personal protective equipment

Hamden High School Student Helping Fill PPE Shortage

Hamden team using 3D printers to make protective face shields

NBC Universal, Inc.

While students around Connecticut adapt to distance learning there’s one Hamden student teaching lessons of his own. Lessons on how to make a difference and help a community in need.

Hamden High School junior Conner Larocque has been paying attention to what’s being done around the world to address the PPE shortage.

“Italy started 3D printing stuff in hospitals a few weeks ago and that kind of kickstarted a whole movement of making personal protective equipment,” said Larocque.

Inspired, Larocque set out to make a difference. He started manufacturing protective shields using his own 3D printer and two borrowed from the Eli Whitney museum.

 “I figured they shouldn’t just be sitting unused when they could be helping people,” he explained.

Larocque didn’t stop there. He also connected with a mechanical engineer, Bruce Crowder.

“Together we started making frames (for the shield) and immediately found people who were in desperate need,” said Crowder.

Those who needed them included a wide range of emergency service groups and health organizations around Hamden.

To help meet the demand this manufacturing duo will soon have an additional resource. Hamden High School will donate use of their 3D printer to create more shields and headbands.

“There’s a model that you can make in about 30 minutes for each one and there’s a different model that takes about two and a half hours in order to print for each one,” said Gabe Jenkins, HECA instructor at Hamden High School.

This Hamden team has already created hundreds of face shields and there’s no plan to stop any time soon.

“I have printers at home so I can just keep cranking these out,” said Crowder. “As many as I can and I’ll keep doing that as long as there’s a need.”

Crowder also wants to encourage anyone else with a 3D printer to follow their lead. As he explained, there’s a great need for these shields in many professions around Connecticut.

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