West Virginia State University Professor Making Face Masks to Assist in Coronavirus Response

Contact: Jack Bailey
(304) 766-4109
April 8, 2020
West Virginia State University Professor Making Face Masks to Assist in Coronavirus Response
INSTITUTE, W.Va. – A West Virginia State University (WVSU) art professor is producing face masks using 3-D printer technology to assist those working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Josh Martin, chair of WVSU’s art department, is using the University’s 3-D printers in the creation of the masks, which are being sent to the West Virginia National Guard for completion and distribution to areas of need.

The process is time-consuming but fairly straight-forward, Martin said, noting that each mask takes several hours to complete. 

“A digital file of the object to be fabricated is sent to the printer, and the printer extrudes layer after layer of plastic, eventually creating a physical representation of the digital object,” Martin said. “Then I do some clean-up, such as sanding, and stack them.”

As of Wednesday, Martin had completed 20 mask shells. They will be picked up by members of the West Virginia National Guard, who add padding, a filter and straps to make the masks functional.

Martin’s contribution is one part of a larger effort across the state to create proper face masks to be used by those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, and he is grateful for the opportunity to contribute.

“The design is constantly being improved by quite a large community of makers involved in this project across the state and country,” he said. “It is a good example of using the internet the right way in a crisis, and it’s quite rewarding to be able to make some sort of difference, small as it might be.”

WVSU moved to an alternative delivery method for academic courses for the remainder of the spring semester last month, as well as canceling internal and external campus events.  For more information about the University’s COVID-19 response, visit wvstateu.edu/coronavirus.
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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multigenerational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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