High School Makerspace Whiz Spearheads Supply of 3-D PPE for Chicagoland Hospitals - Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy
IMSA's virtual campus is open with remote learning and working in effect for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester.

High School Makerspace Whiz Spearheads Supply of 3-D PPE for Chicagoland Hospitals

Levi Raskin with Face Shields

Aurora, IL – April 10, 2020

After a Facebook call for help from a north side Chicago hospital in dire need of face shields to help protect patient caregivers from the highly contagious coronavirus, Levi Raskin, a senior at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA), sprang into action using his makerspace virtuoso to print several in his basement on his own 3-D printer before organizing a group of others who have produced more than 2,000 face shields and 500 pieces of other PPE to date for Chicago area hospitals.

“After printing a few, I realized that my production was limited as I only have two 3-D printers,” says Raskin. “I decided to reach out online and start a Facebook group to organize other makers to 3-D print these face shields with me,” he adds.

Raskin’s endeavor is no surprise to IMSA, a residential academy for talented students in grades 10-12 featuring a rigorous curriculum and a Center for Innovation and Inquiry named after Steve Chen, IMSA alumnus and the co-founder of YouTube.

“Levi is one of our MakerSquad leaders and spends a great deal of time and energy in our makerspace using 3D printers and assisting his peers with projects,” says Adewole Abiowe, a member of IMSA’s innovation center staff who works closely with Raskin.

IMSA President and CEO, Dr. Jose M. Torres says Raskin is an example of the Academy’s mission to ignite and nurture creative, scientific, ethical minds that advance the human condition. “IMSA fosters the discoverers, thinkers, innovators and problem-solvers of the future like Levi,” adds Torres. “We are proud to call him one of our own,” says Torres.

An employee of Swedish Covenant Hospital sparked Raskin’s interest when she posted a Facebook call for help to print 3D face shields for her hospital, a request that was answered by Raskin and his now 200 member group. “We are grateful for the donation of critical PPE for our clinical providers here at Swedish Hospital,” says Anthony Guaccio, President and CEO of Swedish Covenant Hospital. “We are very appreciative of the generous outpouring of support from Levi and from many members of our community.”

Raskin credits IMSA with preparing him for this humanitarian effort. “I don’t think I would have been able to do this without IMSA,” says Raskin. “Beyond the makerspace and the amazing people who I met here, there was the humanities classes that really helped exacerbate my critical thinking skills,” he says. “I think a lot of what I experienced at IMSA was enormous levels of rigor, which gave me the techniques to manage the workload, but also amazing opportunities that I was able to capitalize on,” added Raskin.

According to Raskin’s estimation, it costs about a $1.50 for each face shield assembled, including plastic visor and elastic head strap. Currently, Raskin and his members are donating the plastic material and the time they spend producing the face shields. Because of the financial burden on some of the makers, he has set up a fund that they can access to pay for the plastic and
any repairs that they may need to keep printing the face shields.

How long will Raskin keep printing face shields? “Honestly, the situation right now is so dire that I am intending on producing these face shields until this virus is no longer a threat,” says Raskin. I had been expecting to go to Spain to dig for Neanderthal at a Field School, but due to the virus that has been canceled, freeing up my summer to produce these shields,” he says.

For more information, visit Raskin’s Chicago COVID-19 3-D Printing Group Facebook page.