While some have been binging Netflix or making Tik Toks during the coronavirus chaos, LHS junior Sontino Allentuck has taken this time to found Western Massachusetts 3D-Printing Collaborative (WMPC). The Collaborative is working on 3D printing ventilators and face masks for hospitals that are being overwhelmed by the outbreak and are short on supplies.
“We wanted to help in some way. We heard about engineers in Italy that were creating 3D printing supplies for local hospitals,” Sontino says. He and his family began the Collaborative about a week ago, and since then Sontino has enlisted help from his close friends and other students that he works with on the robotics team at LHS.
“The main goal,” Sontino says, “is to really just coordinate efforts right now and work towards solutions because it’s still not set in stone what’s the best method and everything’s really haphazard right now. We’re just trying to coordinate and be a conduit for all of the different companies and businesses and individuals that want to help. And then the hope is that we’re able to mass produce something to help the health and emergency services.”
Sontino has been printing prototypes in his room on a 3D printer he made from a kit, and his friends have been doing the same. Sontino says their “ventilator piece has been approved,” but Senior Sam Barressi is “working on creating a silicone mask which will be less porous.” The Collaborative is still in its formative stages, “we do not have a large supply ready right now, and we do not have the capability right now to have a large amount. So our goal is to expand on that and get workable prototypes and solutions” Sontino says.
Although WMPC has members that are working on coordinating with local businesses, getting universities and colleges on board and people that are contacting hospitals to see what they need, they still need more support. “It’s really important that [students] spread the word in any way they can, like posting on their social media, and if they know anyone with a 3D printer or who can offer help, if students’ parents work someplace that could help or if they want to contribute in any way, we need as much help as we can get,” says Sontino.
Learn more, or sign up to volunteer, at westernmass3d.org
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