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PPE Chiloquin

Gabe Preston, a Henley High sophomore, is using a 3-D printer from Chiloquin High School to produce parts to build personal protective equipment for Asante in Medford.

A father-son duo in Klamath County over the weekend started using a 3D printer to help make parts to build much needed personal protective equipment for healthcare workers in Medford during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chiloquin High School Principal Scott Preston and his son, Henley High sophomore Gabe Preston, are making headbands for face shields using Chiloquin High’s 3D printer and plan to send them to Asante this week. The local project is just one example of a wider Southern Oregon effort by Southern Oregon Education Service District in Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath Counties to encourage schools with Career and Technical Education programs to help provide needed personal protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Gabe Preston, 15, is utilizing a pattern designed by Covid SkunkWorks Group, a partner of Talent Maker City, in Talent, Oregon to make the face shield headbands out of his Klamath Falls area home. Talent Maker City is helping with prototypes.

Scott and Gabe are encouraging all schools in Klamath County School District that have access to 3D printers to consider doing the same.

“We make just the headband part, and then they will collect all the headbands and another group of people are making the face shields and other people are making the bands that like tie together,” Gabe said on Monday.

The headband connects to the clear shield while another group is making a rubber band to tie it in the back, Gabe said.

“As a group, they’ll be combined to make the face shields,” he added.

“I thought that was a cool idea to be able to help out the community but doing it in a safe way.”

Once upwards of one dozen are made, Scott Preston said they will send the pieces to Asante in Medford.

“That’d be a cool idea to have more people involved,” Gabe added.

“If we could have more people, more printers working at it, we could have more production.”

Scott Preston said he was contacted with the idea by Southern Oregon Education Service District officials, who brought up the concept of encouraging CTE programs to help in the effort to provide protective equipment for those who need it most.

“Basically they foresee there being a shortfall of those (face shields),” Scott said on Monday.

“We aren’t going to be able to make thousands and thousands by any stretch,” he added. “They take about three to five hours each to print. And so, it’s kind of slow going, but you know if they get 30 or 40 or 50 of them, then that’s 50 extra masks than they had before.”

“It definitely kind of makes you feel good, doing your part,” Scott added.

He said it’s important to send equipment that can be properly received and sterilized for medical use.

Talent Maker City created and vetted the design of the face shield parts for use by medical professionals.

“The students who are working on this with us have been amazing,” said Alli French, programs director at Talent Maker City, in an email. “They have devoted so many hours of their time to help make PPE for the healthcare providers here in Southern Oregon. They are generously providing their innovative minds and their generous hearts to this project. We are lucky to have them as part of the team.

{div}”If students want to participate, we would love their help!” French added. “They can go to our website and sign up to receive notifications on the updated 3D printing files. The current files for printing have been vetted and approved by medical professionals at our local hospitals. Information on drop off locations is also provided — along with information about TMC.”{/div}

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{div}Southern Oregon Education Service District could not be reached for comment for the story by press time.{/div}

For any schools, organizations, or individuals with access to a 3D printer that would like to help produce face shields to help protect healthcare workers during the pandemic, go online to https://bit.ly/39s4yH1.

If your school or organization is making PPE for healthcare workers, let the Herald and News know about it. Send us details at hdillemuth@heraldandnews.com.