“Not all heroes wear capes.”
Ohioans are embracing this phrase. It’s an homage to Ohio Department of Health director, Dr. Amy Acton, her response to the COVID-19 crisis, and the nurses and doctors standing on the frontline treating those affected by the novel virus.
But with the on-going, worldwide shortage of medical supplies, including safety visors, healthcare providers are unable to keep themselves safe and prevent further spread of the virus.
Lorain County Community College is helping to fight the spread.
Using equipment from the Patsie C. and Dolores Jeneé Campana Center for Ideation and Invention at LCCC, the college is 3D printing headbands for safety visor kits that include five sheets of off-the-shelf acetate transparency material to create the replaceable shield. The kits are being delivered to the Lorain County Office of Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security, which is distributing them to local medical facilities in the greatest need.
As they ramp up production, the college is now producing up to 100 kits a day — and those involved are doing it all from their homes.
“We had just left campus because of the order from Governor DeWine when I got the request to fabricate some personal protective equipment,” said Kelly Zelesnik, dean of the engineering, business and information technologies division. “So we turned around and grabbed every table-top printer we could.”
The LCCC team has 12 printers spread across four homes running 24/7, creating mini manufacturing floors wherever they have space. They’re doing everything from sourcing and ordering materials to printing parts to packaging the kits. The LCCC Foundation’s Lifeshare Legacy Fund is providing funding for the supplies and materials.
Christopher Leon, LCCC graduate and lab instructional assistant, knew immediately he wanted to be part of the process, doing his part to prevent the spread.
“We all need to pitch in to help the fight any way we can,” Leon said. “I happen to know 3D printing and we have been fortunate enough to have the college’s leadership helping us in every way they can.”
The safety visor kit production is a critical component of LCCC’s overall response to the crisis, and one that the college was in a unique position to offer.
“This campus is the community’s resource and should be used to support the community in this time of great need,” said LCCC president, Marcia Ballinger, Ph.D. “Because of this capability, we can jump into action to quickly go from prototype to a product that is in desperate need – one that can protect and save lives of our residents.”
Zelesnik noted that the immediate impact of the team’s work – helping those on the frontlines stay safe – isn’t the only positive outcome. Experiential education is happening too.
“This has been eye opening,” said Ryan Corrigan, lab instructional assistant. “To see what our small team was able to come up with in a few short days is amazing. In the midst of this crisis, we are faced with a worldwide shortages of things. And we are able to make one of them.”
About the Campana Center for Ideation and Invention
The Campana Center for Ideation and Invention at Lorain County Community College empowers those in Lorain County to take their innovative ideas and turn them into products. The Campana Center does this by giving residents access to cutting-edge digital and additive manufacturing labs, interactive collaboration space, and hands-on education programs, sparking the full spectrum of making – from idea to prototype to product to business. Funding, in part, for the Center’s equipment has been provided by the Ohio Department of Higher Education RAPIDS Grant Program. The Center is home to Lorain County Community College’s Fab Lab, a 5,000 square foot lab that puts the latest tools and machines for making in the hands of our creative community. LCCC’s Fab Lab was the second in the world designated as a “Super Lab” by The Fab Foundation, a non-profit based out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Bits and Atoms.