MECC Staff Producing Face Shields for Area Medical Personnel

Jake Gilley face Shield

Big Stone Gap – Mountain Empire Community College faculty and staff have joined a regional effort by higher education institutions to help produce face shields needed by local medical personnel to protect against the COVID-19 virus.

MECC Computer-Aided Drafting and Design Instructor Jake Gilly said he has turned a corner in his home into a makeshift manufacturing center to produce the masks with two 3-D printers working simultaneously.
Gilly, who had already brought one 3-D printer to his home in order to teach classes online this semester, launched a partnership with Streamworks in Kingsport to download a face shield template and start producing the masks this week. He’s joined a regional effort by Eastman, Ballad Health, Northeast State, East Tennessee State University, UVA-Wise and others to support medical personnel through 3-D printing capabilities.  

Two other MECC staff, Kody Witt and Courtney Hay, have also joined the effort, working from home.

“We’re printing the head pieces for the face shields,” Gilly said. “We will send these to Streamworks to distribute to Ballad Health locally. It takes an hour and twenty minutes to print one, and I have two printers going right now. I was able to make 10 last night. It’s our hope that we can supply hundreds for this effort.”
Gilly noted that Prusa3D, one of the biggest 3-D print companies, has provided open source templates for 3-D printers to use.  MECC already had supplies ordered to support classroom instruction for the spring and summer. Gilly said he has shifted those supplies to produce the needed masks and is incorporating the process into his online instruction.
We want to help them get as many as we can,” said Gilly. “I’m thankful that we can help and honored to work with such great people.” 
For more information on Mountain Empire Community College or the 3-D printing program, please visit www.mecc.edu or call the MECC Office of Community Relations at 276.523.7480.