SPARTA, NJ – People are pitching in throughout the town to do what they can to help, making the best of their resources, free time and creativity.  The Sparta Library had fired up the 3D printers to create face shield holders for use at Newton Medical Center.

“We are happy to be able to use our technology and time to help in a real, tangible way,” Library Director David Costa said.

Costa said Vanitha Rodrigues from the hospital had reached out about making use of the 3D printer. 

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A tech assistant at the library, Josh Knospler worked through a variety of designs. 

After researching options and talking with people who are already creating the parts, Knospler settled on a design that makes use of the equipment and supplies on hand.

“If things progress for an extended period of time we would need more filament we will address that in time,” Acosta said. He said they have enough filament to run for a few weeks straight and have been contacted by someone willing to donate filament.

He said they will use the material they have on hand to free up the other resources for others “who may have a greater need for it.”

Rodrigues said many people are pitching in.  Pope John has lent their mini printers while she is waiting for a new one to arrive.  She also has a colleague, radiologist Richard Snellings and friend Dana Nolan running their printers.

Pope John robotics team members Ryan and Anika Rodrigues and Kevin Nolan and Connor Snelling from Sparta High School are 3D printing around the clock and “we should be able to provide a lot of shields to the hospital and medical offices next week,” Rodrigues said. 

“I dropped off 30 face shields to Newton Medical Center, at least 20 of which were visors provided by David and Josh who have been super helpful in making these selflessly,” Rodrigues said. “I’m glad all members of our community including kids can make a difference to help our healthcare workers. This will make a difference and our staff is so appreciative.”

As of last week, Acosta and Knospler had made the face shield holders, using three different designs.  They have since honed that down to two, looking for feedback from the users to determine which one they will use going forward.

Acosta said they can print 6 to 12 a day but want to build the one the users prefer.  “We would rather print what is wanted even if it is at a slower rate of speed,” Acosta said.

“It’s a community effort and I couldn’t be more happy or proud of everyone’s efforts most important David and the team at the Sparta library,” Rodrigues said. “My staff at Newton is so appreciative of all the help as you know we have a nationwide shortage of PPE. I”

“We have great staff and community and it is times like this where we all work for one another,” Costa said.