Austin Community College (ACC) faculty and staff are creating essential personal protective equipment to help keep employees and the community safe and prepared during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Facial Coverings using Fashion Lab
The Fashion Design Program is leading a project in partnership with Campus Operations to cut and assemble non-medical facial coverings for essential ACC employees who continue to work on campus.
The facial coverings have been cut at the Fashion Lab at ACC Highland by employees. Twenty-five employees and students are assembling the coverings. Approximately 400 have been distributed so far.
“We had to think about how to make mass quantities in a safe environment. The Fashion Lab is a great space, but we need to maintain safe social distancing practices. We’re bringing in students and other employees who know how to sew and have asked ‘how can I help?’ This has been a great opportunity for them to step up,” says Victoria Taylor, Fashion Design department chair.
Once the fabric is cut, it’s bundled together with other supplies and distributed to students and employees to pick up and take home to assemble. More fabric is being delivered to the college in the coming week and should make an additional 1,500 facial coverings.
The college also plans to cut 5,000 facial coverings to provide Travis County for countywide needs.
Face Shields using 3D printers
The college also is using its 3D printers to produce face shields. The Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design Program began producing shields last week.
Faculty and staff can create approximately 20 to 25 visors each day, using two machines available on campus. To date, they’ve produced 30 visors and have collected enough plastic materials to keep production running.
“The most difficult material to find has been the PET/clear plastic material for the actual face shield/lens,” says Doug Smith, A&E CAD department chair. “We worked closely with our partners at the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association to source more materials. Now, we’re on track to produce roughly 300 shields.”
The shields will be delivered to the Austin-regional public health consortium.
Ear Protectors using 3D printers
ACC’s Art Program also is using 3D printers to create ear protectors for first responders. To date, faculty and staff have created 200 ear protectors. The protectors are a slotted strap worn behind the head that can securely hold a face mask in place.
The first frames were delivered to the COVID-19 Rangers in Round Rock.