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Baylor Libraries use 3D printing to make tension-relief bands for first responders

Posted at 3:56 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 16:56:59-04

WACO, TX — Baylor University Libraries are utilizing their resources to produce tools used in healthcare worker's personal protective equipment (PPE).

Health care professionals at Family Health Center Waco have received 550 3D printed surgical mask tension-relief bands produced on equipment from the Baylor University Libraries.

“We saw an opportunity to use our 3D printers to solve an immediate and timely need by jumping onto this project,” said Andrew Telep, assistant director for the Experiential Learning Commons at Baylor Libraries. “If it makes wearing a mask even slightly more comfortable for the health care workers doing all they can to protect our community, it is well worth the effort.”

The collaboration began with a personal connection between Telep and Fernando Arroyo, chief of staff at the FHC.

Arroyo shared how the physicians, nurses and medical staff at 16 clinics were spending hours wearing masks to protect them from the especially virulent and easily spread novel coronavirus.

Arroyo expressed interest in obtaining something like a tension-relief band to make wearing surgical masks for long periods more comfortable.

Telep says he discovered that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website featured a set of 3D-printing plans for a small band that, when worn across the back of the head, provides hooks for the facemasks’ rubber bands.

The bands hook onto the tension-relief band instead of a person’s ears, making the mask more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time.

Telep’s work overseeing the ELC provides access to several 3D printers, which are normally used to support student and faculty research and projects.

Telep says it was a matter of preparing the models for printing, loading the printers with filament and repeating the print process.

Telep delivered the tension-relief bands to Arroyo and the FHC on April 15, and is keeping the printers running as long as there is a need for the devices.

He has begun work on another batch of hundreds of bands at the request of Taylor Ulmer, an administrative resident at Baylor Scott & White and a master’s candidate at Baylor in health care administration

Anyone with a 3D printer at home who wants to join in the effort can find the model on the NIH website at HERE.