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Special Instruments Training course instructors 3D-print medical supplies

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Tracy Gibbs, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course graduate, prepares a 3D printed N95 face mask to be printed through modeling software at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. In an effort to help protect those caring for sick individuals around the world, a neurosurgeon in Billings, Montana, made a model available online for a free 3D printable, high-efficiency filtration mask with a design that allows reuse of the mask. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Tech. Sgt. Tracy Gibbs, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course graduate, prepares a 3D printed N95 face mask to be printed through modeling software at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. In an effort to help protect those caring for sick individuals around the world, a neurosurgeon in Billings, Mo., made a model available online for a free 3D printable, high-efficiency filtration mask with a design that allows reuse of the mask. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor supervisor, cuts the clear, plastic shield for the 3D printed face shields at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. Many SPINSTRA instructors have personal 3-D printers home, providing more resources to the project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor supervisor, cuts the clear, plastic shield for the 3D printed face shields at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The SPINSTRA instructor team is 3D printing a series of medical supply prototypes in hopes of providing the local medical facilities with more face masks and shields.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor supervisor, demonstrates a prototype of a 3D printed face shield at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. Kramer, as well as other SPINSTRA instructors, own personal 3-D printers, providing more resources to the project. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor supervisor, demonstrates a prototype of a 3D printed face shield at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The SPINSTRA instructor team is 3D printing a series of medical supply prototypes in hopes of providing the local medical facilities with more face masks and shields.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor, prepares a 3D printed face shield at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The SPINSTRA instructor team is 3D printing a series of medical supply prototypes in hopes of providing the local medical facilities with more face masks and shields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor, prepares a 3D printed face shield at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The SPINSTRA instructor team is 3D printing a series of medical supply prototypes in hopes of providing the local medical facilities with more face masks and shields. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor, and Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th TRS SPINSTRA instructor supervisor, prepare and don  3D printed face shields at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The instructors got the idea after seeing other organizations modeling and printing these supplies to provide for medical facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th Training Squadron Special Instruments Training course instructor and Tech. Sgt. Donald Kramer, 312th TRS SPINSTRA instructor supervisor, prepare and don 3D-printed face shields at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. The instructors got the idea after seeing other organizations modeling and printing these supplies to provide for medical facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

A 3D printer creates a prototype N95 face mask at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. This is the medical regulation/grade personal protective equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

A 3D printer creates a prototype N95 face mask at the Louis F Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy on Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, March 31, 2020. This is the medical regulation/grade personal protective equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Robyn Hunsinger)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFNS) --

The 312th Training Squadron’s Special Instruments Training course instructors have begun using their skills to 3D print prototypes to supply the medical facilities in the area with N95 face masks and face shields.

A neurosurgeon in Billings, Montana, worked with a dental company to create reusable plastic N95 masks using 3D printers. In an effort to help protect those caring for sick individuals around the world, he made a model available online for a free 3D printable, high-efficiency filtration mask with a design that allows reuse of the mask several times due to the replaceable filtration device.

Instructors got the idea from Air Force Quarantine University, a public Facebook group for innovative learners to connect during the COVID-19 crisis, where they saw other organizations modeling and printing these supplies.

“We saw other people 3D printing medical supplies and we thought we should try printing things like face masks and face shields,” said Master Sgt. Manuel Campo, 312th TRS SPINSTRA flight chief.

SPINSTRA has an innovation lab containing four 3D printers as well as 3D modeling software. Although they are unsure of the needs of the 17th Medical Group and surrounding hospitals, they plan to continue to create these medical supplies in case they are needed in the future.

“We plan to present what we have created to the medical group to see if we can meet their needs and print what they need,” said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Bahr, 312th TRS SPINSTRA instructor.

Medical professionals wear personal protective equipment to protect themselves and minimize exposure. This PPE usually consists of a face mask, gloves, and goggles or a face shield.

“The most realistic option for us to make was the face shields,” Bahr said. “The purpose of the face shield is to extend the use of the face mask. The goal is to reduce the number of masks being used and thrown out after one use.”

In the future, if more masks and shields are needed to be printed, they plan to allow students to begin assisting in this project. Instructors have also reached out to other facilities on Goodfellow AFB with 3D printers to provide more medical supplies. There are even instructors with personal 3D printers providing more supplies from home.

“If we can use our skills to help, we plan to do so,” Campo said. “We want to do everything we can to help.”