Plastic visors made at the UTC FabLab

Since Feb­ru­ary 2014, a small space ded­i­cat­ed to pro­to­typ­ing, laser cut­ting and 3D print­ing has been locat­ed in the heart of the UTC Daniel Thomas Inno­va­tion Cen­tre. Its code name? The FabLab UTC. Every day, dozens of stu­dents and teach­ers use it for study pur­pos­es or to engage in per­son­al projects. 

With the laser cut­ting machine, our laser print­ers or the var­i­ous tools at their dis­pos­al, stu­dents can to car­ry out all the projects they want”, explains Justin Dar­net, the pres­i­dent of the FabLab asso­ci­a­tion. But on March 12 this year, like all the school build­ings, the FabLab closed its doors to com­ply with the lock-down mea­sures enforced by the Frzench Gov­ern­ment. A full halt to the FabLab’s activ­i­ties. Just a few days after the lock-down began, Justin and his team of vol­un­teers decid­ed to resume their pro­to­typ­ing activ­i­ties. “We were informed of a call from a nation­al cit­i­zen net­work, “Visière sol­idaire”. In con­crete terms, this appeal encour­aged all own­ers of 3D print­ers to use them to make visors for health-care work­ers and pro­fes­sion­als exposed to the coronavirus”. 

After quick nego­ti­a­tions with UTC’s Admin­is­tra­tion, the team thus recov­ered the four print­ers sleep­ing in the UTC premis­es and installed them in Justin’s garage. In just a few clicks, they down­loaded the design plans and start to stock up the raw mate­r­i­al need­ed to make the pro­tec­tive face visors. The visor sup­port is pro­duced via a 3D print­er and tra­di­tion­al plas­tic mate­r­i­al,” says Justin. You just slide and fix a plas­tic sheet over it as pro­tec­tion and that’s all there is to it. » 

In total, Justin and the oth­er vol­un­teers of the asso­ci­a­tion were able to make sev­er­al dozen visors. This was enough to pro­vide addi­tion­al pro­tec­tion for the staff on the front line in man­ag­ing the cri­sis. “We’re proud to feel that at our lev­el we can help the health-care work­ers,” says the pres­i­dent of the FabLab asso­ci­a­tion. “We real­ly encour­age every­one who has the resources at home to par­tic­i­pate in this effort. » 

But beyond the con­struc­tion of the visors, the small team has oth­er ambi­tions. “We have been giv­en guide­lines to reserve some of our plas­tic stocks for oth­er projects relat­ed to the health cri­sis, such as the design of mouth­pieces for res­pi­ra­tors”. The com­mit­ted stu­dent skil­ful­ly jug­gles between his aca­d­e­m­ic oblig­a­tions and those he has set him­self in the fight against the pan­dem­ic. “I devote half my time every day to the pro­duc­tion of this per­son­al pro­tec­tive equip­ment, but hon­est­ly I feel use­ful and I don’t see the time going by,” con­cludes the stu­dent. Since the start of the new school year, the 3D print­ers have returned to the UTC FabLab. From now on, they con­tin­ue to hum with­in the walls of the UTC Daniel Thomas inno­va­tion centre.

Le magazine

Avril 2024 - N°62

Faire face aux enjeux environnementaux

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