Lake Michigan College makes face shields for everyone from cashiers to police officers

Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan College's Fab Lab

Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan College's Fab Lab

Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan College's Fab Lab

Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan College's Fab Lab

Photo courtesy of Lake Michigan College's Fab Lab

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.— Essential staff members at Lake Michigan College’s fab lab are spending their time giving back to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic by producing face shields.

Three staff members are working in shifts inside of the fabrication “fab” lab on Lake Michigan College’s campus to create 3-D printed face shields to be used by everyone from police officers to grocery store cashiers.

“We’ve had some long term care facilities that have reached out and we’ve had some individuals reach out and have said 'hey, I work with the public and I’d like one' and we’d be more than happy to supply you with one,” said Chad Dee, Director of the Hanson Technology Center at Lake Michigan College.

As of Wednesday morning, the team had already made about 100 head bands for the shields as they await the delivery of more materials. The first round of face shields will be given out on Monday.

“Twenty-one of the law enforcement agencies in Berrien County have all requested them,” Dee said.

Dee and his team are making them for free to give to organizations and to community members who want them. 

“There are great for food line workers and cafeterias that are prepping school lunches that are being passed out, they’re great for cashiers,” Dee said, adding that they’ve also received requests from home healthcare agencies, too. 

The team is 3D printing the shields’ head bands and lasering acrylic for them also. They then use the lasers to cut the vinyl shields. 

Dee said sanitation is a huge part of their process and the face shields go through a cleaning before they’re sent out.

“We’re going to wipe everything down and then seal them in bags and one of the safety precautions that is out there is to actually store them for three days in a sealed bag just as an extra precautionary measure,” Dee said.

As a whole, Lake Michigan College’s health sciences programs donated hundreds of personal protective equipment such as gowns, masks, and gloves to area hospitals as its campuses shut down in-person activities.

Classes at Lake Michigan College will be held online for the remainder of the semester in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus locally.

Organizations or community members interested in requesting shields can email [email protected] for more information.

For information about supporting the school’s COVID-19 response, visit the college’s website.

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