RMS Teachers Use 3d Printers

Technology Teachers at Robbinsdale Middle School Use 3D Printers to Create Ventilator Supplies
Posted on 04/08/2020
A box of ventilator splittersThe COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted society, however, educators within Robbinsdale Area Schools continue to inspire students to think about ways to help our larger community.

An immediate concern within the healthcare community is a potential shortage of ventilators, which are used for people who need breathing assistance due to the COVID-19 virus. Two technology teachers from Robbinsdale Middle School, in Robbinsdale, Minn., are using the school’s 3D printers to create ‘splitters’ which can be used to increase the capacity of ventilators. The splitters allow one ventilator to be used for two or four patients at one time.

Gateway to Technology teachers Jared Severson and Joseph Meyers read about the need for splitters in the professional publication ITEEA (International Technology and Engineering Educators Association). The publication linked to the Colorado Makers Unite website, which listed printing templates and donation sites. The splitters Mr. Severson and Mr. Meyers are making will be donated to Project CURE (projectcure.org) and distributed to hospitals in need.

“We thought this was a great way for us to help out others using the resources we have,” said Mr. Severson. “As an International Baccalaureate school, we are encouraged to think about our larger community and outside our own little bubbles that we live in,” he continued.

So far, the teachers have printed 56 dual splitters (for two patient use) and 21 quad splitters (for four patient use). They plan to donate the splitters this week.

“We will use this when we get back to school to show students how we use these machines and use the design process in a real world application,” Mr. Meyers said. Prior to schools moving to Distance Learning, students were designing dragsters and key chains, and printing them using the 3D printers. “We will have some examples of ventilator splinters that did not print out correctly that we will show the students. One thing that we constantly tell our students is that, in the design process, mistakes will happen and are a way to learn. I think this will be a good way to reinforce to students that we learn from our mistakes and come out better in the end because of them,” said Mr. Meyers.