Football Player Doing His Part During Coronavirus Pandemic

April 17, 2020 | News, UToday, Engineering
By Paul Helgren

Like many people, Luke Doerger wanted to do something to help during the coronavirus pandemic. But what? And how?

A junior in UToledo’s College of Engineering, Doerger came upon the perfect answer when he read that there were people making and donating medical devices with their 3D printers. He immediately went to work building surgical shields.

Luke Doerger assembles a surgical face shield.

“Obviously, there is a high demand for surgical masks and shields that is not being met at this point,” said Doerger, who is the starting center on the Toledo football team. “So there is an online community of people with 3D printers who are trying to fill the gap. It’s a slow process, so a lot of them have their printers going 24/7.”

Doerger found a three-piece design for a surgical face shield and went to work. His printer can make the visor and the fitted head band out of plastic; he purchases in bulk elastic bands that attach to the head band. So far, he has produced 30 shields and hopes to make more if he can acquire the necessary plastic supplies.

In the meantime, Doerger is printing surgical mask adjusters, which are needed because some medical personnel are developing sores from wearing the protective masks for such long stretches of time. He is in the process of donating the facemasks to hospitals in the Toledo area.

“You hear a lot about facemasks, but surgical shields are very important, too,” Doerger said. “There are a surprisingly large number of people with 3-D printers who are doing the same thing as me, many on a much bigger scale. I’m just a small part of it. But I feel like even a small number of shields can make a difference.”

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