An Upstate Career and Tech Center creates a mask prototype to help hospitals amid a COVID-19 shortage


WILLIAMSTON, SC (WSPA)– Anderson District 1 & 2 Career and Technology Center, (ACTC) has created a mask prototype that could be a solution to a nationwide problem.

As the need is great during the COVID-19 pandemic, school leaders said this could potentially help many healthcare workers.
ACTC is using 3D printing technology to make a mask prototype designed by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The mask is already in the hands of AnMed Health’s team. Now they’re testing it before putting it to good use.

In a time where many schools are empty, there’s still one classroom getting a lot of use during this pandemic.

James Davis, an engineering instructor at ACTC, has been working hard on the mask using a 3D printer.

“They suggested if you have a 3D printer, and we have 3D printers, so Ms. Harrell let me come in here and see if we could build one and it actually went a lot better than I was expecting,” said Davis, Engineering Instructor, at Anderson 1 &2 Career and Technology Center.

The mask is called, The S.A.F.E Cartridge System and it’s used for healthcare professionals. MUSC said it’s comparable to N95 masks when it comes to blocking viral particles. 

That’s why the director of ACTC wanted to use her facility to help many during this crisis. She heard about the mask from a friend in the Lowcountry.

“When I saw this, I just thought, we’re just sitting here in empty halls and empty classrooms. So what can we do better but to utilize the facility and utilize the equipment that we have to make a difference in our community,” said Hollie Harrell, Director of ACTC.

Since Friday, ACTC has finished two masks, and one of them has already been presented to AnMed Health.

“They were able to say, here’s a sample and proof of a mask. And from that we were able to take that back to our infection control team to consider is this something that we can use. And since MUSC designed it, it’s very likely we’ll be able to do that,” said Tim Self, CFRE, the Executive Director at the AnMed Health Foundation.

Although one mask takes about 12 hours to print, leaders hope this will be the tool to save many lives.

“A 3D printed mask from a partnership like this, could be an answer that our local health systems are looking for,” Self said.

“I hope AnMed approves what we have and we can start mask producing these as much as possible,” Harrell added.

AnMed Health’s Infectious Control and Quality Team is currently inspecting the tool. The team is making a decision now on if they can use this particular mask. Once it is approved, AnMed health leaders said they’ll be able to come back to ACTC to see if they can start printing more.

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