By Contributing Writer - April 21, 2020
When the COVID-19 pandemic started to escalate, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) knew they could help alleviate some of the burdens on first responders and health care systems who were facing a shortage of essential personal protective equipment (PPE). MOSI quickly began using their 3D printers to make face shields for frontline staff.
The museum’s Chief Operating Officer Rob Lamke saw a Moffitt Cancer Center social media post requesting the community’s support in making masks for team members. Lamke quickly contacted the cancer center offering to donate MOSI’s supply of 3D face shields.
Leading the production and donation of pertinent PPE was a charge Lamke was honored to help facilitate. MOSI has a long-standing relationship with Moffitt through the cancer center’s Healthy KIDZ program. And he recently lost his father to cancer.
“It was our turn to support our friends at Moffitt,” insisted Lamke.
MOSI purchased the 3D printers eight years ago. “We wanted to broaden our STEM programing. It allowed us to demonstrate prototyping and create new interactive displays for museumgoers,” Lamke explained.
The 3D printers operate very much like traditional inkjet printers, but instead of using ink, the printer deposits layers of molten plastic or powder, fusing them together to create an object using adhesive or ultraviolet light.
To ensure the quality control and that the face shields were acceptable for medical use, Lamke said MOSI had the National Institute of Health test and clinically review all their designs. He also added the masks are relatively inexpensive to make, costing about $1 and taking about 90 minutes to print.
Moffitt’s Supply Chain Director Jay Wright says patient-facing clinicians will benefit most from the face shields.
“It means a lot to Moffitt to see the community support that has poured in to help the institution,” said Wright. “MOSI’s face shields will help protect our staff from potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus.”
While MOSI remains temporarily closed to visitors in accordance with social distancing guidelines, their technology continues to support the local community’s fight in preventing the spread of the virus.