A group of students and college-age alumnae from Mayfield Senior School, an all-girls high school in Pasadena, marshalled their engineering know-how to produce and donate hundreds of face masks and shields to Keck Medicine of USC health care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.
Sisters Katherine and Annie Tighe, Mayfield Senior School alumnae and mechanical engineering majors at Duke University, worked overtime to generate physician-approved gear for facilities including Keck Medicine of USC. It takes about two hours to print each mask on their home 3D printer, but they churned out 78 face masks and 52 face shields over just five weeks and recruited more Mayfield students and alumnae to help.
Cameron Gomez, a recent Mayfield graduate, who will be attending USC in the fall, and Caroline Squire, a rising sophomore who has been into robotics since middle school, were inspired by the school’s motto of “Actions Not Words” to join the grassroots personal protective equipment printing project.
“At Mayfield, we are taught to not say you are going to do something, but to just go and do it!”
Caroline said. “After hearing that members from my robotics team were printing 3D masks for essential workers, I realized that I should make use of my printer to help those who are fighting on the front lines.”
Caroline is on track to reach her goal of printing 50 masks per week.
Although Mayfield alumna Elizabeth Nail, a UCLA mechanical engineering major, didn’t have access to a 3D printer at home, she used her technical expertise to resurrect a dormant CraftBot printer from Mayfield’s robotics lab. While it was a “pretty quick” fix, the old printer requires constant recalibration, so production is slower than she’d like. But it’s totally worth it, she says.
“I’ve printed a lot of things over the last couple of years—Halloween costumes, toothbrush caps, avionics boards for rockets—but nothing has been as cool as making something that could literally protect someone’s life,” Elizabeth said. “My mom works in health care, and she was given just one N95 to last a week, so the shortage of masks hospitals are facing is something that could directly affect my own life, and I’m grateful to be able to help in this tiny way.”