From Lusher Charter School
In true collaborative spirit, Lusher Charter School engineering teacher Matthew Owen and his wife, Laura, are working with Tulane Medical School and local hospitals to create much-needed personal protective equipment, or PPE, for New Orleans hospital employees to protect them from COVID-19. The Owens are working with medical students and other engineers and students on designs for PPE.
Laura Owen, a support services teacher at Lusher, spearheaded the effort with medical students who contacted hospitals about their needs. When they discovered that the teachers had access to Lusher’s 3D printers, the med students planned a Zoom call with the couple and developed a design to print.
With permission from the school, the Owens brought three 3D printers and supplies home to begin the project. Laura learned how to use the 3D printers and the Owens got to work printing the frames for the masks.
“They have now been by twice to pick up the 3D-printed frames from us and some other supplies we had ordered, like thin plastic sheets and rubber bands for assembly and distribution,” Matthew Owen said. “The design is based on a Prusa protective shield, but simplified so that we can print them faster.”
The Owens are making the part of the mask pictured at left. The couple are now laser-cutting the frames, which can be produced faster and are more durable. They have made more than 200 so far and will continue doing so as they are needed.
“We have spent so much time with these printers that we have given them names: Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara,” said Laura Owen. “Much like their namesakes, they have proven to be true champions during this time. Matt and I are eager to share with our students how important collaboration, creativity and philanthropy is right now.”
“And engineering!” Matt added. “This is a real-life engineering problem. I can’t wait to share the process we used to find the best solution, and how it can really make a difference to our heroes in the medical field.”
He plans on sharing what the couple has done with his students and make a project out of it in the future.