St. Thomas Engineer Magazine

Students Produce PPE

Collin Goldbach works with a 3D printer

In April, more than a dozen St. Thomas engineering, education and chemistry students used 3D printers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) to support the Twin Cities medical community during COVID-19. “If you have an opportunity to help, you have a duty to,” said senior mechanical engineering major Collin Goldbach, who started the project. He gathered interested peers via Snapchat and they began creating 3D face shields for local hospitals. The students used a face shield design from St. Cloud State University to streamline the input process for St. Thomas 3D printers. They also created reusable respirator parts.

Minnetronix Medical Inc. heard about the St. Thomas project and offered the use of one of their machines to mold the shields rather than print them, to speed up production. “From the beginning, we’ve had the high-quality manufacturing equipment needed to produce PPE, but we couldn’t put those resources into use until we identified the problem that troubled them the most,” said sophomore Erin Westman. “In class, my engineering professors frequently stress the importance of developing our interpersonal communication and problem-solving skills. Now I understand why.”



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