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Corps electric engineer ‘makes’ much needed shields

Published April 21, 2020
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IN THE PHOTO, Midsouth Makers prepping the work area for a day of face shield making.

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IN THE PHOTO, the 3D printer in action.

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IN THE PHOTO, Navigational Electrical Engineer Jeffrey Farmer and another Midsouth Maker volunteer packing face shields and getting them ready for delivery.

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IN THE PHOTO, Delivery shields all boxed up and ready to go.

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IN THE PHOTO, a finished face shield.

It’s no secret our country is experiencing a shortage of face masks. Ever since this virus was declared a pandemic, even those working in hospitals can’t seem to get their hands on the very medical supplies they need to do their day-to-day job.

Some hear of the shortage and scramble to get their hands on whatever masks they can find, but not Navigational Electrical Engineer Jeffrey Farmer and the nonprofit group he’s apart of called the “Midsouth Makers.”

According to the their website, they are a group made up of tinkerers, builders, artists, makers, and doers that come together under one roof to form what they call a “makerspace.”

The website further explains, “that by bringing together these people into a common place, they can be established to meet and discuss ideas, explore various technical endeavors, and communicate these thoughts with individuals from various backgrounds. Ultimately we seek to further our knowledge as individuals and as a group by learning what we can from each other.”

When word of the mask shortage became top news, the Midsouth Makers did what they do best, sought a solution to a major and troublesome problem.

“We started making them (masks) Tuesday afternoon (April 7),” Farmer started. “My wife Dana found a post on Facebook that Midsouth Makers were looking for volunteers to print face shield frames, so we contacted them.”

The Farmers did more than just volunteer their time; they had a 3D Printer at home and decided to bring it along and use it to print face masks as well.

“They are actually face shields, like for grinding, or they can use them in hospitals to prevent liquid from hitting the face,” Farmer said. “Not much is needed to make them either – just the 3D printer and filament, which is a thread with a high melting point, also known as thermoplastics.”

It takes about one hour to complete one face shield, yet they managed to produce 3,000 shields in just one week. They have 25 people printing face shields and then eight to ten people sanitizing masks, drilling holes in the transparencies and then packing the face shields into the boxes for delivery.

“We plan on making these face shields as long as the medical community needs them,” Farmer said. “Or until the supply system catches up.”

According to Jeffrey, anyone can help. From quality check to sanitizing to packaging, they’re always looking for volunteers.

If interested in helping, contact the Midsouth Makers on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TheMidsouthMakers/ or contact Rich Thompson at 901-444-2888 or rthompson@midsouthmakers.org.