COVID-19: Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology Collaborates to Create 3D-Printed Medical Face Shields for Local Health Facilities

(Estherville, Iowa) The Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology program is partnering with Rick Ayres, Lakes Marketing and Print, and Adam Perry, Band Director at Sioux Central Schools, and many other businesses, individuals, and schools to help combat the shortage of personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals. This equipment will be used by healthcare professionals who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic in the Iowa Lakes District and throughout Northwest Iowa.

Together, they are creating 3-D printed personal protective equipment and ear savers for healthcare facilities.

While the project initially started by Perry and Ayres, the group has grown to include more than 23 3D printers running to meet the needs of Northwest Iowa.

“I started this project as a way to help out during this crazy time and partnered with Rick Ayers to make laminated face shields. Rick posted our project on Facebook, and we reached over 43,000 people in under 24 hours who had an interest in obtaining the face shields,” said Perry.

With the demand outweighing the supply, Iowa Lakes Community College joined the consortium’s efforts. Chad Tischer, Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology Program Coordinator, Mike Gengler, Iowa Lakes Wind Energy Program Coordinator, and the Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology program are all contributing to the project.

“Mike Gengler and I are printing headbands and ear savers via our Dreamer 3D printers located on the Estherville campus. We can produce about six headbands per print, and each print takes about 22 hours. We are currently able to output about 18 headbands per day,” explains Tischer.

Tischer also noted, “We are using a fourth 3D printer to create ear savers. The ear savers are worn by healthcare professionals to help reduce the soreness that can occur when wearing face shields all day. We can print about four ear savers in about 90 minutes so that we can print 32 ear savers in 24 hour period.”

On Monday, April 6th, Iowa Lakes Community College delivered 58 face bands to Lakes Printing to help fill an order for AVERA Holy Family Hospital located in Estherville, Iowa.

The Iowa Lakes Engineering Technology program will continue to print headbands and ear savers daily. It will contribute to supplies needed by each of the healthcare facilities located in the Iowa Lakes Community College district.

Additionally, students currently enrolled in the Engineering Technology program and other programs like Wind Energy and Turbine Technology have the opportunity to take part in this project.

“Students in the Engineering Technology program are trained to integrate technology to solve real-world problems. Making components for face shields for our frontline healthcare providers is a perfect example of this application. Our students take part in this project virtually, and it allows them to expand their knowledge base and skills further,” explains Tischer.

For more information about this project or the Engineering Technology program at Iowa Lakes Community College, contact Chad Tischer at 712-362-8366 or by email at

For More Information:

Iowa Lakes Marketing office at 712-362-7947