Missouri S&T students working on 3-D printed face masks, shields to help shortage from the coronavirus

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ROLLA, Mo. -- Dozens of 3-D printers are humming away at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Students are hard at work designing and putting together two different personal protection equipment products for doctors and nurses - face shields and face masks.

Phelps Health, a hospital just steps from the university, contacted Missouri S&T to see if they could help with the shortage.

"We have a supply right now, but that supply is limited. So, eventually, we will run out," said Dr. Brian Kriete, Phelps Health Medical Group.

The face mask is made of several parts, and has removable filters so the whole apparatus can be used over and over.

It doesn't take long for the 3-D mask to be ready to wear.

"If we're starting from start to end, we can get you a completed mask in about three to four hours," said one of the students on the project.

Kriete said he's been making sure the students know the important information of what the medical field needs to be able to use the equipment.

"The fit is critical, if it doesn't fit well, the mask is essentially useless," Kriete said.

Doctors and nurses aren't testing the products yet, but students are hopeful their work will benefit them.

"We understand that there is a need right now that we can help supply, and until the day comes where we can no longer supply it, we will continue to work towards that goal," said Project Manger Max Foley, a Missouri S&T senior.

The team is waiting for approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the face masks, but is continuing to make the face shields.

The project is in the early stages but those on the team at Missouri S&T making these face masks and shields hope that this technology can be shared to help address the shortage in other places.