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Locations

U of I College of Engineering

Mailing Address:

Janssen Engineering (JEB) Room 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1011
Moscow, ID 83844-1011

Phone: 208-885-6470

Fax: 208-885-6645

Email: engr-sss@uidaho.edu

Web: College of Engineering

U of I Boise Engineering

Mailing Address:

Idaho Water Center 
322 E. Front Street 
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-6123

Fax: 208-364-3160

Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Web: Boise Engineering

U of I Idaho Falls Engineering

Physical Address:

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Phone: 208-757-5400

Fax: 208-282-7929

Email: ui-if@uidaho.edu

Web: Idaho Falls Engineering

U of I CDA Computer Science

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-292-2509

Email: cmmorrison@uidaho.edu

Web: U of I Coeur d'Alene

Engineering Outreach

Physical Address:

Engineering Physics (EP) Building, Room 312
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1014
Moscow, ID 83844-1014

Phone: 208-885-6373

Fax: 208-885-9249

Email: outreach@uidaho.edu

Web: Engineering Outreach

We’re All in This Together

U of I College of Engineering Leads Community Effort to Boost Production of 3D-Printed Respirator Masks and Equipment Sterilization Systems for Area Medical Staff

Our story
Last updated 4/2/20

Medical staff on the Palouse and in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley are working with the University of Idaho to fulfill the overwhelming demand for additional respirator masks and equipment sterilization systems at area hospitals.

Darby Justis, M.D., (left) of Valley Medical Center in Lewiston, and Robin Albers, area rehab director for Infinity Rehab (right) discuss the comfort and fit of the N95-type mask.
Darby Justis, M.D., (left) of Valley Medical Center in Lewiston, and Robin Albers, area rehab director for Infinity Rehab (right) discuss the comfort and fit of the N95-type mask.

The coronavirus COVID-19 has nearly depleted supply of needed personal protective equipment nationwide.

“We’re all stuck at home, and we want to fix this in any way we can,” said U of I College of Engineering associate professor Gabriel Potirniche. “We can’t have COVID-19 overwhelm our healthcare system. If we keep medical staff safe, this is less likely to propagate in our community. Everyone has a duty to put a stop to this virus. Everyone is involved.”

U of I mechanical engineering assistant professor Joel Perry (right) and graduate student Chris Bitikofer (left) have worked together to take feedback from area medical staff and impliment that into the new designs.
U of I mechanical engineering assistant professor Joel Perry (right) and graduate student Chris Bitikofer (left) have worked together to take feedback from area medical staff and impliment that into the new designs.

U of I engineering faculty are finalizing a design for a 3D-printed N95 filtering facepiece respirator mask. These masks are recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the best tool for filtering bacteria and virus particles. Prototypes of the design have already been delivered to medical staff in the Lewiston and Clarkston areas for validation and feedback.

With a design expected to be finalized this week, work will begin with 3D printing partners across Idaho and Washington to mass-produce these masks for delivery to hospitals in need.

Scientific Instrument Maker Charles Cornwall adjusts a 3D printer to complete a face shield.
Scientific Instrument Maker Charles Cornwall adjusts a 3D printer to complete a face shield.

“One of the things that has helped me get through this difficult time is watching the huge outpouring of support and efforts from the people in the community as we continue to work toward this goal,” said Cassidy Hall, director of the U of I Doceo Center for Innovation and Learning, who has five 3D printers ready for production.

UVC Mask Cleaner
Ultraviolet C (UVC) light mask sterilization station prototype can disinfect up to 32 masks at a time!

While boosting the supply of N95 masks, the U of I Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is also working to develop mobile mask sterilization stations that can be used to clean several existing masks at a time.

The system uses ultraviolet C (UVC) light, a short-wavelength light capable of converting the virus into harmless carbon compounds and water.

Traditional UVC bulbs are also short supply because of the pandemic. Biological engineering professor Dev Shrestha and research support scientist Chad Dunkel are prototyping the system using a more readily available LED bulb also capable of reaching the needed frequency for germicide.

The college expects to be able to deliver a plan soon that would allow community hospitals to build their own systems using the specific bulbs and materials a person could pick up at any hardware store.


Article by Alexiss Turner, College of Engineering
Photos by Gary Bradford, Presidential Communications, and Alexiss Turner, College of Engineering

Help Support Our Efforts

100% of gifts made to support our College of Engineering COVID-19 research and response go toward expenses related to producing Vandal masks, face shields and UV systems.

Give Now

Download Open-Source PPE Designs

Free, downloadable 3D solid modeling files for respirator masks, face shields, and design plans for an ultraviolet C light (UVC) sterilization systems built from hardware store materials.

Access Downloads

Sew Your Own

ATD faculty develop face mask pattern.

Read the story

A New Type of Production

U of I’s costume shop sews masks for local medical professionals

Read the Story

Our Team & Partners

A project of this magnitude takes the expertise of many talented individuals. Learn more about our team and the different roles in this project.

Our Team

A batch of 40 VandalMask prints representing 120 hours of print time prepared by Chris Bitikofer
A batch of 40 VandalMask prints representing 120 hours of print time prepared by Chris Bitikofer.

Locations

U of I College of Engineering

Mailing Address:

Janssen Engineering (JEB) Room 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1011
Moscow, ID 83844-1011

Phone: 208-885-6470

Fax: 208-885-6645

Email: engr-sss@uidaho.edu

Web: College of Engineering

U of I Boise Engineering

Mailing Address:

Idaho Water Center 
322 E. Front Street 
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-6123

Fax: 208-364-3160

Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Web: Boise Engineering

U of I Idaho Falls Engineering

Physical Address:

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Phone: 208-757-5400

Fax: 208-282-7929

Email: ui-if@uidaho.edu

Web: Idaho Falls Engineering

U of I CDA Computer Science

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-292-2509

Email: cmmorrison@uidaho.edu

Web: U of I Coeur d'Alene

Engineering Outreach

Physical Address:

Engineering Physics (EP) Building, Room 312
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1014
Moscow, ID 83844-1014

Phone: 208-885-6373

Fax: 208-885-9249

Email: outreach@uidaho.edu

Web: Engineering Outreach