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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

Museum Of Science & Industry Using 3D Printers To Make Masks, Face Shields For Health Care Workers

More than 100 shield holders and about 50 mask holders have been made so far using the printers from the museum's Fab Lab. "We’re not going to stop once [the pandemic starts] to slow," director of science Manny Juarez said.

An example of the mask holders being created by staffers at the Museum of Science and Industry. The design is approved by the National Institutes of Health.
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HYDE PARK — Staffers at the Museum of Science and Industry, closed until at least April 30, are using the museum’s 3D printers to create holders for protective face masks and face shields.

More than 100 shield holders and about 50 mask holders have been made so far using the printers from the museum’s Fab Lab, director of science and integrated strategies Manny Juarez said.

The mask holder allows a single N95 mask to be cut up and used three or four times, according to Juarez.

The NIH-approved face shield cover being printed at the museum.

The donations are coordinated through the city’s supply drive, and museum officials have requested the equipment go to organizations around the South Side, Juarez said.

Advocate Trinity Hospital, 2320 E. 93rd St., is one of the potential recipients of supplies from the city’s South Side hub.

Once Fab Lab senior manager Dan Meyer finishes tweaking the 3D printers and equipment designs, staffers will be sent home with printers to produce from home. Production should “ramp up” once that happens, Juarez said.

As more equipment is made, the museum could branch out and donate to daycares, grocers and other essential businesses, as there’s “never a shortage of uses” for protective equipment, he said.

“We’re not going to stop once [the pandemic starts] to slow,” Juarez said. “We’ll continue to make and distribute them to people who will need them every day.”

There’s no way for the public to get directly involved with the museum’s project, but Juarez encouraged neighbors to check out the city’s resource page and find their own ways to help health care workers fight COVID-19.

“We hope that, being a public institution and a Chicago museum, people follow and know and trust us and we’ll help inspire them,” he said. “Go out and do something that’s beneficial.”

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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