Florence schools print 3D pieces for DCHS to turn BiPAP machines into ventilators

 3D print machine (WLUC Photo)
3D print machine (WLUC Photo) (WLUC)
Published: Apr. 29, 2020 at 3:16 PM EDT
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The Florence County School District is using 3D printing machines to help Dickinson County Healthcare System in Iron Mountain. Several homemade t-pieces, will be used in the fight against COVID-19.

"That will help DCHS, use the machines that they already have and convert them into ventilators,” said the Florence County School AP clerk Amanda Yadro.

The Respiratory Care Supervisor at DCHS, Michael Oswald, says right now they are having a very difficult time getting ventilators.

"We can build our own circuits out of corrugated tubing, but the piece that is really hard to get is this T-piece,” he said.

Because of this, Florence County School are chipping in Yadro says the 3D printers work a lot like a hot glue gun.

"They heat up the plastic, and they send out just a very small little bead of it, and then the computer controls it, and tells it exactly where to go and what to print,” she said.

Florence County has a ‘Fab Lab,’ with 3 of these printers that allows around 3 to 6 pieces to be made every day. That adds up approximately 10 a week.

As the demand is very high right now for medical equipment, the 40 to 50 pieces will have DCHS, right here in iron Mountain. Oswald says this help tremendously.

"Right now we have 4 state of the art ICU ventilators, but if it gets to the point we have the ability to expand,” he said.

Florence Schools are just happy to help.

"It's amazing because we're such a small and we're able to have the ability to do that,” said Yadro.

A batch of 10 T-pieces have already been dropped off, with more coming soon.