Build Me Up: Robotics team uses skills for good during COVID-19 pandemic
Kraus-Anderson’s Build Me Up podcast will continue to deliver regular and uplifting content during the COVID-19 pandemic. This episode, we spoke with the Team 2052 KnightKrawlers, Irondale High School’s robotics team that is using its skills to 3D print face shields for healthcare and other essential workers during the pandemic. Kraus-Anderson has worked closely with the Mounds View School District on its referendum efforts, and is currently performing renovations and additions to Irondale High School. Coach Scott Davis, Build Team Student Captain Kyle Warren, and Public Relations Student Captain Maria Johnson discussed how they gathered support and supplies from the community, the trial and error involved in their operation, and the impact they are seeing in the community.
Meet the KnightKrawlers
Scott Davis started 3D printing face shields from home when he heard there was a shortage of PPE gear for healthcare workers. But he quickly realized that his one-person operation wasn’t having as much of an impact as he intended. With support from the Moundsview School District, Davis was able to gather 3D printers from across the district and enlist the help of the KnightKrawlers robotics team. The set-up now has 24 3D printers, operating 10 hours per day and six days per week. The students work in shifts of four to maintain proper social distancing and balance their online schoolwork, with the goal of producing a total of 11,000 masks.
Support from the Community
The team’s efforts would not have been possible without an outpouring of support from the community. The KnightKrawlers qualified for its first world championships this year, but the pandemic forced the event’s cancellation. They decided to commit the $5,000 registration fee from the event and put it toward supplies for face shields. The Mounds View Schools Education Foundation matched that $5,000. 3M has been a major sponsor of the robotics team, and was able to find two large rolls of PETG plastic, the material used to produce the face shields, that was going unused for years. Prior to that donation, the team was worried about how they were going to get enough materials for the shields, and now they have more than enough. The team is now turning down donations on their website and encouraging people to donate to other COVID-19 causes. The KnightKrawlers are now teaming up with other robotics teams who are doing the same thing, and donating excess supplies to their operations.
What do you do when you have a 250 lb roll of plastic you need to turn into face shields? You do what robotics students do best. You improvise and manufacture custom parts. We will begin to turn this roll from 3M into 5,500 face shields. Then we’ll start the 2nd roll. #FIRSTFFC pic.twitter.com/4ZCHuz6khV
— KnightKrawler (@Team2052) April 10, 2020
You can follow along with the Team 2052 KnightKrawlers on their Facebook and Twitter, and learn more about ordering face shields on the team’s website. Tune in to the Build Me Up podcast for a more in-depth discussion on the team’s efforts in creating face shields. You can subscribe to Build Me Up wherever you listen to your podcasts.