University of Maryland (UMD) aerospace engineering senior Quinn Kupec is using his 3D printer and engineering know how to produce face shields for area hospitals looking for personal protective equipment (PPE).

According to Kupec, he took the initiative to start producing the masks after reading discussions on 3D printing forums about people 3D printing face shields for hospitals in need.

“Originally I was only planning to make a handful of shields,” explained Kupec. But when I got in contact with a hospital that was requesting donations they told me how desperately they needed the shields. After that I worked to increase my production rate so I could make as many shields as possible.”

Kupec’s design consists of his custom 3D printed band and a simple, clear plastic report cover. Both pieces can be sterilized and reused.

His original model took almost five hours to make, but with modifications, he has been able to speed up his production time.

To date, he has printed 250 face shields that he has donated to area hospitals, including University of Maryland Medical System’s Prince George's Hospital Center and St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington D.C. 

“The fact that hospitals are so in need that they are turning to college students making medical equipment out of their apartments with 3D printers and office supplies is really stunning to me,” said Kupec, when asked about what has surprised him since taking on this project. “I also think it's really interesting that 3D printing technology has evolved to the point where we can do this.”

KVRR television out of Fargo, N.D. recently highlighted Kupec’s work 3D printing PPE. His hometown of Moorhead, Minn. is just over the border from Fargo.

Watch the clip.

Before the current health crisis, Kupec, whose interests are in astrodynamics, was doing research with Professors Mary Bowden and David Akin in the Maryland Space Grant Consortium Balloon Payload Program/Space Systems Lab on ultra-low ballistic coefficient entry decelerators for reentry vehicles.

As an aerospace engineering student, Kupec’s academic success has earned him a Chairs Award and a Balloon Payload Scholarship. In addition, he serves as the student chair for UMD’s student chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

After graduation, Kupec will be working at a.i. solutions inc. on their FreeFlyer astrodynamics software.

“He really is an outstanding individual,” said Dr. Norman Wereley, department chair and Minta Martin Professor of Aerospace Engineering. “This [work in 3D printing PPE] does not surprise me because he has a great sense of altruism.”

Related Articles:
Maryland Engineers Receive Coronavirus Research Seed Fund Awards
COVID-19: Aerospace Engineers Contribute Needed Supplies
Protection Collections Abound for Local Health Care Workers
Clark School Engineers Create Solutions for a Crisis

April 28, 2020

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“The fact that hospitals are so in need that they are turning to college students making medical equipment out of their apartments with 3D printers and office supplies is really stunning to me.”

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