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Student uses 3D printer to make protective shields

LA PORTE, Ind. --- A La Porte Middle School student is lending a helping hand to local medical professionals working on the front lines during the nation-wide personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage.

During Spring Break, 8th grade student Ian Bos could spend his free time doing anything, but he decided to put his skills to the test and 3D print protective shields for medical professionals in the community.

“Things like these can go a long way in struggling times like this,” Ian Bos said, an eighth grader at La Porte Middle School.

Ian Bos is an aspiring engineer and when he found out faculty members at La Porte Middle School and La Porte High School were printing off 3D protective shields to donate to a local hospital, he knew he wanted to join in from home using his own 3D printer.

“Ian always likes a challenge,” Ellen Bos said, Ian’s Mother. “And he loves using his 3D printer and he likes to stay busy working on projects, so with this pandemic when we’re stuck at home it’s a little rough.”

Ian started printing out the designs and got right to work. It takes about 2 hours to make one shield, but Ian said it is a rather simple process.

“All I have to do is download the file, put it on the printer and press a few buttons,” Ian Bos said.

Ian got his start just a few days ago and so far he has made 10 masks with no plans of calling it quits. After the protective shield masks are made, they plan to sterilize them and send them off to La Porte High School.

“Then they’re going to put them together with the transparency sheets,” Ellen Bos said.

“I can make a decent amount, but just myself isn’t going to be enough,” Ian Bos said.

With the help of Ian and faculty members at La Porte, they will have complete protective shields to send off to the local hospital. If everyone could step in and make their own type of mask, the community could help tackle the shortage, according to Ian.

“He can inspire other kids to think ‘Hey, what can I do,’” Ellen Bos said.

“People need these, so if every single person could do all they could to make masks and all that, then we could not have a shortage,” Ian Bos said.

To fight that shortage, Ian plans to make the protective shields for as long as he can and encourages others who might be able to help to check in with the closest hospital to see if they are in need of PPE masks.

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