3D printers at Tennessee Tech used to help fight COVID-19

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee Tech University is responding to the call to fight COVID-19 with 3D printing.

The university is using the printers to make hundreds of headbands for facemasks to meet a need for medical workers.

University officials got the call Saturday morning to work with the state and within only a few hours they were able to start production on the mask.

“It feels fantastic and it really just feels like another day on the job for me,” student Hunter Hinshaw told News 2.

He is able to operate one of the labs with 6 machines on his own. Each machine is making 4 headbands at a time.

“As of now, this space alone has produced 48 and I know our total count for campus as a whole is well over 100,” he explained.

It’s not your typical spring break for Tennessee Tech students like Hinshaw. He spent his weekend using his 3D printing skills to volunteer for a much greater need.

“This is want we do, rather it’s student needs or community needs we are here to make dreams a reality and what we we can do to help the state, we are happy to do it,” he said.

There are around a half dozen labs on campus producing the masks and university officials say the initiative has already spread across partner institutions and community members in Overton, Clay and Jackson counties.

“This is a way that people can actually help. I know that a lot of people kind of feel helpless at the moment so if they have a 3D printer they can do this from the safety of their own home,” said Michael Aikens, the Tennessee Center for Rural Innovation Director.

Aikens says the volunteer efforts from students, teacher and everyone in the community will help in the state wide goal of producing 10-thousand headbands and that the call to help shows a silver lining in the middle of a pandemic.

“This really speaks to the tenacity and volunteer spirit that we have up here on the upper cumberland,” said Aikens.

Tennessee Tech’s goal is to produce around 300 headbands by Tuesday.

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