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3D Printers used to create masks during COVID-19 outbreak

Posted: 5:38 PM, Mar 23, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-24 23:02:32-04
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The use of 3D printers has become critical to creating face masks for health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Governor Bill Lee announced that eight higher education schools and universities are printing face shields.

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"These face shields will allow a health care worker to extend the use of their face masks when dealing with COVID patients," explained Gov. Lee. "I show this because it's just one small example of a way that we're utilizing our higher institutions of learning, the manufacturing companies across Tennessee, our private sector health providers - all working together to increase the supply of personal protective equipment that will allow our incredibly important, front-line health care workers to operate safely."

Some of the schools participating are:

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A 3D printer inside MTSU’s James E. Walker Library makes face shield headbands that will be shipped to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency for distribution to health care workers treating coronavirus patients across the state. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Smile Direct Club is one company helping to supply hospitals with equipment. It opened its manufacturing facility to print face masks, face shields, respirator valves and other supplies.

The company urges medical supply companies and health organizations to contact them directly at resilience@smiledirectclub.com to determine if the company can be of assistance. Specifically, SmileDirectClub is able to print materials using STL 3D printing files, and once provided can quickly offer manufacturing capacity. SmileDirectClub also has a global HIPAA-trained contact center team and support system to assist in health aid efforts.