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NCC Alum Produces Face Shield Frames for Area First Responders

Nash Community College alumnus James Simpson of Nashville, NC is doing his part to support front line workers as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simpson used his personal three-dimensional (3-D) printer to produce more than 100 face shield frames for Nash County Emergency Services employees and friends who are serving in healthcare occupations.

James Simpson earned Emergency Medical Technician – Basic, Intermediate, and Paramedic certificates at Nash Community College. Following graduation, he worked as a Paramedic with Nash County Emergency Services for more than a decade.

Although he no longer works in the field, Simpson understands the need is great. Face shields are considered personal protective equipment (PPE) that help protect the entire face against exposure to workplace hazards. “Knowing this gear is in short supply, I reached out to our local EMS agency. They told me that all supplies are in demand so anything was helpful,” he said.

“I found the frame design online after the 3-D printing community reached out to the health care industry. Everyone wanted to help.” The design was created and shared by an individual who goes by “3dVerkstan” on Twitter.

Simpson said each Nash County Emergency Services employee will have their own face shield using this design. It takes about an hour to print one frame with a standard 3-D desktop printer. Prior to distribution, the frames were sanitized. “You then can use a standard overhead transparency sheet and a three-hole punch to create the holes so you can attach the sheet to the frame. Nash EMS provided their own transparency sheets.”

After completing his EMS certificates, Simpson returned to NCC to study Computer Engineering Technology. “Learning the technical aspect of how to work with computers and software pushed my interest in 3-D printing,” he said. “When I was a Computer Engineering student at Nash, I worked in the Institutional Technology Department in the Federal Work-Study Program. The college had a 3-D printer and when I got to see it in action, I became very interested. Over time 3-D printers have become more widely available and affordable. So I purchased my first printer in 2017 and haven’t stopped printing since.”

“The education I received at Nash, as well as several of the instructors, left a life altering impact with me and helped me become who I am today,” Simpson said. “I still keep in touch with most of my instructors today. To this day, they are always eager to help guide me in many areas of life.”