Digital Media Lab 3D Printed Face Shields

Digital Media Lab 3D Printing Farm

The Digital Media Lab at UMass Amherst Libraries has been leading the production of 3D printed components for face shields.

Working as part of the UMass Amherst COVID-19 Response Teams, the Digital Media Lab in the W.E.B Du Bois Library has been leading efforts to produce 3D printed personal protective equipment (PPE).  Hospitals and healthcare services have been hit with a shortage of face shields and other PPE that are essential to their work of saving lives during this viral pandemic.

Sarah Hutton, The Head of Student Success and Engagement in the W.E.B Du Bois Library and Steve Acquah, The Digital Media Lab Coordinator and Adjunct Associate Professor of Chemistry have been coordinating the response to the 3D printed solutions.  Acquah says, “Innovation Hubs, Makerspaces and Libraries are all activating their large clusters of 3D printers to produce PPE, making an impact in supporting their communities.”

Dennis Spencer, the 3D Printing Services Supervisor in the Digital Media Lab, has been central to the operations of our response and our collaboration with partners in modifying the components of the face shields and masks, and operating the 3D Print Farm (fifty 3D printers) to produce over 1155 face shields. The Digital Media Lab also used their Makerbot and Ultimaker printers to make test prints of visor clips, and hinged clips redesigned by Dave Follette (UMass Amherst Advanced Digital and Design Fabrication Lab) for face shields.


Part of the Digital Media Lab 3D Printing Farm.
3D Printed Designs for Face Shields.
Denis Spencer - 3D Printing Services Supervisor.

The company Makerbot donated 27 rolls of 3D printing filament and 5 extruders in preparation for a surge in requests for PPE. Dennis has been working in collaboration with members of the local community, including Michael Knoes who volunteered to assemble the 3D printed headbands from the DML with the clear plastic visors and deliver the completed face shields to hospitals and care facilities, including the Soldiers' Home In Holyoke.

The Digital Media Lab is also working with:

A team from The Science and Engineering Library, including Rebecca Reznik-Zellen and Paulina Borrego provided support for a medical librarian collaborative research initiative looking into face shield designs and patents. In addition to this, the face shield prototype diagnostic collection produced by Sarah Hutton is being used as an essential tool for the Digital Media Lab COVID-19 Response Team at UMass Amherst, and other institutions.

Acquah says, “The way the maker communities have come together at this time does show overtones of The Little Ships of Dunkirk, and while the nature of the situation is different, the conviction to help in a time of need is the same.”


The Team

Sarah Hutton - Head of Student Success and Engagement
Steve Acquah - Digital Media Lab Coordinator, Adjunct Associate Professor of Chemistry, Director of GEOSET
Dennis Spencer- 3D Printing Services Supervisor
Rebecca Reznik-Zellen - Head of the Science and Engineering Library
Paulina Borrego - Science and Engineering Librarian
David Follette - Director of Advanced Digital and Design Fabrication, UMass Core Facilities
Michael Noes - Community Collaborator

*Advice from the medical experts in the UMass Amherst COVID-19 Response Teams


In the News

UMass Amherst Libraries
Association of Research Libraries
Daily Hampshire Gazette

April 22, 2020