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LTU's Detroit Center for Design + Technology, Centrepolis Accelerator support alumni donating 3D printed face shields to area hospitals

Release Date: April 17, 2020

Two Lawrence Technological University alumni, who work together at Neumann/Smith Architecture, are making a difference during this difficult time.

When Designers John McGarry and Trent Schmitz—both LTU College of Architecture and Design graduates—and their colleague, Clayton Wenrick, heard about the shortage of personal protection equipment, or PPE, at hospitals and medical clinics, they couldn’t sit still and let it happen. In less than a week, the team made 1,000 new face shields to donate to health care facilities for additional protection.

“My colleagues and I felt compelled to use our knowledge of 3D printing and advanced modeling to design and 3D print face shields for nurses, doctors and first responders,” said John McGarry, designer at Neumann/Smith. “We are fortunate enough to have access to two large 3D printers. With permission from our office, we were able to take home these 3D printers and set up our own makerspace.”

John McGarryJohn McGarry is a designer at Neumann/Smith. He leads its Computation Group, assists in managing Makerspace and is a professor of practice at Lawrence Technological University, where he teaches simulation and prototyping. These days, he’s making face shields to donate to health care workers around Detroit. | Photo courtesy of John McGarry

McGarry leads Neumann/Smith’s Computation Group, assists in managing Neumann/Smith’s Makerspace and is a professor of practice at Lawrence Technological University, where he teaches simulation and prototyping.

He and his colleagues are collaborating with AIA Detroit and sharing resources with a larger network of architecture firms and individuals throughout the region. LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology (DCDT) was able to provide six new 3D printers to assist in this project.

“When we heard about this effort we were thrilled to be able to support in ramping up production output,” said Christopher Stefani, associate director of the DCDT. “This is a perfect example of the power that our students, and creative industry in general, has when we engage design and technology collectively.”

The team now has a total of 12 printers and is producing 700 or more face shields each week, according to Clayton Wenrick, designer at Neumann/Smith.

“Our team is working with AIA Detroit to encourage others to help in any way they’re able by providing resources and expertise,” said Wenrick, who oversees the Neumann/Smith fabrication lab and visualization departments. “This collaboration is helping us produce PPE for hospitals, clinics, and first responders in our community where we are being hit the hardest.”

Trent SchmitzTrent Schmitz is among the designers working daily to make face shields for health care workers who need them. He is also pursuing his master’s degree at Lawrence Technological University. | Photo courtesy of Trent Schmit.

Wenrick, McGarry and Schmitz have been leading the project on behalf of Neumann/Smith. They are not only making the 3D printed face shields, but dropping them off in bulk to Beaumont Hospitals, DMC Medical Group, Henry Ford Hospitals, and the University of Michigan health system, at times and locations specified by each organization. But that’s not all.

“Another way we’re donating them are through friends and family recommendations or people reaching out to us directly for need of the PPE resources,” McGarry added. “A lot of the hospitals are receiving federal assistance. However, smaller clinics, nursing homes, and police departments are not receiving this level of assistance. We’re hoping to get in touch with these places and provide any assistance we can.”

McGarry, Wenrick and Schmitz thanked family and friends, the Neumann/Smith team and their families, LTU’s Detroit Center for Design + Technology, LTU’s Centropolis Accelerator, a business incubator for manufacturing companies on LTU’s campus, the Rochester 3D printing dealership Delray Systems, and the virtual reality company Mirari,  a Centrepolis Accelerator client, for donations and assistance.

McGarry added: “It’s been incredible to see such care and generosity people have during these difficult times.”

If you would like to help the team at Neumann/Smith with its 3D printing effort to help those in health care, please contact McGarry at jmcgarry@ltu.edu or AIA Detroit for resources. He assures us “there is plenty to do including if you do not have a 3D printer.”

To view more on the DCDT blog, visit https://detroit.design/blog.html


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