Shelton Intermediate goes 3D to help first responders during coronavirus pandemic

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — When Robert Swercewski is not coordinating distance learning as a Shelton Intermediate School teacher, he’s pumping out dozens of face shields on his 3D printers.

Echo Hose Ambulance Corps recently praised Swercewski and his students in the SIS Inventor’s Lab for the creation and donation of more than two dozen face shields, all adorned with “Echo Hose” or other inspiring phrases, such as Stay Strong and Keep Fighting.”

“I was just stuck at home, and I, like so many other people now, wanted to help in some way,” said Swercewski.

Swercewski, a Beacon Falls resident and member of that town’s ambulance corps, found his way to help when he was approached by a fellow volunteer about an area program seeking assistance with creating face shields with 3D printers.

“I have knowledge of 3D printing, and I said, ‘this is the least I can do,’” said Swercewski.

Swercewski joined Ben Danker’s CT 3D Print Army, a group of 300 volunteers with 500 printers with the goal of making 20,000 face shields. At this point, Swercewski said, the Danker’s group has donated more than 700 face shields and is nearing its goal.

Swercewski said the idea of bringing a bigger project home just evolved from there. He presented the idea to his students; some joined in the process by designing the bands on the front of the face shields. Those 3D creations were sent to Echo Hose Ambulance and their Beacon Falls counterparts.

“The Shelton Intermediate School students, under the guidance of teacher Robert Swercewski, have been able to make full face shields that have been donated as well,” said Echo Hose Ambulance Corps Assistant Chief Joe Laucella.

“These students and the schools have been amazing by using their skills and resources to help our EMS providers in Shelton,” he said.

Swercewski said SIS members of the Shelton Education Association donated more than $700 in materials and SIS Principal Dina Marks and the clerical staff donated about $625 in materials. The funds allowed Swercewski to purchase two more 3D printers.

“Now I am running non-stop,” said Swercewski, adding that it takes four hours, on average, to create a face shield.

A GoFundMe page has been established by Danker and the CT 3D Print Army. The call for funds is to help pay for foam, rubber bands and the plastic shield material. All of the 3D printed elements have been donated, according to the page.