While there are no students working in the engineering lab and maker spaces at AIM Academy, STEAM instructors are making sure useful machines are not idle. For the past week AIM’s 3D printers have been running non-stop in the home of Middle School STEAM instructor Kathy Brandon printing face shield bands and door handle holders for healthcare professionals at CHOP and Lifecycle WomenCare in Bryn Mawr.
AIM Lower School parent Justin Head of Lower Merion suggested the project to AIM after learning about 3D printing to support health care workers in the COVID-19 crisis through MatterHackers, a resource hub for 3D printing. Head, who recently donated a 3D printer to AIM, knew where he might get printing assistance.
“I really just started connecting the dots,” said Head, who first thought about the idea when he learned that an association his wife, a midwife, belongs to, sent out a call for people to sew face masks.
Head had read about the work being done in California through MatterHackers COVID-19 Response Hub and contacted Brandon to see if AIM’s printers would be available. After retrieving the printers from AIM’s shuttered campus, Brandon, and this week Lower School Maker Space instructor Doug Markgraf, got to work on printing the designs. Head has helped provide materials to keep the printers running and picked up the finished products and has shared Brandon’s printed face shield headbands, which can be fitted with a plastic protective piece, and door handle holders so caregivers do not need to touch levered-handle doors with Lifecycle WomenCare (formerly the Birth Center of Bryn Mawr) and a physician at CHOP.
“When there is something of this magnitude going on right outside your front door and there appears to be nothing you can do, a sense of helplessness can come over you,” said Brandon, who works with her STEAM students on design projects that help others. “This project allows for a contribution to a cause so much bigger than ourselves. What an opportunity to demonstrate to our students a real-life example of how STEAM and the Design Thinking Process can make a difference in solving 2020 real time problems we could never have anticipated. I am so proud to be a part of the AIM Community and their amazing willingness for outreach.”