Cabrillo College makerspace is printing re-usable masks

The Cabrillo College makerspace is printing re-usable masks and face shields needed by the medical community fighting the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Deemed essential by Cabrillo College Superintendent/President Matt Wetstein, the Cabrillo College Makerspace is staying open to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) which is desperately needed by medical facilities and hospitals nationwide.

The college’s makerspace response to the pandemic is being spearheaded by Payson McNett, Cabrillo College Art Studio instructor and director of Digital Fabrication. Researching the best options for 3D printed masks and face shields led McNett to the Billings Clinic Foundation in Montana.

Billings Clinic Neurosurgeon Dusty Richardson, MD, in collaboration with Billings-area dentist Spencer Zaugg, DDS and his son Colton, have created and posted designs for durable, reusable plastic masks that can be created using 3D printer technology. According to the Billings Clinic website, they are now working to “activate every 3D printer in our community to create these masks.”

McNett and the Cabrillo College makerspace are answering that call for medical facilities in Santa Cruz County. “I’m ready to go into production of these items and have a good stockpile of printer filament and Poly Carbonate to keep me busy,” said McNett. “I’ve got a call in to the supplier for the filter cloth listed on their site, and I have about 20 desktop FDM printers and one working Stratasys Dimensions printer that uses ABS. I also have two SLA printers but much less material for those.”

If you would like to send me your prototypes I would love to take a look at the files for you and help answer any design questions you might have.

He is using the designs for the PPE masks that are posted on the Billings Foundation website, for use by anyone able to produce them. The 3D printed mask has a snap-in section for medical grade filtration materials that can be changed out as needed. For the time being, McNett is using HEPA vacuum filters, and is working on providing links on the Cabrillo Makerspace website with information and testing and efficacy of other more readily available materials.

McNett got face shield designs from Joseph Prusa, a 3D printer designer and manufacturer. Once masks are prototyped, McNett is looking to create rubber gang molds, which will enable him to ramp up production from a current capacity of about 100 masks per day to potentially thousands of masks per day, so long as materials are still available.

McNett is also hoping to eventually develop a breathing machine, though admits it’s a much more involved process. He’d like to be ready if and when designs become available. “If you would like to send me your prototypes I would love to take a look at the files for you and help answer any design questions you might have,” said McNett. “I’m totally open to different or better designs, I just haven’t found them yet.”

For prototypes or help with designs, please contact Payson McNett at [email protected]. To make a donation for supplies, please donate through the Cabrillo College Foundation at and indicate the donations are for the Digital Fabrication Program.

Cabrillo College was one of the California Community Colleges funded by, and a part of, the CCC Maker community.

About the Cabrillo College Makerspace

The Cabrillo College Makerspace is equipped with state of the art technology to assist students with learning to use contemporary tools opening up new and exciting ways of making and adapting classical techniques to the future of making. The Makerspace features 3-D printing and scanning, Laser cutting and engraving, vinyl cutting, and CNC router capabilities.

 About Cabrillo College

Cabrillo College is a leading California community college serving Santa Cruz County with locations in Aptos, Scotts Valley and Watsonville. It is ranked #1 in transfers to UC Santa Cruz. Founded in 1959, the college offers over 100 academic and career technical education programs that serve multiple educational goals such as A.A. and A.S. degrees, certificates of achievement, skills certificates, transfer to 4-year institutions or for lifelong learning and personal enrichment. With a commitment to quality and equity, we connect all learners to pathways that propel them from where they are to where they aspire to be, including: academic, personal, and career growth.


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