face mask portion of the units when they are assembled — had contacted the district asking to use the four 3D printers at the building.
“I believe as an educator it is my job to prepare students for the future,” Rose said. “I started learning about 3D printing and I knew it was a skill my students would need to know about and be able to use. I taught myself how to use them so I could teach my students. The problem is they are tricky. I could do the programming but the printer kept misprinting. I was about ready to give up on them. I said a prayer letting God know I didn’t know what else to do. I needed some help and guidance.”
The next day as Rose worked, Hopkins walked into the classroom. Hopkins was interested in the printers, and Rose explained the issues she was having with the devices misprinting.
“He took a look and he was able to tell that one of the screws was off a couple of millimeters,” Rose said. “From then on we have been a team. Lee is a true visionary, too. He knows that 3D printing and robotics is the future and he and I are working together so that the students at Washington Court House are prepared for this future. Students are taught Computer Aided Design. They design an object on the computer and then they can 3D print it.”
Since the initial hurdle, the printers have been running 24/7 thanks to the duo, but Hopkins additionally decided to sand the headbands so they were smooth for the health care workers and has spent hours at the task.
“Like everybody else, Lee and I just want to do anything to help,” Rose said. “So when this opportunity presented itself we were eager to be a part of the solution. When school starts back, Lee and I will be able to show them how their printers were used to help protect the heroes that are on the front lines every day. I call Lee my 3D printing angel. When I was about to give up on 3D printing, he walked in with the mechanical knowledge to keep the 3D printers running. Whenever I have a problem with them I give him a call and he comes over and fixes them. It isn’t always easy. He does a lot of reading and research.”
Currently, a printer can finish one headband in four hours and the school can produce about 70 in a week. The headbands will then be assembled at Southern State Community College after being donated where they will become face shields to be further distributed to health care facilities.
“I am so proud to be a part of the Southern Ohio Makers Against COVID coalition,” Rose said. “I am grateful that Josh Montgomery, a tech professor at Southern State and Nate Luke, a tech teacher at Greenfield created this group. Currently we have 29 individuals, the vast majority being educators, who are doing their small part to help. We have a Facebook page that you can find by searching Southern Ohio Makers Against COVID. There are forms on the site for anyone that wants to donate funds, become a builder or suggest a medical organization that needs the shields we are making. Currently we have made and distributed 650 face shields to local health care facilities. Our goal this week is to make 1,500 face shields. I am always preaching to my students the importance of them developing the 4 C’s for success in the 21st century — creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. Hopefully with this experience I will be able to show my students that this is a real life situation, that by utilizing these 4Cs we helped make our community a little safer.”
The information in this article was provided by Washington Middle School Art Teacher Tami Rose and Washington Court House City Schools Director of Marketing and Communication Trevor Patton.