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San Juan College, businesses partner to create protective equipment

130 face shields provided to frontline workers
Logan Byrom, engineering student at New Mexico Tech, works on face-shield designs using 3D printers at San Juan College’s makerspace.

FARMINGTON – As regional hospitals and health care providers put out requests for personal protective equipment, a New Mexico Tech student started brainstorming how he could help.

Logan Byrom, a Farmington native home for spring break, decided to use resources, such as 3D printers, at San Juan College’s makerspace to create face shields.

The Big Idea makerspace, housed in the college’s Quality Center for Business, has three 3D printers and a laser cutter available to members. Byrom has been involved with the makerspace since it was founded in February 2019.

Byrom also partnered with his father, John Byrom, who is a business development manager at PESCO Inc., an oil and gas equipment company. After researching designs and blueprints, father and son began printing designs and prototypes around March 25, Logan Byrom said.

Dr. Joe Pope with Piñon Family Practice wears a 3D-printed face shield.

With feedback from local medical professionals, they focused on creating protective face shields. A week later, using the 3D printers at the makerspace and seven at PESCO, they began printing plastic parts.

In partnership with ABC Canvas’ owner Cody Waldroup, who provided the clear vinyl shields, John Byrom estimates they have produced about 130 face shields.

“We are grateful for the partnership and support of ABC Canvas and PESCO,” said Dr. Toni Hopper Pendergrass, president of San Juan College. “We are all in this together and want to do everything we can to support each other.”

The 3D printers at PESCO Inc. create parts for face shields donated to San Juan Regional Medical Center.

While most of the face shields were donated to San Juan Regional Medical Center, John Byrom said a few were also given to Piñon Family Practice.

“With the PPE being such a scarcity, we are very appreciative that our local partners could provide what we are unable to find in the open market,” said Piñon Family Practice’s Dr. Joe Pope in a written statement. “These face shields are very sturdy and provide much greater protection from droplet contamination than goggles, which our staff was previously using.”

Logan Byrom has also used the 3D printers at the makerspace to make custom pieces for the hospital. He estimates they’ve printed more than 100 hose adapters for ventilators and adjustment tools for the ventilators. While the designs for the face shields were already available online, the designs for the hose adapters and adjustment tools are specific for the hospital, Logan Byrom said.

Courtesy of San Juan College<br><br>A 3D printer at San Juan College&#x2019;s makerspace produces a stack of face shield parts for San Juan Regional Medical Center.

PESCO bought one shipment of filament for the 3D printers but it is running low, John Byrom said, and the supply of filament could be a potential bottleneck in the process as more communities turn to 3D printers to create protection equipment.

But as the partners continue to manufacture the face shields and ventilator pieces, John Byrom said others in the community can get involved by donating through the foundation at San Juan College, San Juan Regional Medical Center’s COVID-19 response fund or Basin Home Health’s foundation.

Anyone with a 3D printer can contact the college’s makerspace to join the pool of printers.

“It’s kind of neat how the community is coming together to help support the people working on the front lines,” John Byrom said. “We’re just one example.”

lweber@durangoherald.com

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