New Bucks County, PA Fab Lab Makes Plastic PPEs

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Recently Opened Mobile Digital Fabrication Lab Supports COVID-19.

Over the last two years, TIES has partnered with Intermediate Unit 22 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania to enhance their STEM program by designing and implementing a Mobile Digital Fabrication Lab. Opened in September 2019, the lab made 80 plastic face masks for county emergency health care workers, with production of hundreds more to come.

Seven 3-D printers created the plastic headbands, which are attached to a clear, plastic acrylic sheet made with the lab’s laser cutting equipment. The headband design was based off schematics from Cornell University shared with Sides. The county reviewed and approved the prototype Sides made, allowing the FAB LAB to begin production of up to 200 masks per week.

Initially purchased and equipped by the IU using a $412,000 PAsmart grant administered by the state’s Department of Education, the mobile fab lab has several 3-D printers, a silhouette portrait fabricator, vinyl cutter, computer numerical controller router, laser cutter and various other pieces of robotics and STEAM-related devices.

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